lørdag den 25. september 2010

Ruth Dugdall, The Woman Before Me (2010)

This British thriller is a debut.

We enter this story when Rose Wilks´ newborn baby dies, and Emma Hatchet´s boy lives. After the tragedy, Rose keeps in close contact with Emma who is the ex-wife of Rose´s lover, Jason. She babysits little Luke as often as his parents will let her, and she even begins breast-feeding him and sneaking into the house behind Emma´s back. So when Luke dies in a fire which started during one of the nights that Rose used her copy of the kitchen door key, she ends up in court, accused of murder.

In between Rose´s first-person narration in the form of a diary, we meet Cate Austin, a brand-new probation officer in Bishop´s Hill Prison. Rose Wilks is her very first case so Cate has to make up her mind whether Rose is ready for parole or not after four years in prison. She speaks to Rose, to Luke´s father Jason as well as Emma and her husband Dominic, and piece by piece the reader gets the full story of what happened when Luke died.

Important themes of the story are love, obsession and jealousy, and even though the novel is written in the present tense, I was absorbed by it immediately. The characters are well-drawn and the pace is fine. It is also a good thing that the main character, Rose Wilks, is neither white nor black, but occasionally I found her behaviour unrealistic.

Nevertheless I am impressed by this very fine debut, and I hope there will be more books from Dugdall´s hand soon. Maxine was kind enough to send me the book when she had reviewed it, and I did not let it gather much dust on my shelf.

Maxine´s review
Ruth Dugdall´s blog.

7 kommentarer:

Maxine sagde ...

I'm glad you liked it, Dorte. I agree that it is a very good debut, and I look forward to more from this author (especially if Cate features again).

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for this excellent review. I, too, generally prefer books written in the past tense, but this sounds very absorbing! I'm definitely going to be looking for this one.

Kelly sagde ...

This one sounds just a bit creepy (but aren't tales of obsession often that way?), but quite good.

Dorte H sagde ...

Maxine: it is funny to see how well you know my taste :D

Margot: it has several strong points so I really think you´d like it.

Kelly: though the themes of dead children and obsessions can make a very tough story, I don´t think she dwells too much on the nasty bits.

Kittie Howard sagde ...

Ohhh, glad I read your review. Obsession isn't my thing.

pattinase (abbott) sagde ...

Just the sort of book I am interested in right now.

Dorte H sagde ...

Kitttie: well, I enjoyed it a lot :D

Patti: great. She deserves a readership.