The Story of Before by Susan Stairs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I wonder today how no one else could see the bad thing coming. Not that I knew back then what the bad thing was; and if I had - if I'd known one of us was going to die - would there have been anything I could have done to prevent it? I play it all back in my mind, over and over. The clues were all there. On New Year's Eve, eleven-year-old Ruth and her brother and sister sit at a bedroom window, watching the garden of their new Dublin home being covered in a thick blanket of snow. Ruth declares that a bad thing will happen in the coming year - she's sure of it. But she cannot see the outline of that thing - she cannot know that it will change their lives utterly, that the shape of their future will be carved into two parts; the before and the after. Or that it will break her heart and break her family. This is Ruth's story. It is the story of before.
I was lucky enough to have been sent this book direct from the publisher. - Thank you very much Atlantic Books! When I received it i decided to get straight at it and I began.
This story is told through the eyes of Ruth, a sibling living in the 1970's in Ireland. Rose Lamb (Ruths mother) wants to move before they have their fourth child - Mick had lived in the house since he was a child and she wants to have a fresh start. The arrive at Hillcourt Rise. Ruth feels left out as her older siblings are so close, this is until Kev comes along, she is left to look after him on numerous occasions.
The family had been living at Hillcourt Rise for 18 months when on New Years Eve Ruth declares that something bad will happen to the family this year. We go on a journey of the Lamb family settling into their new home, making new friends and following their lives.
It is an intriguing read and to be honest I didn't think much was happening at the beginning of the story, however it was Susan Stairs building tension, she has created a vivid read and I felt I was part of the family.
From reading the blurb I knew something bad was going to happen, when reading the book as I was looking out for something it gave lots of twists and turns as I thought I knew what the bad thing was, but then I was wrong - something else was then in the frame to be it, however I was wrong again. This kept me reading as I wanted to know what it was!
I found the story originally difficult to get into as like I said I felt nothing much was happening, however there became a turning point in the story where suddenly everything made sense and I understood. From this point I whizzed through the book and couldn't put it down. I cannot believe that this is Susan Stairs debut novel as I felt the way it has been executed was very good.
I would urge others to read this book as it will stay with you for a long time and I cannot wait to read more by Susan Stairs I hope you do decide to read this for yourself and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.