Published: February 20th, 2020
Genre: Thrillers, Suspense, Literary Fiction
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Snakes. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Vintage for the gifted copy of the book.
Family secrets can be deadly…
Newly-weds Dan and Bea decide to escape London. Driving through France in their beaten-up car they anticipate a long lazy summer, worlds away from their ordinary lives.
But their idyll cannot last. Stopping off to see Bea’s brother at his crumbling hotel, the trio are joined unexpectedly by Bea’s ultra-wealthy parents. Dan has never understood Bea’s deep discomfort around them but living together in such close proximity he begins to sense something is very wrong.
Just as tensions reach breaking point, brutal tragedy strikes, exposing decades of secrets and silence that threaten to destroy them all.
‘A twisty delight of a novel, a cracking page-turner that has much to say about modern life and our attempts to find a way to navigate it, no matter where we come from’ Cathy Rentzenbrink
“You’d swear you could see it, in the cracks in the pavements and the bricks in the walls; violence and grief.”
Bea and her husband Dan have decided to take a three month break from their lives in London to go travelling. Beginning in France, they stop at the hotel owned by Bea’s older brother, Alex. When they arrive they find the hotel is rundown and unfit for business, but Bea insists they stay. When Bea’s parents join them unexpectedly a few days later, the visit isn’t welcome. Bea has an animosity towards them that Dan doesn’t understand, insisting she doesn’t want them in their lives, but saying she can’t leave Alex alone to deal with them. Over the coming days, the couple’s dream of an idyllic break away from everything crumbles as old secrets and resentments resurface and tragedy strikes.
Narrated by newlyweds Bea and Dan, she has never told him the full story about her parents. He doesn’t know why she wants nothing to do with them or that they aren’t just well off and are part of the elite 1%. Bea is a paragon of morality and virtue – she works with vulnerable people, volunteers with charities, wants to save the planet and is a big believer in justice. She sees things in black or white and refuses to compromise on her morals – something Dan admires but her father mocks her for. Being around her family again means Bea must face that she harbours a deep rage and wrath towards them for their transgressions, things she can’t forgive but also refuses to share with Dan, leaving him confused and driving a wedge between them as he sees two very different people to those his wife sees, not understanding her deep resentments and inability to forgive.
The Snakes is a story about temptation, power, morality and forgiveness. It is a story about a toxic family and dark secrets that explores moral dilemmas and the consequences of the characters’ actions on those around them. It was dark, intriguing and unexpected, keeping me guessing right until the final page. While it didn’t have the heart-pounding tension you find in some thrillers, it was full of a subdued suspicion that was compulsive. The tragedy that strikes the family and search for truth and justice that unfolds is secondary to the story about the family itself.
I hadn’t seen a lot of reviews for this book before reading but I had heard that it was a marmite book, with some people not taking to the format and others loving it. Well, I’m one of the strange ones who has mixed feelings about marmite, and that’s kind of how I felt about this book, which was a very different novel from the one I was expecting. The Snakes is a compelling, well-written and readable novel with a shocking and abrupt conclusion that lingers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sadie Jones is a screenwriter and a #1 Sunday Times bestselling author. Her first novel, The Outcast won the Costa First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. It was also a Richard and Judy Summer Reads number one bestseller and adapted for BBC Television. Sadie also wrote: Small Wars (2009), The Uninvited Guests (2012) and Fallout (2014). Her fifth novel, The Snakes, was listed as ‘March book of the month’ in The Bookseller.
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