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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

The Woman Who Wrote in In Green Ink (Author: Sheena Billett)

The Woman Who Wrote in Green Ink - Sheena Billett

Page Turner, Engaging, Entertaining

Genre: Family Drama/Contemporary Fiction/Mystery

The Woman Who Wrote Ink Green Ink By Sheena Billett

I was excited & honoured to be asked to read this novel prior to it's publication. I do enjoy a good family drama, and having so many different narratives occurring in one story made it a really entertaining, comprehensive read.

Having four different areas of the main character's life, giving different threads to follow within the novel, kept it fresh and enjoyable, introducing the reader to a wide variety of characters.

Amber's boys are typical of any couple of teenagers within any family that I know of; One who is on the wild side (generally as in this case, the elder of the two) and the other who behaves himself & tows the line as he hasn't yet reached the age of testing the parental boundaries to see how far they'll stretch. Her husband, a workaholic, only interested in what he can get out of people, he handles every situation in an unemotional perfunctory fashion as if his family were assets rather than loved ones, which made me sad for Amber and her boys, who seemed to be living in a pressure cooker, constantly feeling that they needed to ensure that nothing riled the man of the house.

Amber quite understandably grows tired of having to maintain this façade. The cloud under which the three of them are living, the emotional turmoil and the pressure that the boys feel to prevent their impulsive mother from doing anything that might upset their father, but also Amber's anxiety and the feeling that she is being torn between her search for the truth and doing what she perceives to be the right thing, together with keeping the peace in the family and not upsetting the boy's fragile young lives, is tangible. I really felt for her. It is very clear that the only thing of importance to Cam, is making money and his reputation.

The two major twists involving Peter and David, I picked up on fairly early on, but then having read so many books in recent months, I think my brain is used to looking for these cleverly inventive curveballs. I don't necessarily think that they would be obvious to everyone. All threads within the narrative were very skillfully contrived, knitting together characters from all scenarios whilst still allowing them their own limelight.

I felt glad for Amber to be working with such a lovely bunch of people. Her 'work family' in the charity shop all had such individual personalities. I was able to apply mental images to all of them so definitively & clearly due to the emotiveness of the writing, however, this is true of all of Sheena's characters in her two novels. They were so supportive of a colleague who was clearly dear to them. The plot twist in this particular harmonious corner was most unexpected, it shocked & made me feel very upset for Amber & the others. I felt that they had lost their figurehead & mainstay. However, I felt Vee was a fitting replacement.

The scene where Helen meets Amber at Theresa's grave was a heart warming way in which to finish the story & lay her tortured soul to rest.

Another impressively well constructed read from Sheena. At times heart-warming, sometimes heart-breaking and at it's heart compassion & empathy for a woman from the past, represented only by words on a page.

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