Today it is my pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for How Far We Fall, the latest novel from author Jane Shemilt. My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for inviting me to join the tour and to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review. I’ll be sharing my thoughts in just a moment, as soon as we’ve seen what it’s all about.
About the Book
From the author of bestselling phenomenon Daughter comes a thrilling exploration of a marriage consumed by ambition and revenge . . .
The perfect couple
Meeting Albie gave Beth a fresh start – a chance to leave her past behind. Now she has her new husband; an ambitious, talented young neurosurgeon.
The perfect marriage
Their marriage gives Beth the safe haven she’s always wanted – with just one catch. Albie has no idea of the secrets she’s keeping. He doesn’t know that years ago, Beth had an affair with Ted, the boss helping Albie’s star ascend. Nor that the affair’s devastating ending will have consequences for their own future.
The perfect storm
So when Ted’s generous patronage begins to sour, Beth senses everything she’s built could crumble. And she sees an opportunity. To satisfy Albie’s ambitions, and her own obsessive desire for revenge . . .
She’ll keep her marriage and her secret safe.
But how far will the fall take them?
How Far We Fall is a very clever thriller. It is very different to most books I have been reading of late, leaning heavily on the psychology of relationships and mistrust rather than all out action or mystery. Character lives are entangled in ways you cannot initially comprehend. You may think you know, and in fairness there is explanation given really early on as to just how the three main characters are connected, but this only goes part way to detailing the complexity of what you are reading and it is the uncovering of the absolute truth that is the real essence of the story.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about the plot. The blurb tells you all you need to know without risking spoilers. This is a story about people, three very specific people in fact, and the overwhelming impact they have upon each others lives. It was a most unusual read for me as I have to be completely honest and say that I was never entirely sure what I made of any of them. Just when I thought I had one of them all worked out, something would happen to change my opinion. Some nugget of information would be shared that would turn everything on its head. They each of them have their moments which would potentially endear you toward them, but also have that one element of their character which makes you if not quite hate, then at least dislike them.
What appealed to me a out the book was watching the way Beth and Albie’s relationship developed. They were a couple who on some levels should not have worked and yet there was something about them. When you add in Ed, and the way in which the author had portrayed Albie’s absolutely blind faith in him you get quite a heady mix and the path is set for a very intriguing read.
This is not a fast paced novel. The story does not lend itself to it. Neither is it a book you can read on the fly – it most definitely demands your attention. Told predominantly from the point of view of Beth and Albie, you become absorbed in their lives, and can feel their emotions emanate from the page. Frustration, fear, devastation or loathing … Jane Shemilt has captured it all. And the sense of place is strong, especially when visiting Albie’s old childhood home. The sense of isolation and almost claustrophobia that you feel while reading can be almost overwhelming. This is certainly a book you need to take time over to avoid a kind of mental overload.
If you are looking for a high action, tense thriller then this probably isn’t for you. This is a story full of lies and manipulation, a tale of friendships forged on trust and torn apart by deceit, of betrayal and the settling of old scores. A tale of pushing boundaries and exploring how far people will go to defend themselves and the ones they love. Thought provoking and stylish, this is one book I won’t forget in a hurry.
If you would like a copy of the book for yourself it is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
While working as a GP, Jane Shemiltcompleted a postgraduate diploma in Creative Writing at Bristol University and went on to study for the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa, gaining both with distinction. Her first novel, Daughter, was selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club, shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, and went on to become the bestselling debut novel of 2014.
She and her husband, a professor of neurosurgery, have five children and live in Bristol.
Follow Jane on Twitter.
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