published 15th August 2017
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
This novel left me feeling twisted inside with anguish and distress. The story was often cruel and unnecessary and so filled with venom and naked revenge it made for an uncomfortable read.
Brooke Green’s mother had died when she was seven years old. At least, that’s what she’s been told all her life. So it comes as a devastating revelation after her father’s unexpected death that her mother is indeed still alive. Tracking her mother down to Atlanta causes problems between her fiancé and herself, but she is unable to let go of her desire to meet and confront her mother. Finding her mum living only six hours away from herself, Brooke concocts a reason to be transferred to Atlanta through her work and sets out to spy on and gather as much information through her mother’s new children and husband. A chance encounter between her mother and herself in which Brooke is not instantly recognised by her mother leads to her suddenly filled with rage and her desire for vengeance becomes palpable. Brooke does all she can to cause mischief and mayhem in her mother’s life. There is no limit to which she won’t sink to make her mother feel the grief and misery Brooke feels.
This is a painful story to read, watching a grown woman hell bent on revenge against another women who she does not even have courtesy to find out the reasons why she made the choice she did twenty five years ago. This level of fury and reprisal would be expected from a twelve year old, not a woman of 32. Brooke is childish and self-centred. She is filled with self-pity and really holds everyone around her as guilty for life. Brooke is not a likable character and even with her extenuating circumstances, it makes her just plain ugly. Her behaviour and actions caused incredible grief in more than one family.
ReShonda Tate Billingsley is a brilliant writer to be able to develop such physical reactions in a reader to emotional issues within a book. The pacing is fast and the plotline well crafted; it’s just a pity that the main character was so unlikeable.