Published by Polygon on July 5 2018
Genres: Mystery, Crime
What happens when you fall in love with the wrong person?
The consequences threaten to be far-reaching and potentially deadly. Bone Deep is a contemporary novel of sibling rivalry, love, betrayal and murder. It is a dual narrative, told in alternative chapters by Mac, a woman bent on keeping the secrets of the past from her only son, and the enigmatic Lucie, whose own past is something of a closed book. Their story is underpinned by the creaking presence of an abandoned water mill, and haunted by the local legend of two long-dead sisters, themselves rivals in love, and ready to point an accusing finger from the pages of history.
Wow, this book is powerful. A constant reminder that through the ages to own your mistakes. This book has left me breathless and will take a while to sink in, as some elements were unsettling but what a story.
We are guided by alternating chapters of Lucie, a girl who has left behind her family and her life to become a PA of sorts to Mac. Mac, a retired historian who has a story to tell, “The Cruel Sisters”, both women have secrets to hide, slowly being revealed to us by the medium of a story. Mac is writing a story about two sisters and the treachery that unfolds between them, Lucie is typing this story up. We have three different stories of love and heartbreak being told throughout the book, Lucie, Mac and the sisters, all woven together fully blurring reality with folklore.
I loved seeing the characters through each other’s eyes. Lucie, to Mac, was a sullen teenager, she was always cold and short towards people and not letting them in. Mac, to Lucie, was slowly becoming unhinged and was brisk and rude. Then when you read their chapters you begin to learn why they are the way they are, and to be honest I felt for both of them in certain aspects of their lives, both affected by love and heartbreak but on different parts of the spectrum to each other, mirror images of each other. The theme of guilt, trust and deceit resonate through this book, so there was only so much you could empathise with Lucie and Mac, but in the scenes, you were meant to I certainly did.
This really was a slow burner of a story, but the short snappy chapters alternating between Lucie and Mac had me turning pages over quickly. I had no idea where they were leading me or to be honest what the story would be completely about.
The climax in the book was intense and when the secrets were uncovered, you could guess some were coming but as they unfold it did leave you wanting to know more and to find out how unhinged someone really was. The ambiguous ending definitely played on the folklore of the Cruel Sisters and has left it very open-ended.
I have been really vague because to divulge any little detail could ruin this tale for you, and I went in reading this blind. By doing so I was folklore absorbed in the writing and storytelling, it was immensely powerful.
*Thank you so much to Kelly at Love Book Group, Polygon Books and the author Sandra Ireland for a copy of this book in return for my honest and unbiased review*
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges: