Kelly, Erin - 'The Poison Tree'
The story starts with Karen, the single mother of Alice, a precocious child, as they drive home after picking up Rex from prison. Rex has spent the last ten years serving a sentence for manslaughter. Karen is determined that they will learn to be a family and put everything behind them, but secrets have a way of coming back and have to be faced.
Ten years earlier Karen was a young woman living a very unexceptional but restricted life. A straight-A student with an exceptional talent for languages, she takes the path of least resistance that her parents, friends and teachers plan for her. Until she meets Biba, a young aspiring actress, at which point Karen is quickly swept up in a bohemian, exciting lifestyle and moves into the ruined house that Biba and her brother Rex occupy.
At the end of the long hot summer, two people have lost their lives and Karen's life is changed for ever.
This is a first novel which I greatly enjoyed reading. I experienced difficulty in putting it down and read it in one day. I felt engaged with all the characters which are written in such a way that they appear of the page as rounded individuals that I almost recognise in people I have met in the past.
I hope Erin Kelly is working on her next novel – I can't wait. A fantastic debut.
Read another review of THE POISON TREE.
Susan White, England