Holly Seddon is best known for her debut novel Try Not to Breathe, which I very much enjoyed (giving it four stars), though I note I also gave her second book, Don’t Close Your Eyes, four stars as well. So, Seddon is consistent. As am I, though realise my role here is far easier than the months/years Seddon would have toiled over these books!
Love Will Tear Us Apart
by Holly Seddon
Published by Atlantic
on June 27th 2018
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction, Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 1786490528, 9781786490520
Fearing eternal singledom, childhood friends Kate and Paul make the age-old vow that if they don't find love by thirty, they will marry each other.
Years later, with the deadline of their 30th birthdays approaching, the unlikely couple decide to keep their teenage promise. After all, they are such good friends. Surely that's enough to make a marriage?
Now, on the eve of their 10th wedding anniversary, they will discover that love between men and women is more complex, and more precarious, than they could ever have imagined. As Kate struggles with a secret that reaches far into their past, will the couple's vow become the very thing that threatens their future?
It takes a long time for the book to get to the part in Kate and Paul’s history where they agree to marrying the other when they reach 30 so it’s a good thing the backcover blurb has explained how they came to marry. It means we understand the pair have a sense that the other is there (in the relationship) by default, rather than by choice.
The family’s heading on a week-long holiday celebrating their 10yr marriage anniversary when we meet them and there’s a strong sense that something’s afoot. Nothing bad or menacing, but both Kate and Paul are on edge and even their oldest child Harry, seems to sense it.
We soon learn that Kate’s keen to confront Paul with a letter she’s received or found, though we’re not told what’s in it or who it’s from.
Seddon flicks us back and forth in time. We’re privy to Kate and Paul’s first meeting and growing friendship. To Kate’s envy of Paul’s relationship with his parents, compared to her very privileged, but very lonely life. Paul’s family becomes hers in essence and – fortunately – her parents seem to care little, though she later learns that things were more complex than she’d realised.
We move through Kate and Paul’s lives – high school and college – and through their various relationships. Their friendship is tested at times: by others’ involvement and by their own hand on occasions. And – more than anything – it’s obvious both remain impacted by the legacy of their childhoods.
Kate’s vaguely resentful throughout the novel – happy to be a mother, but still searching for a purpose and we learn she’s dipped into a range of hobbies and business ideas since leaving the workforce – and an industry where Paul remains and (in fact) thrives.
When I was uploading the information about this book to the site I had to decide what ‘genre’ it was. General / Women’s Fiction is obvious, but I found myself adding ‘romantic suspense’ because, although our characters aren’t at any risk or in any danger, there’s a sense of uncertainty. And dread, rather than menace.
And we eventually get to the secret…. the crisis (or series of events) leading Kate and Paul to become the people we meet here.
And again, there’s another climax that confronts the couple – individually and collectively.
I very much enjoyed this book by Seddon. It won’t surprise many regular readers of my reviews to know I read it in a sitting. There’s a strong sense of regret – particularly around the keeping of secrets or perhaps, the lack of honesty and fear of its repercussions.
Love Will Tear Us Apart by Holly Seddon was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and available now.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.