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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

This Much is True by Jane Sanderson

About This Much is True

After decades in a deeply unhappy marriage, Annie Doyle can barely bring herself to care that her husband Vince is finally about to die.
But as the family gathers to see out his final days, Vince utters a single word that will change everyone's lives forever:
Who is Martha? And why is Annie so quick to dismiss the mention of her name?
As Annie's long-held secrets start to emerge, the lives of everyone she holds dear will be changed forever...

My Review of This Much is True

This Much is True is a story that I devoured in a few sittings. It is a tale of family, love and protecting everything that is most dear to you... at any cost. I loved this book, as it brought home to me the importance of family and friendship, as well as highlighting the strength and resilience of women. It was also an engaging and thought provoking read.

Annie Doyle is the narrator and protagonist of the story, it is her story, or rather her two stories that she shares with us. The Annie of the present day and, the Annie who she was when she first met her now husband, Vince. Both stories are fascinating, and it is as we learn about her past, that we come to understand why things are as they are in the present. We come to understand why she no longer loves Vince, so that the once cold appearing woman we meet at the beginning of the novel, is given perspective and meaning. We gradually understand why she acts and feels this way.

The book is full of wonderful characters, that I grew to know very well throughout the story. We meet the two sons, Michael and Andrew. Michael still lives at home with Annie and comes across a rude and dislikable character. However, through the chapters that describe Annie's past, we soon learn why he acts the way he does, and I thought that this part of the book was well written and well researched. In direct contrast, Andrew lives on the other side of the work, in Australia, with his wife and two young sons. He is the more likeable and caring of the two brothers, and there is certainly no love loss between them. The whole family dynamics between the brothers, plus Annie and Vince, fascinated me, as the way in which all families do. What was particularly fascinating was how they interacted with each other, and then, of how they all responded to the word, 'Martha' on Vince's deathbed. This is when the story really begins, as we watch how they all react to each other, and the resulting changes that are then set in motion between them.

This book is also about friendship, or rather lack of friendship, as Annie finds it difficult to confide in otters and to form friendships. It is through her dog, that she finds the friendship of two very different women, Josie and Sandra. Now, Josie I liked instantly, but Sandra took some getting used to, which just taught me that you need to really get to know someone before you judge them.

This book is very much about the ties that bind, the issue of making and keeping a family and ultimately a mother's love and the limits she will stretch to in order to keep her family together.

This Much is True is hugely enjoyable, with a wonderful twist at the end, that I never saw coming. If you love family dramas  and books that explore why people act the way they do, then this is the book for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Kindle edition is published by Orion on 20 April, paperback on 1 June. It is available for pre order on Amazon here.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy.

About the Author

Jane Sanderson was born in South Yorkshire. She studied English at Leicester University, then after graduating she became a journalist. After a series of jobs with local newspapers she joined the BBC where she worked as a producer for Radio 4, first on the World at One, and then on Woman's Hour. She lives with her husband, the Independent journalist and author Brian Viner, and their three children in rural Herefordshire.

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