My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 3 days
Pages - 418
Publisher - Avon books
Source - Gift
Blurb from Amazon
Alison is the ugly duckling of her family and has always been treated with disdain by her mother. After years of being bullied, she is drawn to the one man who shows her affection. But when he brutally rapes her, leaving her pregnant, she is cast out.
Shunned by her family, Alison must start to make her own way and plan a life for herself and her unborn child – and for the first time she is master of her own destiny.
But when the baby arrives, Alison feels no love for her new son. Terrified that history will repeat itself, can she find a way to love her child? And will she ever find the forgiveness she craves from her family?
Oooft guys this book is *jaw drops* - talk about some shady horrible characters! Alison is the "baby" of the family, the youngest of three daughters and treated abysmally by almost everyone. She is mocked for her looks by family and locals, she is painfully shy as a result. She is such a good egg and just gives and gives whilst her mother and sister Hazel mock, put her down and take more and more. Linda is the eldest and has a soft spot for Alison but she lives away and has her own family. When Alison gets a job in a butchers things start to look up a bit until she is attacked and her whole world is turned upside down.
Now obviously it tells you in the blurb and there is the title too that there is an SA resulting in a pregnancy. I have to just say see if something doesn't happen in the first quarter I don't think it should be mentioned in the blurb as it is a spoiler. If I remember it is almost half way through so just a wee person gripe I have.
Alison's mum and sister Hazel (the middle child and absolutely spoiled) are really repugnant characters. I wanted to hug Alison because regardless of what she does, or how much she gives they never have a kind word for her. Contrasting that, her boss in the butchers is such a nice kind soul and I think against Cora (her mother) and Hazel it really shows the opposites and how bad/good they are.
The book is set in the 50s and Neale captures the authenticity of the time well, I thought. The whole keeping a front on because of the neighbours and judgement(s), saving for what little you had. The judgements - ie wearing lipstick and daring to date/work and the way people looked down on others.
I find these books you can sink into and just block out your own reality, if for just a little while, I have read Neale before and will read again, 4/5 for me this time.
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