Review: The Son-In-Law by Charity Norman

 

Title: The Son-In-Law

Author: Charity Norman

Published: Allen & Unwin July 2013

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from June 30 to July 01, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

In the heat of the moment, Joseph Scott lashes out at his wife, Zoe, and unwittingly destroys everything he loves. Three years later Joseph is released from prison and his first priority is to re-establish contact with his children, thirteen year old Scarlett, ten year old Theo and four year old Ben. The children have been in the care of their maternal grandparents, Hannah and Frederick, who blame Joseph for their daughters death and fight to deny him access. Compelling and thought provoking, The Son-In-Law is a moving story of forgiveness and redemption.

The Son-In-Law is told from the alternating perspectives of Joseph, Hannah and Scarlett, unveiling a tale of tragedy and domestic drama. Zoe’s death left her family reeling and three years on they are still struggling to come to terms with her absence. With remarkable insight and compassion, Norman explores the intense emotions of her protagonists- Hannah’s righteous bitterness and anger, Scarlett’s vulnerability and confusion and Joseph’s sadness and fierce love for his children. My support was constantly shifting as the author revealed the complexities of the issues involved in decided what was best for the children. On balance, it was the children who engendered most of my sympathy, caught as they were between the adults whose good intentions were compromised by their own desires.

The only way for this shattered family to heal is to find forgiveness from one another but it is a journey fraught with hurt, anger and confusion. Their conflicts seem irreconcilable but slowly Norman’s characters edge towards an understanding of each other and their needs. Norman challenges the reader to negotiate this emotional and moral minefield and our notions of what is best, and what is right.

Beautifully written, The Son-In-Law is a harrowing and powerful story. I was utterly engrossed by the realistic characters, their precarious relationships and the heart wrenching circumstances of this family tragedy, and I think you will be too.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 1girl2manybooks
    Jul 03, 2013 @ 11:01:08

    So want to read this!

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  2. Nikki-ann
    Jul 05, 2013 @ 07:38:43

    Sounds like a good read… Thoughtful and emotional.

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  3. Jan
    Jul 08, 2013 @ 22:44:20

    I finished the book this evening, having started it only a few days ago. It would have been sooner if I didn’t have other things that had to be done. An incredible book, beautifully written, with profound depth, understanding and wisdom. Totally agree with review by Shellyrae and highly recommend this book to others.

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  4. Julie @ Knitting and Sundries
    Jul 08, 2013 @ 23:30:10

    wow … she dies and he only gets three years? I can only imagine how tangled those relationships are. This sounds like an interesting, thought-provoking read.

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  5. Teddyree
    Jul 09, 2013 @ 15:38:44

    Wonderful review Shelleyrae, sounds like a difficult read but worth it. Maybe not the best reading material for me right now but it’s going on my wishlist for a later date.

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  6. Trackback: The Shelves Are Groaning – XIX/07 | Giraffe Days
  7. Michelle Walker
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 11:40:15

    Great review Shelleyrae, I love this book – heartbreaking as it was. I struggled a little with the words on this one, you did a great job.

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