Best friends Rosie and Lisa’s families had always been inseparable. But that summer, Lisa had an affair with Rosie’s husband Nick. And now, after years of silence, she sends Rosie a letter begging for help. A letter which exposes dark secrets. Daughter Daisy’s fragile hold on reality begins to unravel. Teenage son Max blames himself for everything that happened that long hot summer. And Nick must confront his own version of events.
It’s not often that I struggle with a book, but for me ‘The Betrayals’ was a difficult book to get into, filled with a complex and unlikable characters. Towards the end, I was almost looking forward to finishing it.
The story is seen from the perspective of the Rankin’s family, who all suffered badly when father, Nick was exposed for having an affair with Lisa, the best friend of his wife, Rosie. After this exposure is revealed, Daisy becomes unwell and develops OCD, creating many routines. She becomes consumed with the OCD, fearing that if she doesn’t act out her routines, that Rosie will die. Her illness spreads to her younger brother Max, who also becomes consumed, having to placate his sister and understand her reasons.
But just as Daisy finally recovers, her old symptoms reappear when Nick announces his engagement to Lisa, suddenly she’s counting in times of three and constantly having to check the knife drawer, all whilst fearing for her mothers safety. She tries to hide her illness but Max is fine attuned to her symptoms and begins to fear for her. But he’s other things on his mind, having met the mysterious Connie, an older woman who’s taken his heart. He finds Daisy irritating and is angry that she’s constantly looking for his attention and support.
Whilst the children deal with sudden reappearance of Lisa in their lives, Rosie throws herself into her work and Tinder, meeting men to distract her from what is going on around her.
Nick is paying for his infidelity, even though he loves Lisa dearly, he clearly regrets how things have turned out and how little his children think of him. He scares off his future and how bleak it will be without Lisa in his life, he pleads for her to seek proper treatment but she decides to go the alternative route, convinced that her cancer is her punishment for cheating on her best friend.
The story is written in the past and present tense. Going back to the time, when the affair was revealed and how it affected people particularly Daisy, who’s version of events is different to others.
The characters are complicated and self absorbed, all caught up in their own dramas and constantly seeking reassurance or forgiveness. At times, I found their neediness and drama irritating and just couldn’t find them relatable or engaging and also felt the sorry could have been wrapped up a lot sooner.
This is the first book that I’ve read by Fiona Neill and I’m disappointed that I didn’t enjoy it, although she is an author that I would like to look into, with the success of her previous book ‘The Good Girl’ which is on my TBR pile. Sadly, ‘The Betrayals’, a dark and obsessive story about lust and friendships just wasn’t for me.
You can pre-order The Betrayals from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 10th August 2017.