Cousins by Salley Vickers reviewed

Cousins Book Cover Cousins
Salley Vickers
03 November, 2016

How much can love ask of us?

Brilliant and mercurial Will Tye suffers a life changing accident. The terrible event ripples through three generations of the complex and eccentric Tye family, bringing to light old tragedies and dangerous secrets. Each member of the family holds some clue to the chain of events which may have led to the accident and each holds themselves to blame. Most closely affected is Will's cousin Cecelia, whose affinity with Will leaves her most vulnerable to his suffering and whose own life is for ever changed by how she will respond to it.

Told through the eyes of three women close to Will, his sister, his grandmother and his aunt, Cousins is a novel weaving darkness and light which takes us from the outbreak of World War Two to the present day, exploring the recurrence of tragedy, the nature of trangression, and the limits of morality and love.

Cousins by Salley Vickers is about the lives of a family. The main focus of the story is Will. At the start of the book we learn he is in hospital after a serious accident. Initially the narrator is Hetta (Will’s sister) and we start to discover something of the general family dynamics. Other than Will’s immediate family we are introduced to Bell, Will’s aunt, and Cele, Will’s cousin. After Hetta’s narrative of Will and her family we then get Betsy’s views. She is Will’s grandmother. I actually found Betsy’s voice more readable and interesting personally. This may be partly due to the eras covered I guess. We then hear about the family from Bell’s perspective and the narrator continues to change to another member of the family.

I found this easy enough to read coming from an accomplished author whose work I really like. The characters are rich and vivid generally with interesting lives and insights into the family. I certainly enjoyed get to know the members of the family. I felt the overall idea for the story was very good. The parts I enjoyed I really loved. My reservation with this book is really the pace. At times I felt it was rather drawn out and that left me less involved/satisfied with the story. That said I thought the ending was definitely good although I guess I’d seen it coming to some degree.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review