You can never go back – but can you forgive?
The move to Tasmania was a fresh start for Finn and Bridget Brennan, and their sons, Jarrah and Toby. It was meant to be a chance for Finn and Bridget to work on their marriage, a great career opportunity for Bridget and a fresh school for Jarrah, with the possibility of increasing demand for Finn’s art. Murwillumbah offered hope.
Then in one busy, inattentive moment tragedy strikes.
Nobody knows how it happened. In an instant their family is shattered. The surprise arrival that had invigorated their family and brought them together is gone. Each surviving member orbits into their own grief. As they react their decisions could threaten the fragile bonds that remain.
There are external dangers too. Outside the grieving family, others are after justice. The regulations for pool safety have recently been changed and the local authorities are set to make an example of this case. Lies told to protect loved ones could be used against them.
Can their family survive the accusations from without and from within?
The story is told from the perspective of the surviving family members, through alternating viewpoint. This technique skillfully builds the story, allowing the three characters to be developed and their journey through grief revealed. There is an interesting contrast between the way the adults shut down in their grief, whilst their teenage son faces a significant learning curve as he is propelled from the safety of childhood into the uncertainty of the adult world.
The one disadvantage in the alternating viewpoint is Blackadder’s decision to use a different point of view for each character. I found it confronting that Bridget’s story was written in the second person point of view. I felt like the story was being thrust upon me. It was more comfortable to read the narrative’s that were written in first person and third person.
Despite this technicality, I enjoyed the story. The characters are genuine and their journey realistic. The details described, transport the reader into the Brennans’ world. The plot is well paced with plenty of surprises and a satisfying trajectory.