Tarnished – Julia Crouch

Tarnished

Published March 1st 2013 by Headline

From Amazon:

Peg always felt a little blurred, a little lacking in definition. Her mother died when she was six, her father simply disappeared, and she was brought up by her grandparents and her obese, bedridden aunt. But, despite all this, she never developed the habit of asking questions.

At least, not until she met Loz, her straight-talking, psychotherapeutically literate girlfriend, who urges her to confront her demons.

But as the skeletons come tumbling out of the family closet and the full horror of the past begins to reveal itself, Peg starts to wonder whether her youthful lack of curiosity might not have been a good thing. A very good thing indeed…

 
My thoughts:
 
Peg is in her twenties and has very little memory of her childhood. She knows that her mother died when she was only a young child and that her father disappeared soon afterwards. She was brought up by her beloved nan and granddad, the gentle and kind Dolly and Frank together with aunty Jean – her father’s parents and sister.

Peg has never been a confident person. Although she felt loved by her grandparents and Jean, her schooldays were miserable and friendless and she has always believed everything she has been told without question. However, she now realises that she is starting to remember snippets of her childhood – is her memory playing tricks on her or is she really remembering?

There are some very unlikeable characters in Peg’s life. Her father seemed to be a shady character – a nightclub owner who appeared to be involved in some unlawful activities. Her aunty Jean is a vile character, she is manipulative and despite being bedridden for many years due to her obesity, she still insists on continuing to eat her own bodyweight in food and smoking her cigarettes in between puffing on her oxygen mask. I didn’t really warm to Peg either at first – I thought she was too meek and too easily manipulated by other people, especially her feisty girlfriend Loz and her aunty Jean.

This was a slow burner of a story and whilst not an edge of your seat thriller, it starts very slowly with the tension building throughout the book, with sinister twists and turns until the conclusion – which I never saw coming. Peg, with Loz’s help, tries to put together her fragments of memory and find out the truth concerning her family never imagining the danger heading her way.

This was an excellent read and I would certainly recommend it.

Book received through the Amazon Vine review programme  

Author website: http://juliacrouch.co.uk

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