First of all I would like to thank #RuthDugdall for sending me a copy of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, a complex but well written novel. This is the second book with Cate Austin in.
“ What I want to say is that suicide is my choice. No-one else is to blame. Man seeks beautiful woman for the journey of a lifetime:Will you help me to die?”
Would you reply to an advert to help someone commit suicide?
The story starts as Robin is standing on a train platform waiting for Mr Smith. Who she is meeting for the first time. But Robin isn’t her real name and Mr Smith isn’t his. Both had been looking for love on the internet, both were using fake names.
Jump back to 1977 we meet Matilde a young girl who doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere, at school the girls don’t like her, on her way home she is bullied by the local children because she goes to a posh school. She is only happy when she is home alone, her mum is busy with local groups so she wasn’t lonely in the big house on her own, her father worked long hours, running three factories. You feel for Matilde, there is more going on at home than anyone knows. She is 17 years old and realises her periods have stopped, she tells no one, her father calls her a slut already. But he knows, and takes her to a clinic, but Matilde is too far gone for anything to be done. Some of the teachers are beginning to notice as well, so the school call her mother. Mother arranges everything. When the time is due Matilde will go away have the baby then come back, the baby will be given up for adoption. All so simple and cold.
Cate Austin is a Probation Officer, she assigned the case of Alice Mariani, this is the highest profile case she has been given, Alice is charged with assisted suicide and Cate has to recommend the right sentence. But what is the right sentence? Is Alice mentally ill? Does she deserve to go to prison? What are the circumstances?
But first she needs to get to know more about Alice and the man she helped to take his own life. Why would someone want to die if they aren’t ill. Dave Jenkins was an actuary, he dealt with numbers and probabilities, his work colleague Krishna Dasi has seen no signs that his colleague was depressed, so it had come as a shock to him when he found out he had committed suicide with the help of his girlfriend, he hadn’t even known he had a girlfriend, he had never even mentioned a girlfriend.
Why did Alice help this person? she is an intelligent young woman a lecturer. What has made her the way she is? She has one constant in her life and that is Lee, they have been friends since school. But Lee joined the Army and was stationed in Germany.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, it’s told from a few perspectives and timelines, but you always know who is talking and where the timeline is, never getting confused as you can with some reads. This is just so well plotted. When Alice was talking and saying how beautiful she was I couldn’t help but feel she was narcissistic but in some ways she was lost, despite being beautiful she wanted to be loved, but was there more to it than that.
Matilde you just really felt for, she tried so hard, again another intelligent person who focused on her education, but what chance did she have.
Cate Austin is determined to get to the bottom of what was going on with Alice, her home life is not easy either, she has a young daughter, her husband had left her and their daughter six weeks after she was born for another woman. Six years later his now wife has just had a baby.
The characters are a mixture of good and evil in many different ways. So many complex characters and personalities in this story to make it so good. I just couldn’t stop reading this. It’s a book I highly recommend because up until the end I wasn’t sure what to feel for Alice, even now after finishing this I am left thinking of her.
I give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ such a good read.