George and Martha have things they’d rather keep hidden from each other: private thoughts, desires and secrets which, if discovered, could cause untold shame. But to an outsider they appear to have a happy, contented and conventional family life. At their twins’ Fred and Delilah’s twenty-first birthday party events conspire to uncover disturbing emotional connections, and threaten to reveal a past that has long been concealed. Soon after, a holiday designed to repair the damage exposes further rifts that could spread beyond the family and possibly change their futures forever. As a GP, Martha is used to helping her patients mend physically and mentally, but can she do the same for her husband and children, or will the ensuing damage leave wounds that will never heal?
I’ve been a huge fan of Elizabeth Forbes since reading her book The Nearest Thing To Crazy which has an almost cult status now due to word of mouth praise from members of TBC (THE Book Club on Facebook) and reviews by some of the best known book bloggers around! So I knew I wanted to read and review Shame, especially after seeing that amazing cover! The apple of temptation which has had a chunk bitten out of it, gives you a good idea of what’s to come between the pages of this family drama and what a gripping, character driven tale it is!
Martha and George are a hardworking couple going through what many couples of their age struggle with. Martha is a busy GP and George often travels for his business but even when he is at home, Martha feels he is more interested in walking the dog than spending quality time with her, especially when it comes to their sex life. They have grown up twins who are approaching 21 and it’s at the twins birthday celebration party that things for the Wilshire family start to unravel. There are secrets that George and Martha are keeping from each other and each of them are living with the daily shame that they feel from their hidden emotions. A holiday in Italy should be a relaxing break for them all but the untold truths can’t stay buried forever leading to some very shocking revelations for them all.
The cleverly crafted characters aren’t always likeable and they often act in ways that seem to be a little ill advised and irresponsible but that made this difficult situation seem more authentic and convincing. Martha especially felt representational of her age and class, delivering her thoughts and actions with realistic emotions. And it’s obvious from the very start of the book that George is fighting his inner demons but what and why is it now that things are starting to come to a head? I didn’t always feel comfortable with the way he treated Martha and his family but I understand why due to the wonderful writing that kept me involved in the family dynamics-desperate to know how and when everything would come to a head and how everyone would react when it did.
Shame paints a vivid and insightful portrait of a family lacking in communication. But how will they cope with the turbulence of their journey together through the shocking and disturbing domino effect of secrets both in the past and the present? You’ll just have to pick up a copy of Shame yourself to find out!
Elizabeth Forbes was born and raised on the Isle of Wight and now lives in Herefordshire with her husband, two dogs and two hens. She published three romantic thrillers under the name Elizabeth Harrington: The Corporate Wife, Making Up and Daddy Darling. She then took a break from writing and enrolled with the Open University to study for a degree in Literature. She completed her BA with First Class Honours, and also achieved the OU’s Diploma in Creative Writing. Her first psychological suspense novel, Nearest Thing to Crazy, was published by Cutting Edge Press in 2013. BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and the Mail Online featured the novel because of its gaslighting subject matter. It was a bestseller in Amazon UK’s psychological thriller charts. Her second novel published by Cutting Edge Press in 2014 was Who Are You? which is a dark and twisty tale focussing on the stormy marriage of two people affected by PTSD and childhood trauma. Elizabeth has recently re-published these novels independently with Amazon KDP, and plans to publish a new novel in the summer of 2021.