The Long Weekend by Jane E. James
This is a dark tale that tells the story of a mother and her two estranged daughters who agree to meet over a long weekend in a bid to reconcile their differences. The backdrop, a remote lighthouse set against a foreboding Norfolk coastline, provides the perfect setting for this Gothic and at times, supernatural, story to unravel. Heard through the voices of three main protagonists, it quickly becomes apparent just how flawed these individual women are and none more so than Hazel, the mother. Although not particularly fast paced, the author does a brilliant job of taking the reader back and forth through time so that one is gripped, and desperate to put the pieces of this complex puzzle together. As with most best laid plans, Hazel’s hopes to build bridges with her daughters are thwarted by the revelation of something terrible.
Jane E James is a beautifully descriptive writer and although for the best part of the book I disliked the three main characters, I also found myself uncomfortably drawn to each of them. The writer has the uncanny knack of making the reader feel sorry for the three women and I often found myself sympathising with their decisions and dark deeds. This is a story about mothers and daughters, good and bad, light and dark, all wrapped up in a familiar seaside town that I will never quite look at in the same way again! A brilliant debut novel and I look forward to more from this writer.