Sunday, 14 February 2016

ANOTHER REBECCA by Tracey Scott-Townsend

4.5 out of 5 stars

Complex family drama

On Amazon UK HERE
On Goodreads HERE 

This was a surprise hidden gem!  It's been on my to-read list for a long time and I decided it was time to open it up ~ and I'm glad I did.

Another Rebecca is a very unusual story, told from the points of view of Rebecca, a young woman with understandable psychological problems, her alcoholic mother, Bex, and her care-worn father, Jack.  The first chapter is an insight into the mind of Rebecca when she is at her most confused, and I wondered if it was going to be the sort of book I liked (I am not one for weird dream sequences and is-it-fantasy-or-isn't-it stuff, generally), but it was sufficiently well written for me to carry on. The second chapter was a different kettle of fish altogether, from the point of view of drink ravaged Bex, raw, gritty, and much more my cup of tea, and I realised I was going to enjoy the book alot when I got to chapter 3, and Jack.  Then, it all started to make sense, I got stuck in and read most of it in one day ~ I couldn't leave it alone.

The novel goes back and forth from the present to various times in the past, and it's well structured, never confusing, with the years clearly shown, so it was easy to build up the complex history of the family.  The author has a real talent for the written word, with the characters coming to life.  Although the story is all about emotion, this aspect isn't laboured and there is plenty going on.  I liked the way the nooks and crannies of the family's history unfolded, with just enough mystery to keep me doing that 'just one more chapter' thing.  I would have liked to have seen more about what happened when the actual split between Rebecca's parents took place, and a bit more about the relationship between Jack and his new wife, but that's the only area I felt was slightly lacking.

Looking at this book on Amazon I can see that it's hidden away in a dark side shelf, and with its unassuming cover it might be easy to overlook, but I can assure you it's worth picking up.  A couple of the reviews say that it's hard to understand what's going on, but I think that says more about the reviewer - it's not confusing, it's complex and clever.  Oh, and there's a lovely little episode of Tudor ghostliness, too!  Nice work, Ms S-T :).