By Tom Barry
Restless and neglected, Isobel is suffocating in a stagnant marriage. Suave and charismatic Jay is fighting for survival. An invitation to visit Jay's resort in the hills of Tuscany sparks Isobel to imagine a life of freedom and excitement.
Dismissing her husband’s objections, Isobel pursues Jay to Tuscany on the pretext of searching for a holiday home. After fighting anguished guilt, she abandons herself in a passionate affair, with her controlling lover encouraging Isobel to push beyond her sexual boundaries.
But all is not as it seems in the idyllic Tuscan retreat, and Isobel finds herself trapped in a web of intrigue, deception, and betrayal. She is one player in a dangerous love triangle, unsure whether Jay is her saviour, or her nemesis. As her world falls apart, she must choose between the woman she thought she was, and the woman she has become.
Rating: 2.5 / 5stars
Honestly I have been thinking a long time how to rate this book.. because there were things i really enjoyed and other things i really didn't care for.
I always insisted that the writing style is probably the most important thing for me… because I very rearly abandon books, but when I do, its always the style of writing that bothers me. So there lies my dilemma, I loved the writing style but honestly didn't care much for the storyline itself - well mostly anyway.
Barry is a good storyteller. His writing is captivating and I really enjoyed his style. I really think he is a talented writer. I loved his descriptions of the souk and the tuscany. In fact all of his descriptions are brilliant, they invoke those places and gives one a taste of it.
While I think the story was cleverly built and the strings slowly come together as one reads (again thanks to Barry great writing skills) I found myself more and more disliking it. But mostly I found as the story went on the characters became more and more too stereotypical for me.
While at first I totally got Isobel, felt her loneliness…as the story progressed I started getting irritable with her, thinking can she really be that naive? I think Isobel was the best character in the book, not only because I connected most with her. After finishing the book and thinking about the different characters and the story I realized that I knew most about her. The POV are mostly written from Isobel's and Jays point of view. So naturally one got to know them best. Isobel's feeling, fear, worries and longings are extremely well described. While I think she was rather naive, like a goldfish in a shark tank really, she was the most realistic of all characters in my opinion. And I truly loved her decisions at the end, and honestly was surprised by it too.
Jay is the Siren in the book. And I shifted from thinking he is a total bastard to hopping for him throughout the story. But when thinking about him, I have to say I never got him. He stayed a total enigma to me. I never got his reasons for the way he acted, never really ended up knowing what he thought or felt…which is odd considering that many times the story was told in his POV. So retrospectively I felt like the character wasn't that well developed.
Their families,friends and business associates were for me very stereotypical. Which made the story it self unreal. from the promiscuous girlfriend to the pensioner couple, they just seemed somehow unreal. And honestly I really disliked most of them.
There are interesting aspects that are touched in this book, and I think Barry does do a good job with it most of the time, but I felt it's so extreme in many points that I kept thinking not everybody in that part of society is like that.
I was really unsure of what I felt about the storyline throughout most of the book. Kept on disliking it and then liking it again..until the last few pages. I really like the end.In fact the reason I kept going despite it all was the writing, it hooked me. And I kept on thinking, it might get better, and as I said before Barry does write rivetingly well.
All in all I have to say this book is probably just not for me. The writing is riveting, witty and simply beautiful!
ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!
View all my reviews