Sunday, 12 June 2016

Perfect Family by H Lovelyn Bettison

Sadie always wanted the perfect family: a husband, a son, a dog, a house in the suburbs. For a little while she had it all. Then after an accident one afternoon, her son starts acting oddly and displaying strange new abilities. His new behavior threatens to bring to light a secret that she's been keeping for years. Will she be able to hold her family together or will the truth tear them apart?
Goodreads description 

I enjoyed this novella by a fellow member of the Magic Realism Facebook Group. In another writer's hands the plot could so easily have become somewhat hackneyed horror or sci-fi but Bettison chose to take the lighter, more nuanced magic realism route, which of course I prefered.

It is difficult to write about the story without giving away the plot twists that the author has expertly woven into the novella. The story is in someways a variation on the changeling child archetype, which has appeared in folk and fairy tales since time immemorial.

As this is a novella, inevitably the characterization is not as developed as it would be in a full-length novel. I would have liked to have known more of the central character's backstory. Why makes Sadie so desperately need to be a mother? Why does she find it impossible to talk to her husband about her secret? Although in the resolution Sadie is said to have resolved this, without the backstory it is hard to understand why.

Although the final scene was pure magic realism, I did not see it coming and found it moving and enchanting. A lovely little book.

I received this book free from the author in return for a fair review.

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