The Betrayals

Posted November 24, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

The Betrayals by Fiona Neill
The Betrayals by Fiona Neill
Published by Penguin Books Limited on August 10th 2017
Genres: Psychology, Mental Health, Fiction, Mystery & Detective, General, Thrillers, Psychological, Psychopathology, Compulsive Behavior, Contemporary Women, Suspense
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781405923460
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*** PERFECT FOR FANS OF THE BBC'S MODERN FAMILY DRAMA DR FOSTER ***'No one writes about modern family with more truth and authenticity than Fiona Neill' Lisa Jewell

'A rollicking read that should not be picked up at bedtime, or you'll be done for in terms of a good night's sleep' StylistSometimes there are four sides to a story - but which one will you believe in the engrossing RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK and Sunday Times bestseller, The BetrayalsA dark and emotional novel about the fine line between friendship and betrayal . . .

________None of them would forget that week on the wild Norfolk coast.

Best friends Rosie and Lisa's families had always been inseparable.

But that summer, Lisa had an affair with Rosie's husband Nick.

And now, after years of silence, she sends Rosie a letter begging for help. A letter which exposes dark secrets.

Daughter Daisy's fragile hold on reality begins to unravel.

Teenage son Max blames himself for everything that happened that long hot summer.

And Nick must confront his own version of events.

There are four sides to this story. Who will you believe?

'A vivid and insightful portrayal of a family in crisis. A writer at the top of her game' Gillian McAllister

'Thought-provoking and stands out from the crowd' Grazia

The Betrayals is an excellent book that is a psychiatrist’s dream – or nightmare. There are not just one but two dysfunctional families. (“When it comes to the hierarchy of dysfunction, we reign supreme”). A serious Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (“Mine involved six repetitions of actions that included checking the bedroom windows were shut, making sure there was no gap in the curtains, and tapping the wall in a triangular pattern in multiples of three”). Serial infidelity. Alcoholism. Sibling rivalry. Addiction. And other traumas thrown in for good measure that I won’t reveal.

Dark and depressing?

Such a list of issues might give the impression that this is a dark and depressing book. On the contrary, Fiona Neil writes with a lightness of touch and a sense of humor that makes for a fascinating and easy read. And although all eight members of the two families have a mental illness, a wounded personality or display distasteful behavior, each has redeeming characteristics.

You may be thinking that there is nothing unique in a novel that deals with such psychological problems. What makes it unique and a stand-out book is an underlying theme that runs throughout it. As one character explains: “Every time you retrieve a memory there is a re-storage process that means it shifts and changes over time.” In other words, “it’s a terrifying but beautiful notion that every day we wake up with a slightly different personal history.”

Can we trust our memories?

This has huge consequences. For example, the story is told by four members of one of the families, but how do we know which of them are telling the truth? Is one or more of them re-inventing or re-imagining events? The crux of the story hangs on what one of the daughters saw, in great detail. Or did she? Because we are also told that “science shows that people who claim to remember events in the greatest detail are the biggest liars.” This keeps us guessing, even until after the end.

The Betrayals would make an ideal book for a reading group. One of the characters is aware of this because he says: “No one can render their past exactly as it was – Discuss.”

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