Families are more than blood and gatherings. They are a huge part of your life, whether you have one or not…
I would like to thank Titan Books for my review copy of The Beloveds. This review is my unbiased opinion.
Title: The Beloveds
Author: Maureen Lindley
Date of publication: 17 June 2018
Publisher: Titan Books
Number of pages: 384
Oh, to be a Beloved—one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.
Betty Stash is not a Beloved—but her younger sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She’s the one with the golden curls, sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family home—a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens—that was never meant to be hers.
Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behaviour—aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog—escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there’s a length to which an envious sister won’t go.
beloved noun /bɪˈlʌv.ɪd/ /bɪˈlʌvd/ A much loved person
The reality of this word hides an unsuspected depth. Who are the person you consider your beloved ones? Are you a beloved yourself?
For Betty, the term refers to a glass wall between her and the lucky ones, like her sister Gloria. Those people are different. No matter what happens to them, just like cats, they land on their feet and life seems shine upon them, leaving poor Betty outside this beautiful world to fight her way through each day. She has always felt different and the only true connection she has ever made was with her childhood house.
We all have felt this way at some point. We all have thought ‘It is greener on the other side of the fence, this is not fair.’ Haven’t we?
From this natural reaction to what life throws at us, the author creates a beautifully gothic and creepy tale of a woman willing to put the universe right, to show those ‘Beloveds’ that they can’t always win.
Hope is luck’s cunning agent.
With a chilling writing style reminding us of Daphne du Maurier, Maureen Lindley shapes Betty and allows the reader to invade her thoughts. As if from another world, Betty see everything through some sort of dark veil and nurtures the darkest feelings under the mask of the usual woman from the corner of the street.
It is easy to create a dark character but it is far more difficult to strike a connection between the reader and a tortured soul. The Beloved gives you enough information to be crept out! The narrative tone is cold, freezing even. If the first lines have you wondering about the reasons which have put the main character in such a state, you are soon fed with hints that give you goosebumps. This story isn’t horror per se, or real ghosts (are ghosts real?) but rather about the horror a human mind can come up with to get what they want. What are the limits when the ghosts of the past are clinging to you like rain on Scotland?
People like legends better than the truth, anyway.
Why should Gloria be in the light when she has stolen Betty’s crush years ago? Why should she have the life that was supposed to be Betty’s? Why can’t she love her husband the way a wife should? Why can’t she live in her adored house?
You get a picture of each character through Betty’s eyes and it is up to you to see what is right and what … well what is not. What had me so stunned was how attached Betty is to her home, or her parents’ home, and how far she is willing to go to protect this sacred place. It never feels far-fetched, it actually sounds like a real rescue with no other choices than those Betty makes. I could not stop myself whispering to the pages.
Page after page, you go down a domestic staircase of revenge until your reach THE step, the no-turning-back moment. Filled with shivering moments which will have you wondering whether Betty is right and where the line of fairness lies.
The Beloveds is an addictive read that I just couldn’t put down; rooting for Betty to see the light, always on the fence about Gloria. Mixed feelings had me confused about the reality of everything and I ate this book faster than a home made muffin made by a caring mother with a smile that doesn’t reach her eyes!
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