Book review: Eloise by Judy Finnegan.
I have to tell you that I really didn’t want to read this book. I was so wrong and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
It’s a fascinating book with twists and turns in the plot and features beautifully crafted characters.
Not only that, it’s set in the wild and beautiful county of Cornwall, an area as mystical and threatening as it is picturesque.
Cathy is a middle-aged married woman. Her husband Chris is an eminent psychiatrist and they have homes in London and Cornwall. The couple have three children who are more or less grown up – the youngest, a daughter, is sixteen.
One of the reasons I was initially dubious about this book is because Cathy is suffering from depression; she had suffered a breakdown in the year before the time in which the book is set.
Just to add another gloomy element, her best friend,Eloise, has recently died of breast cancer leaving behind a husband, five year old twin girls and her grieving mother, Juliana.
It sounds terribly depressing, doesn’t it?
But it truly isn’t. It’s a mild thriller but it’s also a story about human nature, secrets, family ties and they way that we all see things in different ways. Cathy arrives at the truth by her own means.
Cathy and Eloise, and their two families, had spent many happy hours together in Cornwall. Of course, Cathy misses her friend badly. But after the funeral, she begins to feel that Eloise is still with her and desperately asking for help.
Cathy believes that Eloise is telling her that the latter’s two little girls are in terrible danger and only Cathy can help. Cathy’s husband Chris, the sensible psychiatrist, is convinced that this is symptomatic of Cathy’s state of mind and that she is heading for another breakdown. Who is right? Or does one of them have to be right? Don’t people arrive at conclusions by different means?
This situation is putting a severe strain on their marriage. They are still deeply in love but the pragmatic psychiatrist believes his wife is being selfish and focussing only on herself. Cathy believes that Chris is being totally insensitive and uncaring. Chris becomes convinced that the only way to ‘cure’ Cathy of her ‘obsession’ is to sell their Cornish home. Yet this is the one place Cathy feels secure. It’s also where she needs to be to do what she considers to be her duty – protecting Eloise’s little girls.
The situation becomes more bizarre.
A local elderly lady sees Eloise. The old lady has been ill herself and doesn’t know that Eloise had succumbed to her cancer. She wondered why Eloise didn’t speak to her. Was it Eloise’s ghost? The local priest tells Cathy that he believes Eloise’s spirit is possessed. Eloise’s widower’s behaviour is becoming increasingly unstable and Cathy fears for the twin girls. Juliana, Eloise’s mother, reveals secrets from Eloise’s past – could this be the key to what’s going on?
Then a beautiful teenage boy arrives in the area – a stranger. Cathy can’t shake off the feeling that she knows him.
Even odder, he is staying with Eloise’s mother. Who is he?
Trust me, pay no attention to the Amazon reviewers who describe Cathy as a ‘weak woman’. They just don’t get it. 😉
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