I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Snakes by Sadie Jones. Huge thanks to Anne Cater for the invite and the review copy of the book.
A new captivating modern classic by Sadie Jones – a morality tale about human nature, money, power and unhappy families.
Bea and Dan, recently married, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic.
When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping.
Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its rotten core, and now neither Bea nor Alex can escape…
The Snakes is a gripping and intensely dark book that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I finished it. Now I love a dysfunctional family as much as the next person but the people I met in The Snakes took dysfunctional so far to the next level that that level hasn’t even been invented yet! A more unlikeable bunch of characters you will struggle to meet this year although by the end I did feel more of a kinship with Bea and quite liked her.
This is a book about money and how we all have very different perspectives on life depending how much cash you actually have. Dan and Bea are newlyweds living in a small flat and watching the pennies. When Dan decides he wants to travel, they rent out their flat and buy a cheap runaround car that they hope will take them all around Europe. Part of their plan involves going to stay with Bea’s brother Alex who runs a hotel in France. But when they arrive they find Alex to be agitated and acting strangely and the hotel empty. There was an incredibly creepy atmosphere surrounding the hotel with its guest book full of fake guests, it’s rooms named after The Seven Deadly Sins and snakes in the attic. But it’s when Bea’s incredibly wealthy parents turn up that things start to get very uncomfortable indeed.
Bea and Dan had very different attitudes to her family. She wanted to make her own way in life financially and was rather a martyr to her cause, which was deeply rooted in her past. Dan though couldn’t see the problem with taking what was offered by her father if it made their life simpler. I do know that arguments about money (what with it being the root of all evil and all that!) are one of the biggest causes of marital breakups and it’s easy to see why a young couple from differing backgrounds would struggle with this.
About 2/3 of the way through, the book took a very different turn to the one I had been expecting and became a more traditional thriller in style but it did not prepare me for that ending!! And that’s all I want to say about that!
The Snakes is a tightly controlled, atmospheric and uncomfortable read that challenges and stretches opinions. I couldn’t put it down. And I’m not surprised that it’s been chosen for the Richard and Judy Spring Reads list-a well deserved place!
The Snakes by Sadie Jones is out now.
SADIE JONES is a screenwriter and a #1 Sunday Times bestselling author. Her first novel, The Outcast won the Costa First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. It was also a Richard and Judy Summer Reads number one bestseller and adapted for BBC Television. Sadie also wrote: Small Wars (2009), The Uninvited Guests (2012) and Fallout (2014). Her fifth novel, The Snakes, was listed as ‘March book of the month’ in The Bookseller.