Pros: Weird, shifting tale
Cons: Weird, shifting tale
Rating: 4 out of 5
Maureen Lindley’s The Beloveds focuses on Elizabeth, who feels mightily aggrieved. As far as she’s concerned her life has always gone wrong. Her younger sister Gloria appropriated both her date Henry (eventually marrying him!) and her bff Alice. Their mother left the family home to Gloria even though Elizabeth is the one who loves the place. She has wars with her neighbors, starts experimenting with poisons, and engages in frankly psychopathic behavior. It’s interesting how many books lately are concentrating on the psychos instead of their victims. It’s an odd change, and one I would have preferred to remain a rare niche rather than become a trend. I prefer main characters who are at least a little sympathetic, and it’s hard to find that in characters like Elizabeth. Lindley tries to make her understandable in some small ways, but for me it wasn’t enough.
There were too many spots where I’d try to imagine what’s coming next in the story and all I’d come up with was “Elizabeth will find yet another way to be a psycho.” It would have been nice to see a bit more coherent plotting than that. That said, without giving anything away I will say I liked the way the tale ended. I thought it was clever and interesting and hinted at more interesting things to come than most of the rest of the story did before it. Okay, so that last bit is also a bit of a minus. It seems like some of the same things that make the book good are also the things that make it not sit entirely well with me.
Still, I do love tales where someone’s devious nature results in plenty of thrilling twists and turns, so I did enjoy reading The Beloveds. Whether you’re likely to enjoy it depends on how sympathetic you want your main character to be.
NOTE: Book provided by publisher for review