Today I am sharing my thoughts on the brand new novel from Bernie Steadman, Those You Trust. Bernie has taken a step away from her crime series roots and branched out into the rocky world of relationships, and they don’t get more rocky that those of Anna and her family. And I thought my family was dysfunctional – we have nothing on the Cretan families it seems. My thanks to the author for inviting me to review and for the gifted copy of the book. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
How do you forgive the people who lied to you?
Anna, the only daughter of Greek immigrants, knows nothing about her father’s family until she inherits her grandmother’s house in Crete, and uncovers a bitter dispute that has lasted for years.
After escaping a lonely marriage, she decides to visit the island and to try and bring her family back together. But is her aim achievable and will she ever be able to forgive the people who lied to her?
While on the island she meets Leo and begins to unravel her family history. But when she learns a devastating secret her world comes crumbling down.
She has survived tragedy before, but will she cope with what she discovers this time, and will Anna ever learn to trust again?
Those You Trust explores the emotional themes of trust, family, honour and betrayal and is perfect for fans of Barbara Davis and Amanda Prowse.
I quite honestly went into reading this book blind. I had little idea what it was about other than it marked a move away from the crime genre and police based thrillers where author, Bernie Steadman, made her name. In many ways I am glad I just took the plunge, largely because I really enjoyed reading it and having a completely blank slate I could just allow the author, and protagonist Anna, take me on a journey.
Anna is a woman that I think a lot of people will recognise. Stuck in a failing marriage where her husband calls all the shots, and having largely lost the spark that once fired up her dreams, a surprise bequest in her Grandmother’s will offers her that chance she needs to start again. The only catch – the home she has been left it in Crete, and to accept it means giving up everything she has and leaving her family behind. Not a problem as far as husband Will goes, he’s a complete idiot and goodbye and good riddance to him quite frankly, but it is harder with her parents, especially her father who left Crete many years before and has never returned, for reasons Anna has never had explained. What she finds when she takes that large step is the truth of her family heritage, a who new group of friends and possibly a new romance … or two.
Now this is no light and simple romance kind of novel. Anna doesn;t slink off to an island dream and find her happily forever after from the off. It would be a very short book. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure that the author could entirely walk away from the crime genre either as whilst this is very clearly a story of family and friendships, there is still an undercurrent of something dangerous, something not quite as straightforward as it seems, and some of the people Anna meets have a definite darker side, as does the truth of the feud that drove her father from the island.
Expect surprises, expect laughter and expect a few tears. Also expect to really grow to like the character of Anna. I know I did. She is someone who goes on a clear journey, and the growth in her throughout the novel is fun to see. She knows what she wants, years of being put down and playing second fiddle to Will are going to be put far behind her, but the way in which Bernie Steadman has portrayed her enthusiasm, her determination and the growth in her confidence is pitch perfect.
If you like a great family based novel about new beginnings, with a strong female lead who still has much to learn about herself, then I would definitely recommend you read this. The author has a clear love for her characters (well most of them – some are just plain skin crawlingly creepy and gah), and for Crete and its people, and it shines through in the narrative. It’s not just Anna who is offered a second chance here and watching it all play out left me with a definite smile on my face. Give it a whirl. You know you want to.
About the Author
Bernie Steadman’s background is in secondary education, and she taught English for many years in Comprehensive schools in Manchester and later in Devon. She completed my debut novel, Death in the Woods when she escaped from marking essays.
Death in the Woods established DI Dan Hellier and his small team at the heart of a series of murder mystery books based in and around the ancient city of Exeter. Published by Bloodhound Books as The West Country Crime Mysteries, Book 1 was followed by Death on Dartmoor and that was followed in July 2018 by Death on the Coast, the final part of the first series. The whole series is available as a box set.
She lives in the small market town of Axminster in East Devon with her husband and two rescue cats, who are, naturally, in charge of the whole house. When not glued to the laptop, Bernies love coastal walking and has been a student of Iyengar yoga for many years. To give a little payback, Bernie volunteers at a local animal rescue and rehoming centre, where she is Chair of Trustees.