I would like to thank Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the book blog tour, and for supplying me with an ARC all opinions are my own and unbiased. Also thank you to S.R.Wilsher.
It’s the summer of 1976, and after nine years in prison, James Minter is home to bury his mother. A history of depression and a series of personal issues has seen her death ruled as a suicide.
His refusal to accept that conclusion means he must confront his violent stepfather, deal with the gangster who wants his mother’s shop and, of course, face the family of the boy he killed.
But will his search for the truth in the claustrophobic atmosphere of a small seaside town, and the unpicking of the peculiar relationship his mother had with the stonemason next door, put his own life in danger?
This is a complex story told over several different timelines the most up to date being 1976 the other years are approximately 9 years earlier. Also told through different characters at different stages in their lives. Told in three parts.
August 1976, James Minter more commonly known as Mint is back in his home town, a place he would rather not be in, and would not be in if circumstances had been different. He has recently been released from prison on licence after serving 9 years of a 12 year sentence. For a mistake he had made when he was 20. He is only back now to identify and say goodbye to his mother who was found dead in her home, the police say it was suicide but Mint doesn’t believe his mum would have done that.
The story revolves around Mint, his half sister Lara, half brother Sam. Mint’s father had died before he was born, his mum had loved his dad she had said he was her soulmate, this hadn’t gone down well with his step dad George, the man his mum had later married. A brute of a man and a bully. He had never liked Mint.
Terry Freeman the local bookie who George not only works for but also owes money to, wants the shop, that Abi, Mints mum owned, he didn’t want the shop to continue as a business he wanted it in order to knock it down for future developments, George was pushing Abi to sell it as he owed Terry money. But just before she died Abi was having second thoughts could that be why she was killed? If she had committed suicide in the way the police believe why does she have bruises on her body?
After 9 years in prison Mint had grown, he wanted to protect his now 16 year old sister Lara, and wanted to get his brother Sam away from George who had him doing his dirty work with him, but this may not be as easy as he had hoped. He just doesn’t want to see his brother throw away his life and end up in prison like he had.
Alan Green is the Mason who has the business next door to Abi, he lived there with his daughter Beth. He liked Abi, he was the one who had found her dead. But what was their relationship?
This is a well written story, about family, betrayal, love, greed, crime. It’s complex with a number of characters that you gradually get to learn more about as you read on. The timeline flicks back and forth meaning you really have to concentrate on where you are, at times I was getting some of the characters mixed up until I got used to them all and where they fit in the scheme of things.
I didn’t like any of the men except perhaps for Mint, as all of the men were bullies to their wives, and daughters. Being a teenager in 1976 myself, I am not sure it was a sign of the times then, obviously women do have more say and freedom now compared to 1976 but I never witnessed the type of control that is portrayed in this book, although it does still happen even now in 2021 with some men. I liked the way Lara started to become a stronger woman despite her only being 16 she had seen how George had treated her mother and it was clear she had no intention of letting a man push her round in that way she came across as a very strong female character. There were some parts of the story I was a little disappointed in, I felt the tension could have been built up a little bit more, allowing the reader to know what is happening at the time it happened, this was shown early on with George and Abi, but I felt the opportunity was missed when the book went to part two, as something happened out of the blue. To say too much would give the plot away which I don’t want to do, I just felt it lacked the believability a little.
However, this is just my opinion and I’m sure others will feel differently. There are a good mixture of characters good and bad, I look forward to seeing what the writer comes up with next.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I tend to divide my life in two. Prior to 2009, I did the long hours and the commitment to paying the mortgage, studying, and finishing the house, whilst trying to write in a way that didn’t impact too much on my family and career. The reality was work affected my writing, and my writing prevented me ever committing to my job wholeheartedly.
In 2009, I had a kidney transplant. It took a while to undo the way I had lived before, my life still involved work, children, coffee and chocolate. But slowly I’ve stepped back from work and now spend much more of my time pleasing myself; writing, making furniture and creating art, I’m no better off financially, but I have been much more productive with my writing.
There was a time when I was rewriting the same book over and over in some attempt to second guess the rejections I received. Self-publishing has freed me to move on. Now I usually have two books on the go, one in development and one on it’s way to completion.2020, however, being the year that it was, means I’ve been working on three.
I continue to be disappointed that I’ll never see any of my books on the shelves of any bookshop. But I console myself with the fact I’ll never see them in a charity shop either.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINK