After the Fall by Charity Norman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Amazing - absolutely adored this book. This is a family drama in the great tradition of Diane Chamberlain with a tension and keep you guessing suspense which elevate it far above the run of the mill.
It tells the story of a family for whom things have begun to go badly wrong, trying to put them right - husband Kit whose business has folded has battled alcoholism. Mum Martha struggles to balance work with bringing up her beloved toddlers, lively twin boys who stretch her to her limits. Daughter Sacha is reaching the terrible teen years where boys and friends are everything to her and a longing to discover more about her father, who was on the scene long before stepdad Kit arrived becomes almost an obsession.
Life has become one long grind so Martha and Kit decide to relocate to New Zealand where a new start might help them get back on track, they soon find themselves settling in to an idyllic life in a seeming paradise. Sacha is devastated to leave behind her friends and adored Grandad, Martha misses her Dad too and her sister Lou. Kit at last begins to relax and rekindle his talent for Art which he always longed to earn his living at.
All the characters have their own flaws and foibles yet are beautifully created, including the new friends and neighbours in NZ who help them settle in.
But as is obvious from the very start of the story, not everything in Paradise is perfect and there has been a terrible accident injuring one of the little twin lads who has plunged from a balcony.
The circumstances surrounding the fall are gradually revealed, there is so much more going on below the surface than at first meets the eye, and we agonise with Martha as she has decisions to make which we all hope will never be ours to have to make. Martha narrates the story and we really get inside her skin she is a terrific character, she behaves like a real person always trying to do her best for her family but not always able to get every single thing right - she's not perfect and all the more believable for her frailties.
The descriptions of New Zealand had me wanting to go out and book tickets right now and the superb narrative had me turning the pages so fast I got paper cuts. I did guess the mystery behind Sachas parentage as the clues were there but this didn't spoil anything at all as the story is a great human interest tale to absorb the reader as well as having several mysteries and shocks to make you gasp.
This really is a sensationally well constructed novel I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoyed One Breath Away The Good Father or The Rose Petal Beach and I can't wait to read some more books by this very talented lady.