When Alicia Carlyle returns to the home of her childhood after the tragic death of her husband, she is hoping to put the past behind her. But first she must come face to face with the woman who nearly destroyed her marriage and tore her family in two - her sister-in-law, Sabrina. Their enmity runs deep, but Alicia is determined to make a fresh start for herself and her two children, Nathan and Darcie, and to heal her fractured relationship with her beloved brother.
However, just when it looks as if they might have a chance at a brighter future, Sabrina's 15-year-old daughter, Annabelle, accuses 17-year-old Nathan of a crime he insists he didn't commit. And once more the two families are locked in a battle that is fraught with mistrust, betrayal and lies - a battle that threatens to destroy them all....
©2010 Susan Lewis (P)2016 Random House AudioBooks
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I've read the book too so for me Anna brought all the characters to life for me, from the softly spoken voice of Alicia Carlyle to the strident harpy tones of Sabrina.
** spoiler alert **
Oh wow what a book, it starts slowly with that subject that I am not comfortable with ....adultery. The story is told from past and present using different characters POV. Craig is a barrister married to Alicia and they have two children Nathan and Darcie.
Robert is Alicia's older brother and he marries divorcee Sabrina who already has a daughter Annabelle.
Alicia finds Craig and Sabrina in the guest room of their home boinking whilst the house is filling with guests for Craig's 40th birthday party - was he stupid to shag his mistress in the marital home or did he want to get caught??? Sabrina milks this one smirking at Alicia over his shoulder whilst telling Craig to go faster and harder. Alicia demands "the slut" leave her house and that the party is cancelled. Craig is devastated and says it was all a mistake but Sabrina lets slip they have been at it for a year. Alicia walks away telling him he can explain to his guests that they must leave.
So Sabrina....what a witch...she gives a genuine tart a bad name ..... I think she goes after Craig because she cannot bear to be ignored and go she does whilst on a shared family holiday in Italy. It's not clear how long she has been dangling her assets but its enough that Craig finds himself in lust. Equally his 14 year old son Nat is exploring things with his 12 year old cousin!!
Craig gives her up but cracks after two weeks, they continue to meet until Alicia catches sight of his mobile and credit card bill and tells him give her up or their marriage is over. He dumps Sabrina who fools herself that he will come back as he did before. Time goes by and she realises that its over but she cannot let go and stalks, harasses and drunkenly contacts him saying she will kill herself. It's not until Robert threatens to end their marriage that she stops. But she drops into a deep depression, squawking her life is over and for two years openly pushes her daughter and husband away.
She drove me nuts with her constant self obsessed internal monologues on how heart broken she is and how Alicia stole him back and ruined her life ...err sorry that was her husband. She cannot understand or see what she did wrong or the harm she caused!
So during all this a huge flaming row between Sabrina and Alicia takes place when Alicia and Robert's mother decides to try and bring peace to the family. It all goes horribly wrong with both women receiving bruises and bloody noses, the bald patches made me grin!
Her mother also gets a little bruised trying break this up, but in the end she asks Alicia to not come home anymore as its too upsetting for Sabrina and Robert! She gets steadily sicker and once she ends up in a hospice it is easier for Alicia, Nat and Darcie to spend time with her until she dies. She leaves the Coach House (the family home) to Alicia which becomes essential as Craig has a bleed on the brain and dies instantly. Alicia and the children loose everything as there is no insurance,
Returning to the family home in Holly Wood, Sabrina starts a campaign to get her sister in law out of the village as she views this as her territory and her jealousy is out of control. Annabelle meanwhile is completely off the rails with no respect for either her mother or herself which gets worse when she eavesdrops on a row between her mother and Robert where she hears about her mother's affair with Craig. She realises now what had been happening. Because she and Nate had been close once she goes out of her way to catch his eye, with the flirting, "I'm easy" flag flying but all she does is annoy him and make him angry.
I am going to leave it there, I encourage you to either listen or go and read it... I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the rock throwing tantrum (abandonment issues my @rse!!)
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