Dark fan­tasy and sus­pense

Coastal News - - Books -

The Mere Wife

By Maria Dah­vana Headley Scribe, $29.99

.. .. .. .. .. ..

Willa is the first lady of Herot Hall. Her life re­volves around so­cial events, her hus­band and her son, Dy­lan.

Dana Mills is an ex-sol­dier whose be­head­ing by ter­ror­ists was shown on TV. But some­how she es­caped death, the ter­ror cell and her ul­ti­mate res­cuers.

Back in Amer­ica she dis­cov­ers she is preg­nant. She re­turns to her tu­ran­gawae­wae and hides out in the caves that run un­der the moun­tain at the back of Herot Hall un­til her son is born. She con­tin­ues to live there as Gren grows into a boy.

Willa is ig­no­rant of Dana’s ex­is­tence, and Dana avoids any con­tact to safe­guard her son. Once Gren is old enough to roam the moun­tain on his own, how­ever, he is ir­re­sistibly at­tracted to Dy­lan, and then all hell breaks loose.

The two moth­ers are pit­ted against one an­other in a bat­tle to the end.

Headley has based this novel on the Old English clas­sic, Be­owulf, telling the story from the point of view of the women in the story, rather than the men. She re­tains the toxic mas­culin­ity, vi­o­lent coloni­sa­tion, yearn­ing for power and heroic law­break­ing of the orig­i­nal tale, but places them in a set­ting that is rel­e­vant to con­tem­po­rary so­ci­ety.

Her lan­guage is vivid and com­pelling and, by us­ing the voices of sev­eral of the char­ac­ters, she is able to con­vey their dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives on the nar­ra­tive as it un­folds.

If you are a fan of dark fan­tasy and sus­pense, then you will love this book.

— Lynda Stall­wor­thy

Love Will Tear Us Apart By Holly Sed­don Allen & Un­win, $45

.. .. .. .. .. ..

Holly Sed­don has made a huge im­pres­sion since she de­buted with her first novel, Try Not to Breath ,in 2016, fol­lowed by last year’s equally im­pres­sive Don’t Close your Eyes.

Once again in Love Will Tear Us Apart, Holly’s abil­ity to make re­la­tion­ships leap off the page is ev­i­dent from page one.

Kate and Paul have been mar­ried 10 years, af­ter their child­hood friend­ship was rekin­dled when they met again aged 30.

To ev­ery­one, they seem like the per­fect cou­ple — Paul with his high­fly­ing job, two per­fect kids. It seems like Kate has the world at her fin­ger­tips.

But that’s not how she feels. In­side she is al­most bro­ken and feels ex­tremely in­se­cure.

When we learn of the back-story to their mar­riage, it is sort of un­der­stand­able.

De­spite any ev­i­dence to sup­port her sus­pi­cions, Kate be­lieves Paul is hav­ing an af­fair which, given the cir­cum­stances of their re­con­nect­ing and mar­riage, can’t be dis­missed out of hand.

Even­tu­ally the truth is faced and how Sed­don han­dles the in­ten­sity of Kate and Paul’s re­la­tion­ship and its chal­lenges make for an in­ter­est­ing con­clu­sion.

— Tony Nielsen

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.