Cora carries secrets her daughter can’t know.
Freya is frightened by what her mother leaves unsaid.
Angel will only bury the past if it means putting her abusers into the ground.
One act of violence sets three women on a collision course, each desperate to find the truth, when the people they love are not what they seem.
When danger lies in the eye of the beholder, what happens when you reject its pull?
Margie Orford is an award-winning journalist who has been dubbed the Queen of South African Crime Fiction. Her Clare Hart crime novels have been translated into ten languages and are being developed into a television series. She was born in London and spent her formative years in Namibia and South Africa. A Fulbright Scholar, she was educated in South Africa and the United States, has a doctorate in creative writing from the University of East Anglia and is an honorary fellow of St Hugh’s College, Oxford. She is President Emerita of PEN South Africa and was the patron of Rape Crisis Cape Town. She now lives in London.
My thoughts: a few years ago there was a grief furore in the press about a photographer who had included images of her naked children in an exhibition and a book. The debate centered around consent and the line between art and porn. That’s the line Cora’s most recent exhibition has been accused of crossing in this book. The paintings are of herself as a child, topless on her parents’ South African farm – replicas of photos. She claims she’s trying to capture that last moment of innocence, before a girl realises why men are looking at her. But the resemblance of her daughter, now an adult, and the childhood Cora has angered some.
She’s also in a new relationship with a man with a horrible, dark secret. Angel, who also has horrible, terrible, heartbreaking secrets, is looking for this man – Yves, in the Canadian wilderness where he lives and she works in a wolf rehabilitation centre.
These women’s lives collide because of these secrets and because of Yves and men like him. There is a real core of darkness in this book, something a lot of us don’t like to acknowledge. Angel and Cora are trying to take something back, to restore lost innocence in their own, very different ways.
Freya, Cora’s daughter, is wrestling with being her mother’s daughter, with what her mother’s autobiographical art means to her – and hoping to understand her mother better. She uncovers some things Cora has tried to bury.
Compelling, brutally honest and incredibly powerful, this is a striking and gripping novel that lingers in the mind long after you close the book.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all