“I put nine years of experience, the NHS and John Lewis’ nursery department between my baby and the dangerous wilds of the Serengeti”
In Lupton’s latest (I loved Sister but had issues with the resolution), Grace Covey wakes up in hospital disassociated from her body. As she revisits her memories of how she got there, teaming up with her similarly badly injured and disassociated daughter, the criminal behind a terrible deed is slowly revealed.
I found the start fairly slow going, because I struggled with the narrative construct of disassociated spirits. Once I got used to that, I was completely engrossed – there was such a long suspect list for the arson but no one really seemed to have enough of a motive. The bad guy, when eventually revealed, was totally unexpected.
One of the reasons I loved Sister was because Lupton clearly understood sisterhood; the protectiveness of an older sister, the gentle loyalty of a younger one. Afterwards focuses on motherhood; I can’t comment as to Lupton’s ability to put her finger on what’s special about it, but I liked that as Bee was in Sister, Grace is plain and normal and a little jealous of the Shiny Mummies who turn up with their blow-dried hair. She worries about how much time her daughter spends on Facebook, and she’s a bit cagey about her sister-in-law.
Every now and again the writing was over-ambitious; there was a grab for the “literary fiction” section of the bookshop incongruous with the simple family setting of the tale. A little inconsistency and the initially off-putting narrative structure are really the only ways I can fault this excellent follow-up novel.