First published in the UK, this disturbing novel plumbs the depths of obsession and taboo. All her life, sixteen-year-old Susanna yearned for the father she’d never known. Her distant, abrupt mother has no time or interest in such nonsense so Susanna knew little about her father beyond a treasured photo and his name, John ap Rhys Owen. Susanna’s older sister is not much of a role model either as she is little more then a slut. Although academically gifted enough to be tested and accepted into Oxford early, Susanna fails to follow up on the opportunity after she traces her father to a Chelsea apartment. Never breathing word of her identity, Susanna initiates a clandestine affair with John which continued for months before discovery by her mother. The events of one tragic night forever changes Susanna’s life as the second half of the book reveals in heartbreaking detail.
Although incest is a difficult and controversial subject, this unusual treatment rendered in vivid detail through finely developed characters makes for a compelling if uncomfortable read. As disturbing as the first part of the book is, the second part that follows Susanna’s fate is darker and if anything, more disquieting. This amazing, thoughtful book will stay with readers long after the last sentence is read.
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