Atria Books | 4 May 2021 | 384 pgs
Source: Library 

48-year-old Jennifer Barnes receives the most shocking news when she goes for her doctor’s appointment after a series of symptoms that's plagued her for months. She has glioblastoma - a brain cancer and that she has only six weeks left to live. The test result reported that there's a high dose of lead in her blood and that this may have already started a year ago as the tumor started to spread gradually. 

While Jennifer is reeling from the news, she's also curious about how the lead got into her body in the first place. She knew that plumbing that contains lead can contaminate water, or they could be leached into food or drinks as well. Jennifer could only suspect her husband because he's been pestering her for a divorce for a while and she didn't give in to his request. It isn't that she still has feelings for him, she's just angry that he has had an affair and he's leaving her for a much younger woman. 

Her adult triplets, on the other hand, took the news differently. Emily is the eldest and a fraternal triplet unlike Aline and Miranda. Emily has her own family and issues but she's willing to stand by her mother's side physically and emotionally. Aline and Miranda aren't close with their mother, but Aline agrees to look into the lead issue (she's in bio research field) and even the imprudent Miranda moves into Jennifer's house although one might wonder about her reason and think of her financial difficulties. But despite everything, the daughters feel that Jennifer is being paranoid in doubting their father, and this leads Jennifer wondering if her condition has worsened as she starts imagining things. Or is it not? 

I've read and enjoyed a few of Catherine McKenzie's previous novels so I was excited to read this latest book but regrettably I didn't feel the same thrill and excitement I'd had with her other books. To begin with, I didn't feel any connection with the characters. Perhaps they're all unlikeable characters, but still Jennifer's sensitive role didn't allow me to fully empathise with her either and I think it might be more or less to do with her voice in this story. While I understand this is more of a domestic drama than a psychological thriller, I was fazed as well as saddened by the dynamics of this (dysfunctional) family. Unfortunately, I couldn't discuss the issue without spoiling the story but nevertheless, this still made an interesting read based on the identities and characteristics of the characters. Although this book isn't a favourite, I'd still look out for McKenzie's future releases. 
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12 Responses
  1. I totally agree with your review. I just didn't care about the characters.

  2. Melody Says:

    Diane - I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who feel this way. 🙃

  3. Kay Says:

    I read this one in late May and sadly, I remember almost nothing about it. It was a crazy busy time, but still...I think it was one that I finished and said - good, on to the next - ha!

  4. Lark Says:

    I'm sorry this one wasn't better. I'll definitely be passing on this one.

  5. jenclair Says:

    Catherine McKenzie books have been mixed for me. A couple I really liked, and others not so much. I'll give this one a miss.

  6. Melody Says:

    Kay - I hope her next book will be better. Well, there's always a hit-or-miss, isn't it? ;)

  7. Melody Says:

    Lark - Books about dysfunctional family is always hard to read, but some are intriguing while some are not. This book is more on a character's issue that will affect the family thereafter.

  8. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Totally agree with you there. Hopefully her next book will be better.

  9. McKenzie's books are hit and miss for me and I am sad this one disappointed you, Melody. Hopefully you will enjoy her next one if you pick it up.

  10. Iliana Says:

    I'm not so sure about wanting to read this one due to the character facing such a devastating prognosis even though I do enjoy family dramas/thrillers. Maybe I'll look for others by this author instead!

  11. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I'm definitely curious what she'll be writing next and I hope we won't have to wait for long for her next release.

  12. Melody Says:

    Iliana - It was always hard reading about illnesses in a family; all the more if they're of a dysfunctional family. I wouldn't pick this up if not because of the author's name on it.

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