Oh my goodness. Where do I begin? This is a book to be savoured and the narrative quoted wherever any mention of wealth, privilege and dynamics of a family tainted by parental abuse are needed.
Bea is from a wealthy family, a very wealthy family. Dan, her husband hasn’t had a privileged background but on the whole is content with his life. Dan is an artist, temporarily working in an estate agent, who first met Bea in a trendy gallery, where amongst other items on show were some of his paintings.
Bea is a psychotherapist, who enjoys her job. She’s a socialist and happy in her work. The couple might consider themselves to be happily married and on the surface appear to be enjoying their lives and while not living a rich existence, love each other but decide to give up work for a few months and travel around Europe. Living expenses for the trip are taken from their ‘cushion fund’ of relatively meagre savings.
The couple embark on their journey through France and intend to visit Bea’s brother Alex along the way.
Alex lives in a hotel he’s currently doing up in Paligny, near Beaune, Burgundy. Alex is a damaged young man in a family of damaged siblings.
Bea and Alex’s parents turn up at the hotel and Dan begins to realise exactly how wealthy Bea and her family really are but also as family secrets start to emerge. Will the wealth turn Dan’s head and make him see Bea in a different light? Bea doesn’t want anything to do with her father’s wealth or her parents themselves in any form.
When a family tragedy pushes them ever closer together and they start to rely on the wealth and influence of Griff, the father of of Bea and Alex, their struggle to remain as they once were is absolutely tested to the maximum.
This book is many things. It’s a microscopic look into the family dynamics of an entirely dysfunctional family. It’s a murder mystery that at times turns into a terrifying read. It’s a glimpse of a relationship between one wealthy spouse and one from an entirely different background and it’s so many other things. Brilliantly written. An utterly compelling read that blew me away with its many layered plot.
* I’m familiar with the Burgundy area and particularly Beaune itself. We spent one family camping holiday when my children were small and then always stopped in Beaune in subsequent journeys around France. It’s a beautiful old historic town and as I was reading this book, could picture it completely as events occurred
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