The Boy That Never Was by Karen Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This beguiling and believable story, about the lives of a couple Harry and his wife Robin, both artists who begin their married life living a bohemian lifestyle in Tangiers. The birth of the baby boy Dillon, whom they both adore, only serves to cement their relationship, until the unthinkable happens and in a moment of ill judgement their world turns upside down when an earthquake strikes taking their beloved 3 year old from them and as the cracks appear in Tangiers so do the cracks begin to form in their loving relationship.
Told in first person in the 2 voices and differing viewpoints of Harry, then Robin, we see the very different ways this loss has affected them both and back in Ireland, secrets and past misdemeanors haunt both of them in contrasting ways. Both racked by guilt they are unable to accept the loss of Dillon and Harry especially finds it impossible to believe his little boy is actually dead. Drowning his sorrows in an alcoholic haze, he believes Dillon is still alive and when he spots a boy whom he believes is the dead child he begins to lose his grasp on reality.
We are swept along by the excellent storytelling and layer upon layer of buried transgressions which build up to a horrifying climax.
This is a taut and rather unnerving book, the characters are somewhat flawed which initially I excused because of their grief but gradually reveals itself to be part of their personalities.
Making you wonder how you would react in similar situations, I found it a very enjoyable read and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a family drama with a tense psychological twist or two.
I was surprised and a little taken aback by the ending and without giving anything away there was one aspect of it I must admit I don't really understand. An excellent novel which I can highly recommend.
I think it might appeal to anyone who enjoyed The Playdate or Sister
I received a free e-version of this soon to be published title from Netgalley.
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