Thursday, 20 July 2017

Isabella's Reading Corner: The Goddesses

The Goddesses
Author: Swan Huntley
Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Publisher: Doubleday/Random House

Nancy and her husband, Chuck relocate with their twin teenage boys to Hawaii. They move there in order to rediscover their love for one another after he cheats on her. To them Hawaii is paradise - a perfect location for their fresh start and to escape all the reminders of their previous unhappiness in San Diego. When they arrive it seems like they made the right decision. The beautiful and romantic landscape begins to have a positive effect on Nancy and Chuck's relationship which is slowly getting back on track. 

After spending the evening with some new friends, Nancy realises that they are living the same life she was unhappy with, but in a prettier setting. She decides to try something different and signs up for a yoga class. There she meets Ana, who appears to be open, honest and most importantly, has an almost instantaneous understanding of her. With the slow reveal of her family history and experiences, it is understandable why Nancy is drawn to Ana and how her attachment to her develops. 

The majority of the book revolves around the relationship between Nancy and Ana. The other characters are almost superfluous, which increases the feeling of claustrophobia between these two central figures. 

Huntley writes with a certain dreamlike quality that made me feel like I was immersed in Nancy's almost hypnotic state. I wanted to shake her and wake her up to the encroaching potential disaster I knew had to be coming. There is an undercurrent of creepiness throughout the story. The apprehension doesn't so much build as constantly simmers beneath the surface.

More domestic drama than suspense, The Goddesses is an interesting novel that questions what we choose to see in ourselves and others. It explores the boundaries of friendship and what one is willing to do to hold onto it.

Thank you to Random House for the eBook copy to review.

From the publisher:
When Nancy and her family arrive in Kona, Hawaii, they are desperate for a fresh start. Nancy's husband has cheated on her; they sleep in separate bedrooms and their twin sons have been acting out, setting off illegal fireworks. But Hawaii is paradise: they plant an orange tree in the yard; they share a bed once again and Nancy resolves to make a happy life for herself. She starts taking a yoga class and there she meets Ana, the charismatic teacher. Ana has short, black hair, a warm smile, and a hard-won wisdom that resonates deeply within Nancy. They are soon spending all their time together, sharing dinners, relaxing in Ana's hot tub, driving around Kona in the cute little car Ana helps Nancy buy. As Nancy grows closer and closer to Ana—skipping family dinners and leaving the twins to their own devices she feels a happiness and understanding unlike anything she's ever experienced, and she knows that she will do anything Ana asks of her. A mesmerizing story of friendship and manipulation set against the idyllic tropical world of the Big Island, The Goddesses is a stunning psychological novel by one of our most exciting young writers.

You can read my original Isabella's Reading Corner post on The Goddesses here.

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