Today I’m sharing my long overdue review of Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden. This is Sharon’s debut novel but it packs one heck of a punch. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Lucas Findlay thinks he has struck gold when he marries Rebecca, but she married him for one reason only – to destroy him.
TRAUMA RUNS DEEP
When her past comes back to haunt her, Rebecca begins to disconnect from herself and the world around her. As secrets are unearthed, she begins to fear for her sanity… and her life.
TRUTH WILL OUT
With her world unravelling around her, Rebecca clings to her determination to make Lucas pay, whatever the cost.
FORGIVE HIS SINS
But someone must pay for the sins of the father…
A chilling page-turner from a sharp new Scottish voice.
If you are looking for a dark and twisted read then this could well be right up your street. I always thought the author was a lovely person but her love of dark thrillers is almost brutally on display here, with a story which involves some very harrowing themes and protagonists I found myself completely torn over. It’s a startling debut and one that really hits hard right from the start.
This is, essentially, the story of Rebecca. We first meet her properly as a young child, although. I’d say it is only young in age. What she endures and experiences is the kind of thing that sees children age must faster than their years, and it would take a hard heart not to be moved by the depravity in which she is found or the circumstances that lead to the very chilling opener to this book. Nothing in the book is overly graphic in terms of detail, however there is no doubting the abuse that Rebecca suffers, at the hands of family as well as strangers, and so people who are easily triggered or upset by child abuse may wish to exercise caution. Told in Rebecca’s voice, it adds a layer of emotion to the story, but also a strange kind of detachment. There is a hint of the adult Rebecca will be come, a defensiveness, which manifests itself in alarming ways. But there are many ways in which the body and protects itself from violence, and it is very much the mind that becomes a focus throughout the novel.
Sharon Bairden has taken a very complex and emotional subject matter and handled it with sensitivity, but still created the kind of drama and tension that is necessary for a psychological thriller. Rebecca suffers from psychological issues which feed into the narrative in both the past and the present. It is a believable account, the way in which the recriminations for Rebecca are not only experienced in the real world, but also inside her head. The way in which he mind plays tricks on her, makes her believe she is at fault, that she is deserving of the pain she suffers … It is something many will identify with, whether or not they have suffered in the same way. It’s a form of protection but also self destruction, and it is compelling to watch it play out on the page.
This is really a story of two halves, You have the before – Rebecca’s childhood – where the scene is set and the reasons for all that is to come are laid out. These are very dark scenes, hard to read at times, but important. The second half of the book is where the fun begins. If you can really call it fun … This is where Rebecca tries to seek vengeance, to gain retribution for all that she suffered as a child. She has her sights set on the perfect victim, even if they don’t know it. But there is a catch, and almighty twist, which may catch you unawares. Nothing in this part of the story is necessarily hidden , we are always aware of what is happening and why. In some ways I’d perhaps have liked a little more subterfuge here, but knowing the who and fairly swiftly the why, doesn’t detract from the story.
Character wise, this was a strange one for me. I had sympathy for Rebecca, and I could understand how she came to be the way she was, particularly as a child and later teenager. But I never really grew to like her, and if you read the book you’ll understand why. I was intrigued, I wanted to know if her plans would succeed, she deserved a little revenge after all. And the other characters did little to garner my sympathy of affection either. And yet I wanted to read on which should say something about the strength and the pull of the story. I’d have liked to see the end of the story taken a little further. There is a lot of time spent in establishing the backstory and the revenge elements, that the resolution seemed almost too quick. Is it wrong that I’d like to see people suffer more? Maybe, maybe not, but there were certain elements revealed towards the end that I’d like to have explored further. For me it could have made the ending, already shocking and jaw dropping enough, even more impactful.
A dark and twisted debut and definitely one which makes a heck of an impact. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Sharon Bariden has to offer us in the future. With book two just around the corner, we’ve not got long to wait.
About the Author
By day Sharon Bairden is the Services Manager in a small, local independent advocacy service and has a passion for human rights; by night she has a passion for all things criminal. She blogs about books at Chapterinmylife and is delighted to be crossing over to the other side of the fence to become a writer. Sharon lives on the outskirts of Glasgow, has two grown up children, a grandson, a Golden Labrador and a cat. She spends most of her spare time doing all things bookish, from reading to attending as many book festivals and launches as she can. She has been known to step out of her comfort zone on the odd occasion and has walked over burning coals and broken glass – but not at the same time!