When Julia was eight, she was asked to be a bridesmaid at her beautiful cousin Iris's wedding. Her mother saw this as a chore - expensive, inconvenient - but Julia was thrilled. When the time came, even the fact that her bridesmaid's dress didn't fit, and was plain cream rather than the pink she'd hoped for, couldn't ruin the day. But after this, things began to go wrong for Julia, starting with an episode involving her cousin's baby, a pram and a secret trip round the block.
A lifetime later, Julia is a child psychologist who every day deals with young girls said to be behaving badly. Some are stealing, some are running away from home, some are terribly untidy, some won't eat or get out of bed. Julia has a special knack with these girls. She understands which really are troubled, and which are at the mercy of the way they are seen by the adults around them. But one day, Julia's own troubled past starts to creep into her present. And as she struggles to understand her childhood self, she must confront the possibility that the truth may not be as devastating as she feared.
©2013 Margaret Forster (P)2013 Random House AudioGo
I love Margaret Forster's books but this is the first one I listened to rather than read on the page. Sian Thomas is an exceptional narrator and really brought the story alive with her accents and inflexions. A five star listen and a must for all fans of this writer. It would make a great subject for a book group discussion! The main character is not endearing and her mother a bit of a monster. Who knows how she would have turned out with a different parental set-up? I found the ending too abrupt though and listened to it three times to see if I'd missed something!
While reading this it's easy to ride the roller coaster of emotions , and change sympathies with the various charters , makes one think or how words effect the young.
I found this book weirdly compelling, Julia isn't a lovable character but her actions are understandable, the book made me think,of my own childhood episodes and realise how easy it would have been to go into a spiral of lies and deceit as Julia did. I liked the narrator. It's not a page turner but I enjoyed it.
Compelling family drama!
Margaret Forster really is a much under-rated author. Although darker than the average household, she captures family life in all its details with a gripping accuracy, meaning there's no one single moment which stands out, simply an accumulation of fascinating interactions.
Again, there's no one character, I could say is my favourite. The book teems with well drawn characters who are neither goodies nor baddies but wonderfully flawed human beings who are often extremely bad at judging their own weakensses and strengths.
Families - who'd have 'em ;)
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