“You deserved better than this, sweetheart,”
This is the second book in the Wideacre trilogy. It concerns the joint heirs to the fictional Wideacre estate, Richard and Julia, and their problematic relationship which quickly gets dark when ambition overtakes them both.
The previous book in this series was Gregory’s debut and it doesn’t diminish the fact that it was an incredibly risky subject to deal with as a debut into the world of fiction. I read the first book quite a while ago (long before this blog existed, anyway…) and found it quite shocking and mercilessly dark in nature.
It is almost like being pushed through a maze in the dark with little to no clue where you are headed. This book was well written enough even though I wish the villain had got his comeuppance far earlier. He was incredibly manipulative and with no redeeming qualities about him, even though at his core there was certainly a lot of insecurity but that was long-buried by the time the book reached its final chapters. The book could have been a lot shorter than it was (at around 600 pages long) because for the most part it just sounded like Julia, the female protagonist, had some form of Stockholm syndrome and always justified Richard’s cruelty towards her.
It is also very disturbing how she learns to lie down and take his abuse. She even blames herself when he rapes her, which is ideologically problematic at the very least. The mind games he plays with her are disturbing and there were times when it got too much.
In this book and in the previous one, gluttonous delight is taken in the misery of others. Nobody can be happy. Everyone is either miserable or dead. There is of course a third book in this series but I don’t think I’ll be thundering to the finish post to read it.
MY RATING: ***.5 / *****