In March 2016, Annemarie Neary was in my hot seat chatting about her novel Siren. I’m honoured to have been able to read her latest release, The Orphans, ahead of publication (you’re in for a page turning read!).
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Hutchinson (27 July 2017)
Eight-year-old Jess and her little brother were playing at the water’s edge when their parents vanished.
For hours the children held hands and waited for them to return. But nobody ever came back.
Years later, Jess has become a locker of doors. Now a lawyer and a mother, she is determined to protect the life she has built around her. But her brother Ro has grown unpredictable, elusive and obsessive.
When new evidence suggests that their mother might be alive, Ro reappears, convinced that his sister knows more than she claims.
And then bad things start to happen.
I was hooked from the beginning … the prologue in North Goa 1992 left me with so many questions that I needed answers to. As we get to know Jess and brother Ro, I was caught up in their personalities/lives and the effect being abandoned has on them as adults.
I love the process where a story begins and we know very little about the characters, basing reactions on our own perceptions. How wrong I was in the beginning about Ro! Took me a while to let go of what I wanted him to be and how I thought he should act! He disappointed me so many times but I understood why. I felt so many emotions, quite complex, in regards to Ro. There were times when his humanity came to the fore … if only for a very short time.
Jess has the same emotional need although projects into the world in a totally different way. The story needed Miles to push her out of her blinkered and false sense of security lifestyle. I couldn’t find any redeeming features in either husband Charlie or nanny Hana. I wanted Jess to take control and flip everything upside down! She needed to know the secrets to release her though …
It’s obvious Annemarie Neary knows the profile of psychopathic behaviour and mental illness – the vulnerable members of our society. She skillfully weaves these behaviours through the plot making it fast paced, atmospheric and a tense read.
Highly recommended by me.
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