Candice: Phil and I always like to do some research on the people we are going to interview so a few weeks ago I bought Cuckoo and Every vow you break by Julia Crouch. He got Cuckoo, I got Every Vow.
Getting together a week later I asked how he was getting on with the book, “I dont really like it, I have to admit.” I was surprised as I was really enjoying mine, but wondered if it was a girl/boy thing.
Every Vow is about a family who have moved to Upstate New York for a summer as the father is an actor in a play. Bringing with them two teenagers, a small child and the memories of an unwanted baby just recently terminated, the message at the start is this family is not in a good way. The house they are to stay in is dirty, the father Marcus is only interested in his career, leaving his wife Lara to pick up the pieces, entertain the children and try and find something to do in a town that is more of a ghost town.
Lara stumbles on a secret, Stephen, the once love of her life and now Hollywood actor, is holed up in the town to escape a stalker. No one is supposed to know where he is so she and her brood spend their days in his amazing home, while Marcus gets further and further away in the pursuit of his dwindling acting career.
The story twists and turns as things start to happen to the family: clothes get taken from the laundrette, they find out the house they are staying in has a dark secret and Lara begins to pull away from her husband.
I wont give away the ending but I thought it was clever and obvious but not obvious.
To book tackles some hard topics: abortion, the realisation that you may have married the wrong man, murder and even incest. Though that last item is only touched on as it means that Olly, the teenage son, is in the right place at the right time to protect his twin sister, Bella, I would have like to have seen it explored more as I think its unfair poor Bella has to hide that horrible secret.
Having now read Cuckoo, I can see what Phil means. Though in the same style, Cuckoo is a harder book to read as the characters are all unlikeable. In Every Vow I wanted Lara to get out of this stuffy marriage and her situation, where as in Cuckoo I couldnt understand why the main female character would put up with an overbearing husband and controlling friend. I can also see why they might be more ‘female’ books as both protagonists are very led by their children (something neither he not I understand) and particularly in Cuckoo the baby seems to be the centre of the universe.
Cuckoo was Julia’s first book, Every Vow her second. Perhaps this is showing how her writing has developed from book 1 to 2 as she has made the characters more rounded and put a bit of heart into book 2.
Though we are well on our way to getting the Novel back out there, and would like to think its a well written piece, I think this is the case with all writers. The more you write, the more developed your style becomes. Just thinking back to the Harry Potter books, the first two or three are slim, more child friendly novels, and then they get more heavily plotted and thicker as JK’s style develops.
By the time we get to book seven it will be Booker prize winning….. or just a really good holiday read!