It’s the day her father will be released from jail. Izzy English has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.
I was so so excited when Penguin emailed me with an advanced copy of this book – I have really enjoyed discovering Gillian McAllister’s writing this year. I just about read this in three days – which is only because it’s Christmas and I have other commitments otherwise it would totally have been a day or less! I loved this book for so many reasons…
Firstly, it’s set on the Isle of Wight. Finally. Someone has recognised the Isle of Wight for being book worthy! I know, there have been lots of books where the Isle of Wight has featured however it’s so often seen in a slightly negative light when really it should be celebrated. I love reading books about Nantucket and small Islands in the USA so I was ecstatic to find that McAllister had done her research and picked my favourite south coast haven. Secondly, it’s completely unpredictable. From the start. I expected to read about a difficult childhood, strained relationships, negative parenting… culminating in a murder… But that wasn’t it at all. It was refreshing to read something so open to taking whatever turn the author felt like taking next.
” It’s hard to be frightened when faced with a benign relic from her past, as familiar as a duvet cover not seen since the 1980s. “
From beginning to end as a reader, I was catapulted into the story within the book, my mind desperately working with the Izzy’s to figure out the truth. Usually in books such as this you get there or you have an idea or an inkling. However McAllister kept it low key – giving various options and suspicions but nothing concrete. I really liked that… surprises at the end which tied everything together neatly, no loose ends.
Above all of that though, was the underlying message. A book about the catastrophic effect of being accused of a crime. A book about the institutionalised nature of imprisonment and how that changes you. That and the loss of a family unit, a childhood scarred, was what touched me the most about this book.
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