Title: My Grandfather’s Eyes
Author: B.A Spicer
Release date: November 27th 2013
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and a half star
Alex Crane is not a nice woman. But she understands what it is to be set apart from other people, and she knows the pain of unrequited love.
Inside a small cupboard at the top of the stairs during a Christmas game of hide and seek, five-year-old Alex Crane listens to her cousins as they dance downstairs chanting, ‘Poo face! Poo face!’ She raises a small hand and covers her moles, glowing with shame and confusion. She does not want them to find her. Already reeling from the loss of her beloved grandfather, the cousins’ careless words cut deep. But there is worse to come, and Alex discovers that there are very few people in the world whom she can trust. Years later, self-assured but emotionally disaffected, Alex marries, knowing that the only person she cares for is her closest friend, Lizzy. Trapped and with diminishing hope, Alex almost gives in to Richard’s suffocating devotion. However, the discovery of a family mystery takes her over. She pieces together clues and delves deeper into the past, recalling scenes from her childhood which mask a devastating truth. The cupboard at the top of the stairs cannot hold Alex forever.
While she is waiting for her ill husband in the hospital waiting room, Alex looks like any other woman. Except maybe for the moles on her face that have shaped her relationship to others and the world around her since she was a child. But that face hides feelings a that should not be flooding the mind of a loving wife anxiously waiting for news of her spouse.
Cold and detached, Alex walks down memory lane, from the funeral of the grandfather she was so close to, to this day, allowing her to dive into her mind to get an insight of what is going on in her head and her heart. As the story progresses and the events unfold before you eyes, one memory after the other, leading you back to the hospital, you realize there is more layers to Alex than her calculative mind wants you to know.
Doing what is expected of her, from marrying a nice man to finding a good position, she suffers an internal struggle as her feelings for her childhood friend Lizzy trouble her, having her longing for a freedom she can only achieve by making peace with herself and her family secrets.
My Grandfather’s Eyes is a riveting tale of appearances and secrets, pressure from the society and ourselves, enveloped by a sense of uneasiness and told by a woman with two faces.
The writing skillfully serves Alex’s portrait and her vision about life. I was intrigued from the start. I am not a big fan of slow-paced storylines, but seeing Alex’s life unfold slowly before my eyes, each chapter helping me dig deeper into her memories and the core of her being was captivating. Before long, I began to understand her choices and I caught myself warming to her, imagining what it was like to live her life. I even felt claustrophobic for her, being stuck in a life she doesn’t want to lead.
Emotions are always depicted spot-on, raw and real. There is no hesitation as Alex says it as she feels it. Inviting the reader into her mind through the first person narrative was a brilliant choice. It allowed me to connect with her, and I might not have enjoyed Alex’s story without an insight of her true feelings.
Every secondary character was complex and three-dimensional, creating a full world around Alex. Her husband, her grandmother, Lizzie, her parents, and of course her grandfather. Maybe because of her flaws, she managed to observe and explore her family so well that she unearthed secrets that have been plaguing lives for years. Her grandmother was a character I was drawn to instantly, her attitude and words cutting through the air. I had a feeling Alex had inherited bits of her personality from her. Family stories and secrets are some favorites of mine and I was not disappointed. The animosity between her grandmother and her mother sparked curiosity in me as much as it did for Alex and unravelling the truth turned out to be utterly satisfying!
Her obsession with Lizzie has driven many of her decisions, and even if I didn’t understand them all, I was able to see their relationship grow and Alex grow with it as she learned more about herself. At times I wished she had not been so selfish, and I felt sorry for her husband, the victim of life’s harsh realities and illusions.
Overall, My Grandfather’s eyes is a captivating character-driven psychological thriller filled with family drama and enough twists to keep you reading until you finally get the answers.
My Grandfather’s Eyes is available on Amazon
About the author
She has lived in Bridgnorth, Cambridge, Rethymnon (Crete), Mahe (Seychelles), and now lives in Charente Maritime with her husband and youngest son. The next place she wants to explore is probably Spain. Her husband is very tolerant, and secretly enjoys chaos.
Bev has been a teacher, blackjack dealer for Playboy, examiner for Cambridge ESOL, secretary (various sorts – most boringly ‘legal’), lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, and a Sunday checkout girl for Tesco (who allowed her to deliver surplus bakery products to the homeless – ‘every little helps’).
She loves people, reading, writing, speaking French, astronomy (quantum theory addict), gardening, travelling, and hates housework, cooking, drizzle and honey.
Bev publishes under the name Bev Spicer for her lighter books and B. A. Spicer for more literary work.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of My Grandfather’s Eyes in exchange for an honest review.