Friday, 27 April 2018

The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley

The BelovedsThe Beloveds by Maureen Lindley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An exploration of domestic derangement in the tradition of Daphne Du Maurier s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.
An exploration of domestic derangement, in the tradition of Daphne Du Maurier s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.
Oh, to be a Beloved one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.
Betty Stash is not a Beloved but her younger sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She s the one with the golden curls, sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty s, the one whose husband should have been Betty s. And then, to everyone s surprise, Gloria inherits the family home a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens that was never meant to be hers. 

Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behaviour aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there s a length to which an envious sister won t go.

Written in the first person from the central character who is our narrator Betty, The Beloveds is a dark sinister story of obsession and sibling jealousy out of control.

When Betty's mother dies she naturally expects to receive the family home, Pipits, as she is the eldest daughter and it is the way of things. She was never her mothers favourite, that honour went to her younger sister Gloria. So when the house is left to Gloria Betty is furious and vows somehow to get what is rightfully hers.

Bettys' jealousy started from the time Gloria was born. Gloria was such a good baby and developed into a charming child who everyone was attracted to. She had a pretty face and such a sweet character that everyone fell in love with. Betty sees has one of the 'beloveds' - those who manage to get everything in life they want and luck is always on their side.

Against Gloria Betty feels plain and never good enough. Every situation Betty sees as a criticism and so through the years she builds such resentment that she becomes to hate Gloria. Matters were made worse when Betty bought home her boyfriend Henry and once he meets Gloria she looses him to her and they marry. Another thing that gets added to Bettys list against her sister.
Gloria even manages to steal Bettys best friend Alice from her.Betty does marry and although Bert is much older than her it is a convenient arrangement on both their parts.

Betty has always loved Pipits and believes the house talks to her and is willing her to take it off Gloria and Henry and she makes it her mission to do just that at any cost.

This is a dark tale and at times a little voyeuristic because the reader becomes Betty and we spy along with her on those on her list that she wants to destroy. Betty is a psychopath where reasoning and acceptable behaviour don't exist, where she can plausibly justify her actions. She's not a likeable character but there's something that draws the reader in about her, possibly the need to know how far she will go to get what she wants.

Cleverly written with enough suspense to keep you reading and I give this one 4 stars.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

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