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Author – Eliza Robertson

Publisher – Bloomsbury

Genre – Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Source – Publisher

Rating – 3/5 StarsSummary – It is 1950, and nine-year-old Willa’s sheltered childhood is about to come to an end when her two new stepbrothers arrive at her family’s summer home in British Columbia. As Willa’s older sister pairs off with the older of these boys, Willa finds herself alone in the off-kilter company of the younger, Patrick. When, one afternoon, Patrick lures Willa into a dilapidated rowboat, Willa embarks upon an increasingly damaging relationship with Patrick, one that will forever reconfigure her understanding of herself and her place in a menacing, male-dominated world.


What do you say about a book that made you so severely uncomfortable that you felt the need to shut it because you suspected people saw your discomfort. They did. Especially when I was on the flight. I cannot fathom how Eliza Roberson wrote this book without feeling disturbed but she did. And damn that definitely requires some applause. The story is about two sisters and their mother (and an undermentioned brother) who start an affair with their “step brothers” and it doesn’t end well. The story takes us through each interaction of Willa and Patrick, all of them spaced sporadically in their lives. And each one taking things more significantly forward.


The author has a rather interesting way of telling us what’s happening in their lives. Willa isn’t the pretty sister, Joan is. But Willa is good looking in a vulnerable way and that is what seems to have gotten Patrick’s attention.

The writing style won’t be something that everyone likes. She has attempted to create her own style, a disconnected way of writing while avoiding quotes making it a bit hard at first to figure out which is speech and which is thought but around 50 pages in you get used to it. I barely noticed it after that.

Willa as a character isn’t very impressive. She’s a weakling who just allows things to happen to her and that makes it a bit more intense since she never actually says no but always feels weird after. It’s almost like she’s doing what she thinks she’s supposed to do rather than what she wants to do. I did like that choice since so many of us are pressured or conditioned to be this way.


I did not think the actual conclusion warranted themention on the back cover. It says on my copy that when she tries to turn the tables around things go horrible wrong. But the way it was portrayed made me expect something like My Absolute Darling. But this was very underwhelming in comparison to that. I will still keep this book out for a re-read but I don’t think I would recommend going by the back cover.


I would definitely recommend this but not to someone who likes My Absolute Darling. This book sounded like that and I just had to read it because I expected something as dark and impressive. But the relationship isn’t as intense as the synopsis portrays and that was like going to watch a slasher film and seeing only one person get slaughtered really badly. No I’m not saying it wasn’t shocking, it was, but it didn’t feel like it was meant for anything else but shock. You know?