Monday, 7 December 2020

NetGalley Blog Tour - The Cousins

BLOG TOUR TIME! And yes, it’s a review-type post. I know, I normally stay away from these kinda tours in case I read the book and hate its guts, but when this title popped up, I couldn’t resist trying this author. I mean, you guys LOVE Karen M. McManus thrillers, especially One of Us Is Lying and Two Can Keep A Secret. So, of course, I was curious and suffering a little FOMO. But The Cousins catch my eye and demanded my attention. And who am I to refuse a book’s siren call?

Title And Author: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Penguin
Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/write-up for blog tour (hosted by The Write Reads)
Length: 336 Pages

The Story family are the envy of their neighbours: owners of the largest property on the East Coast island, rich, beautiful, closely knit. Till one day, the four children all suddenly get disowned by their mother with a letter containing five words: You know what you did.

Years pass and when cousins Aubrey, Milly and Jonah Story receive mysterious innovations to spend the summer at the their grandmother, they feel like they have no choice but to go, in the vain hope of healing the diverted family. But when they get to the island, they get the strong impression that their grandmother didn’t invite them… 

The teens are determined to figure out what happened to rip their family apart and the truth behind those five words. But every Story has a secret…

As I told you, this is my Karen McManus thriller and, before I go any further, I want to say I read this is early November during England’s second lockdown (though I was still working as I couldn’t work from home) so I could only read in snatches before I left for work in the morning so my reading of this might be a tad different to everyone’s else. But, the best way to describe this is a soapy beach thriller, something you can easy binge-read or, if adapted for TV, can watch in one sitting (which makes sense as One of Us is Lying is being adapted for US streaming service, Peacock). 

This is a tad slower compared to thrillers I normally read, but we get tiny drips of secrets and truths, not only from the three teens but from the Story family as a whole and, when the truths come out, they come out crashing. 

Also, we have four POVs: Milly, Aubrey, Jonah and a time-jump of Milly’s mother the summer before the family got disinherited. These were balanced quite well, though I am going to admit I found myself enjoying reading Aubrey’s and Milly’s mothers POVs as I found them more engaging with character development and mystery than Milly and Jonah. But all four POVs worked together to slowly reveal the truth. 

I do want to say that this does have some triggers in here (sorry for leaving it so late in write-up). Dementia, miscarriage, alcoholism, violences and, of course, murder. Now, most of these I felt were handled really well, but there were one or two times I read a paragraph linking to a trauma and I would go “Huh” over how it was handled. At times, I wish these were handled with a tad more punch rather than a sugary soap opera (like I said, I read most of this book in quick ten minute blasts so I might have completely misread the chapters. Each reader will read this book differently and, with everything happening in the world the past few months, I am leaning more to the fun side of stories). 

But the heart of this book is family trauma and grief. How one incident can effect a family, not just in the short term, but for generations to come. And that I found fascinating and that, to me, was the main hook. Yes, I wanted to know about You know what you did, but seeing the fallout and repercussions of a mysterious event and discovering what this event was. That was my hook. 

I really liked the ending where all the truths came out and the level of almost Shondaland crazy drama twists came. It reminded me of Rebecca, though I can’t explain why. 

Once I found my step with this book (again, ten minutes reading here and there), I enjoyed the escapism of this and I am very intrigued to try another (Two Can Keep A Secret calls to me - though I should try One of Us Is Lying, right?). But a good starting point if you are new of Karen and a great mystery to read over Christmas. 

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