Thank you to NetGalley, Marianne Holmes and Agora books for the chance to read an ARC of this novel.
Besides, if you were one half evil, wouldn’t you want to know about the other half?
It’s the summer of 1976. A heat wave means perfect weather for swimming at the Lido for 9 year old Robyn (Little Bird) and her brother Christopher (Kit). The only things spoiling their perfect summer is their Mum bringing home women in tears and the town gossip about it, the bullies that mercilessly tease her, the mysterious appearance of The Man in the Cowboy Hat. Then something happens that summer. Something that changes the course of Robyn and Kit’s lives forever. Something Robyn feels she must atone for before it’s too late…..
The story switched between 1976 and 1988, when Robyn and Kit return to the village to solve the mysteries surrounding what happened and so Robyn can right her perceived wrongs. In ‘76 she is a child on the cusp of adolescence, trying to figure out adult secrets and behaviours while also learning who she is. Her sense of frustration and mistakes she makes as a result of childish naivete often left me wanting to shout at Robyn “don’t tell him that” or clue her in but it was great for the story and you felt your heart break with hers as the adult Robyn is filled with deep regret for what those mistakes now mean.
The bond between Kit and Robyn and the intricacies of sibling relationships, are pivotal to this story and are well written. The author weaves the layers of the story elegantly and reveals its secrets in piecemeal; teasing you with the promise of a revelation then ending prematurely so you’re left trying to decipher it’s meaning.
I was so excited to be approved for this book. The premise was intriguing and I loved the fact that it was the chance to read a debut novel. There’s a thrill of the unknown, the possibility of finding a hidden gem of a story and a new voice who you just know you’ll follow the rest of their career. Just reading the introduction to the author started the book with a smile and the sense I was about to read something special. The letter from the publisher solidified those feelings and I wasn’t disappointed in hoping I’d find all those things. I will definitely be reading any future novels by this author. A wonderful book.