Olivia is recently widowed after her husband, David, commits suicide. From the outside they seemed to have the perfect marriage. David is a local business owner and a member of the Town Council with hopes of becoming Mayor one day. Olivia is the local vet and their family seems complete with the arrival of baby Zoe. But behind closed doors David subjects Olivia to years of physical and verbal abuse.
Ivy, is David’s mother. She idolised her son all his life, put him on a pedestal. No one in her eyes was ever good enough for her son. She does not believe her precious son could ever do any thing wrong, or hurt anyone even when the evidence shows otherwise. Two women, both grieving, both with secrets, who would do anything to protect their child.
Ivy and Olivia are the narrators in this novel. Through Ivy we see how David grew up and became the man he was. Olivia’s story is one of survival at the hands of her abusive husband and how she tries to put her life back together.
It is well written and deals sensitively, but with honesty, the difficult themes of domestic violence and suicide. It is hard to read in some places, especially when Ivy realises what’s going on but lives in denial as she sees her son through rose tinted glasses.
The characters are well developed and realistic in their emotions and actions surrounding the issues of domestic violence and death. I have to say Ivy really annoyed me at times in her smothering of David and her denial to the reality of the situation. I do feel she had some responsibility for her son’s actions. By the end I had no sympathy for her at all.
This is an emotional read that covers the full scale of human emotions; death, domestic violence, love and forgiveness. I do suggest that you have a box of hankies at the ready when you read this book.