I liked the book BUT I really feel like it needed some edits. First edit is the length-very wordy and descriptive, which some people will find is not bothersome, me on the other hand, not one of them.
The chapters in my book, which was an ARC, were not past – present So sometimes that was a little annoying. Ruth’s character when younger was enjoyable but with some edits could have been better. It was not clear what her likes/dislikes were that one summer. I dont want to spoil anything. Trying to photograph and recreate Ophelia was really weird for me in the 70’s. I couldn’t get behind that odd part.
As for the family, they were likable and very normal. Married and a stay at home mom was not what Ruth wanted deep down. Not very much angst in that aspect of the story.
’I have run from that summer, tried to forget its hazy pleasures and its tragedies, how it ended, how things fell apart. I have trusted the years to fade my memories and destroyed those photographs, never to be looked at again.’’
Ruth’s daughter Maeve, who had cancer, now recovered and I think she was the best character. Trying to navigate health and no more hovering was her thorn. When Ruth’s college friend Stuart comes to stay for the summer, Alex – Ruth’s husband seems happy to reunite and catch up.
What I liked was the slight taboo relationship between Maeve and Stuart. It was written poorly and could have been beautiful with some edits. An older man accepting of her flaws from cancer and so on.
Overall it was good. With the publisher’s price, I am not sure I would pay that much for a kindle book, which saddens me. Jane Healey, in my opinion is solid and has some beautiful descriptions.
Thank you to netgalley and publisher for providing an advanced e-copy in exchange for my review.
Jane Healey studied English Literature at Warwick University and writing in the MFA program at CUNY Brooklyn College. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize, the Costa Short Story Award and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
The Ophelia Girls is her second novel. Her first, The Animals at Lockwood Manor, was published in 2020 and won the HWA Debut Crown Award.
She lives in Edinburgh.