Availability: Paperback and Kindle
Synopsis: Following the death of her husband and unborn child, Charley Belington sells the family home and bravely starts life over again. On moving into a new flat, she is befriended by her landlady, Ella, who seems like the perfect friend and confidante.
But, unbeknown to Charley, Ella is fighting her own dark and dirty demons as the fallout from a horrific childhood sends her spiralling down into madness—and unspeakable obsessions.
As Ella’s mind splinters, her increasingly bizarre attentions make Charley uneasy. But with every step Charley tries to take to distance herself, Ella moves in a tightening lockstep with her, closer and closer and closer…
My Review: I feel pretty torn with my opinion on this book. I have read the first of Mel’s Estate books and really enjoyed it. It’s also clear from reading this latest of her books that she has bundles of talent and is overall a great writer. For some reason though, this book just didn’t sit all that well with me. I liked Charley Belington and the reader gets to see this brave woman try to get over the death of her husband. She is trying to move on and that means moving out of the home she shared with her husband Dan. When she moves into a new flat she meets the Landlady Ella who seems like an ideal friend.
At first Ella seems to be the ideal landlady and is going out of her way to welcome Charley into her new home. What the reader soon discovers is that Ella has her own demons and her horrific upbringing is seemingly now responsible for the adult she is becoming. It was clear from pretty early on that Ella has some serious issues and I thought that Mel Sherratt handled them in a way that made the reader understands a little more the way that their minds work. It certainly brings to the forefront the major issue with mental healthcare that many people still shy away from.
We also see neighbours that are part of the plot line appear and in their own way, they become part of Ella and Charley’s lives without them even being aware of it. The one thing I really did like is the plot thread that brought them all together. I thought this was probably the highlight of the book and cleverly done. For me though, I just felt like certain parts of the book were too repetitive and that it felt a little like overkill on certain issues. The book certainly had great pace and the storyline itself and suspense kept you reading. I just felt like overall, there were some things that were too much in my opinion. I’m certainly not prudish or shy (nothing could be further from the truth), but the sexual elements of the story seemed too much and I wasn’t sure they needed to be as much at the forefront as they were.
Overall it was an enjoyable read, but I felt like it was let down by a few things. No doubt Mel Sherratt will go on and produce even more amazing books such as she has been doing for some time. This is by no means indicating that the lady doesn’t have talent because she does. I just feel like this (in comparison to the Estate books), doesn’t do her the justice she deserves. Will no doubt be a winner with the majority, just didn’t quite do it for me.