How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publishing Date: 28th June 2018
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 4384
Genre: General Fiction, Mystery
From the author of bestselling phenomenon Daughter comes a thrilling exploration of a marriage consumed by ambition and revenge . . .
The perfect couple
Meeting Albie gave Beth a fresh start – a chance to leave her past behind. Now she has her new husband; an ambitious, talented young neurosurgeon.
The perfect marriage
Their marriage gives Beth the safe haven she’s always wanted – with just one catch. Albie has no idea of the secrets she’s keeping. He doesn’t know that years ago, Beth had an affair with Ted, the boss helping Albie’s star ascend. Nor that the affair’s devastating ending will have consequences for their own future.
The perfect storm
So when Ted’s generous patronage begins to sour, Beth senses everything she’s built could crumble. And she sees an opportunity. To satisfy Albie’s ambitions, and her own obsessive desire for revenge . . .
She’ll keep her marriage and her secret safe.
But how far will the fall take them?
Albie and Beth are married. Unknown to Albie, Beth has had a relationship with Albie’s boss, Ted, that ended rather dramatically. Between Albie and Ted, they have potentially found a cure for a fatal children brainstem tumour, however Albie doesn’t know what to think when Ted starts to take credits for his development, discoveries and hard work – Ted is more than a boss to Albie, he’s his mentor and friend, so he’s really hurt. This is where Beth senses her chance for a revenge – but is this going to change her and Albie’s lives for ever? How far will they fall?
The characters in this book were not the most likeable ones. They were all full of flaws, keeping secrets and telling lies and in fact not a single one of them would hesitate to bring the others down in the name of their career or revenge. But I think that Ted was the most obstinate of them all, being at the top of his game and being able to do anything to remain there. The story is mostly told from Beth and Albie’s points of view. Right from the beginning we know that something happened to Beth and she’s seeking revenge. We can also have a guess what it was that happened and with whom, and all my suspicions were confirmed. Beth was dreaming of a career as a surgeon but she’s a theatre nurse, however right now she’s enjoying her life, spending most of her time in her garden. Albie is a surgeon, working hard on finding a cure for cancer. Meeting him was like a fresh start for her – however here, guys, I am still not sure if Beth truly loved Albie from the beginning, or was it only the awareness that he was Ted’s best friend that made Albie interesting for her? Nevertheless, their characters were not too straightforward and it was so very well described how they affect each other. However, she brilliantly showed how human her main characters are – how lost they are, how helpless in the world and angry, but also how calculating they can be. Shemilt captured in an incredibly great way the conflicts of the characters, how tangled they felt, how important loyalty was to them and how far would they go to not inflict problems.
However, I think I’ve never warmed to any of them. They might have been in relationships and had feeling to each other but somehow they came across as clinical and without emotions, without conscience. I just didn’t get them fully – as well as the end, that didn’t sit with me at all.
But I don’t know guys, I can’t put my finger on what it was but I just felt confused by this story. However, it was a read with a difference and I can certainly say that never before have I read a story like this. It was confusing for me, yes, but it also was intense and interesting. It was dark and mysterious, and there were many moments that it was too medical for my liking, with many, many very detailed descriptions of procedures. There was also the case of the rats, like in animal testing, and while it felt really uncomfortable, hats off to the author for pulling it off like this, giving all the options and presenting both points of view, those of the researchers and those of the petitioners, without judging them. But back to this medical stuff – it was very literal and especially some of the descriptions of operations were really realistic. and I mean, really.
“How Far We Fall” was a thought – provoking story about ethics, morals and how far we – yes – fall to get our revenge. About power and revenge and ambition. It wasn’t predictable, oh no, on the contrary, I had no idea how it will proceed and in which direction it’s going to take us. The author has incredible way with words, the story is written in simple, short sentences but they’re exceptionally eloquent and she easily brings to life all the things she writes about. You’re going to feel hate, uncertainty, repulsion, anger and compassion. It was slow – burning but multi – layered. Tense and taut, and full of provocative questions about ethics and the author has created a claustrophobic, dark and heavy atmosphere and complex, multi – layered story. Recommended!
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