"Ignoring Gravity" Sandra Danby
"I've been surrounded by lies all my life, who can you trust if your parents lie to you?"
Meet Rose; confident, self assured, grounded and a woman who knows who she is. Except she doesn't. While clearing out her mother's belongings following her death, Rose comes across her mum's diaries. At first she enjoys reading the extracts, entertained by her mum's young voice which is so different from the adult character Rose knew and loved. But, as she reads on she discovers a deep secret. Rose is adopted. All that she thought was true is in fact a lie.
Rose, a journalist, sets out to uncover the truth about her family in a very practical manner as if it was a research project from work. She is methodical and thorough even when what she uncovers is confusing and upsetting. The reader is with her every step of the way.
Rose can be quite sharp and caustic at times which reflects her trauma from not discovering that she is adopted until she is an adult. She feels deceived and let down by her family. It affects her relationship with her father and her sister. She has to deal with her bitterness and jealousy:"If I was so special, why have you never told me?"
I liked her references to literature as she tried to come to terms with her past:
"Reading Harry Potter made two things clear. First don't believe everything people tell you about your parents. Second, never trust your initial assumptions."
The revelations affect everyone close to Rose and Danby's story has several twists and turns. As Rose's friend observes, "You've really unleashed the genie haven't you?" As more secrets and revelations present themselves, Rose struggles to come to terms with the truth she is uncovering.
Alongside this thread is another storyline concerning Rose's sister, Lily, who is desperate for a baby. The book explores her heartbreak, hopefulness and roller coaster of emotions as she tries to work out why she is having so much trouble conceiving. The suggestion that it might be heredity again reflects Danby's interest in families, inheritance, nature v nurture and the importance of knowing where you come from and where you belong.
This is a book which deals with a lot of complex, sensitive emotional issues. As well as topics such as pregnancy, menopause and adoption, it also includes themes of jealousy, rivalry, obsession and love. Danby must have spent a great deal of time researching both main plot lines to be able to explain adoption and infertility in the depth and detail that she does.
Danby plans to continue the story introduced in "Ignoring Gravity", featuring Rose as an "Identity Detective". I think her writing will become stronger as her series progresses. In this novel, both Lily and Rose are very obsessive in their quests which at times, for me, became a little overwhelming. I think this book will definitely appeal to anyone who has experienced adoption or enjoys novels about family issues. The reviews on Goodreads are very impressive with an array of 5* ratings.
Thank you so much to Sandra Danby for sending me a copy of her novel in return for a fair and honest review. I wish her all the luck with the second instalment her series and the continuing story of Rose.
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