Monday, April 15, 2013

One Step Too Far

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis
Kirk Parolles, 4/15/2013
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0957544321

An apparently happy marriage.  A beautiful son.  A lovely home.  So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life to start all over again?  Has she had a breakdown?  Was it to escape her dysfunctional family - especially her flawed twin sister Caroline who always seemed to hate her?  And what is the date that looms, threatening to force her to confront her past?  No-one has ever guessed her secret.  Will you?

My Thoughts:

In One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis,  Emily Coleman changes her name and leaves her husband, Ben, and their beloved Charlie as well as her whole previous suburban life in Chorlton, Manchester, England behind - including her parents and twin sister, Caroline. Emily moves to North London and changes her name to Catherine (Cat) Brown. She finds a room in a crumbling boarding house, makes friends with fellow tenant, Angel, looks for a job, and embarks on living a new life. Cat is very different from Emily. She begins drinking in earnest and taking drugs. But the burning question is why would Emily leave everything?

While reading there is some indication of why Emily left, what the impetus was that compelled her to leave everyone, but nothing is clearly stated until the end of the novel, and the answer is likely not going to be what you think. This is a novel about the price of escape, but it is also about the complicated emotional legacy families leave each other and how you really can never escape your past.

Seskis cleverly weaves stories from everyone's past in alternating chapters with Emily's new life. The reader will jump into the past and meet Emily's parents, her twin sister, her husband. As Emily's family history is slowly revealed, you might be tempted to make some assumptions about Emily's reasons for leaving - but you have to wait for a shocking event that will lead to the whole story.

In this well written, clever debut novel, Seskis does an excellent job of building suspense and keeping us interested in Emily and her family (and their back stories) right up to the end. Her timing on the disclosure was superb. While interested and engaged in the novel all along, there was a point when I was slapped in the face with information and raced to the end of One Step Too Far to get the answers I so desperately needed. I suspected some things, but Seskis still managed to surprise me.

Very Highly Recommended

Disclosure: My advanced reader's Kindle edition was courtesy of Kirk Parolles via Netgalley for review purposes.

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