Bone Deep seeps right into you, imbuing the reader with an inescapable sense of growing unease as local legend is told, more recent secrets are revealed and women unravel.
What happens when you fall in love with the wrong person?
The consequences threaten to be far-reaching and potentially deadly. Bone Deep is a contemporary novel of sibling rivalry, love, betrayal and murder. It is a dual narrative, told in alternative chapters by Mac, a woman bent on keeping the secrets of the past from her only son, and the enigmatic Lucie, whose own past is something of a closed book. Their story is underpinned by the creaking presence of an abandoned water mill, and haunted by the local legend of two long-dead sisters, themselves rivals in love, and ready to point an accusing finger from the pages of history.
Sandra Ireland made me feel for Lucie: she’s in the wrong but also effectively in exile for it, a banished damsel-in-distress, in astonishing denial about her situation, which becomes apparent to the reader and Mac long before she acknowledges it. And yet Lucie’s slightly more fathomable behaviour still manages to throw Mac’s into sharp relief.
While Mac’s secrets are not overly surprising, its her actions that are shocking and made my blood run cold. That she doesn’t find them disturbing reveals the toll they’ve taken on her and it’s fascinating to watch this woman unravel before us on the page. Are her only son’s fears about to be confirmed, or is she simply becoming consumed by her work and finding it increasingly difficult to separate fantasy from reality? Or is something altogether more sinister happening here?
I was as desperate as Lucie that Mac kept writing the sisters’ legend. It adds another dimension, making you wonder if it’s holding up a mythical mirror to the modern storylines, dooming these characters to repeat history, or whether their stories will diverge.
Sandra Ireland’s descriptive writing immersed me in Bone Deep’s world until I felt the damp in Lucie’s cottage and the draughts in Mac’s study, could feel the rumble of the mill grinding to life and *almost* taste Arthur’s pastries. Recommended reading.
Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland is published by Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn Limited. It is available as an ebook and in paperback. You can find it at Amazon UK, Foyles, Hive (supporting your local independent bookshop), Waterstones and Wordery. You can find out more about Sandra Ireland and her books by visiting her Author Website, or you can follow her on Twitter.
My thanks to the publisher and Lovereading UK for sending me a proof copy for review. This review also appears on the Lovereading UK website here.