I was intrigued by the three lines on the back:
A lonely novelist.
A devoted fan.
A journal that speaks of unspeakable things.
My interest was piqued by these sentences so I was keen to begin reading.
What a treat. I haven't read anything else by Sarah Vincent but she is certainly an accomplished writer. She has created three stunning characters in Vida, the novelist; Dory, her estranged daughter; and Rhiannon, a fan of Vida's work. Each of these women is beautifully drawn, well rounded and totally believable.
Vida is a writer who wrote a prize winning novel but little of consequence since. She moved to a cottage in the wilds of Wales, her husband left her and so did her Muse. She is lonely and craves a better relationship with her daughter but doesn't know how to get through to Dory.
Dory is a successful business woman in London who harbours a deep resentment towards her mother who she believes didn't care much fro her when she was a child and 'used' her as a template for a character in her prize winning novel.
Rhiannon is an obsessed fan of Vida's who insinuates her was into Vida's life and home, taking control of every aspect of her life.
When Vida has a break down Dory goes to Wales to be with her mother and is shocked to find Rhiannon living in her mother's home. There follow a series of clashes between Dory and Rhiannon, a changing of the relationship between mother and daughter and some shocking revelations.
The story is told through Dory's narrative as she tries to find out what happened to her mother and what part Rhiannon played in Vida's life. Vida's story is told through a series of journal entries which tell of the gradual unravelling of Vida's life and mind over the preceding months.
The climax to the story is stunning, shocking and the tension of the scene is well conceived and written. There is an element of loose ends being tied up but there is also the possibility that there is more to come, another story to be told.
I haven't read anything this good for a long time and I look forward to more by Sarah Vincent. I also look forward to passing this novel on and hearing what others think of it.