In a desperate bid to reduce the books that are collecting dust on my TBR shelves, I have decided to collaborate with another avid reader and fellow book reviewer, Nicole from Certified Book Addicts. The #20BACKLISTIN2020 challenge is a self paced challenge hosted by Jaylamm.Reads, Reading and Sunshine, and Cassidys.Bookshelf. The overall goal of this challenge is to read 20 titles from the backlist books that are currently sitting on your TBR pile. For this challenge I will be reading non review books and taking my selections directly from my chock-a-block TBR bookcases (there are two shelved back to back). I will be publishing my reviews of these books on my blog and social media sites on the first and third Tuesday of the month.
Book #13 in the #20BACKLISTIN2020 challenge
Estimated TBR Shelf Life: 4 years
A tender and terrifying page-turner from the master of white-knuckle suspense and searing family drama.
‘If you love writers such as Jodi Picoult, Nicole may just be your cup of tea.’ The Hoopla
‘I am here because they suspect me of something. I am here because I am a suspect. I know that, she knows that. Everyone knows that.’ Anna
‘It wasn’t my fault. None of this is my fault!’ Caro
Caro and Anna are best friends… they were best friends. Over a decade, Caro and Anna have bonded while raising their daughters, two little girls the same age but living two very different lives. The women have supported each other as they have shared the joys and trials of motherhood, but now everything has changed.
There’s been a terrible car accident, an unimaginable tragedy that leaves both families devastated. Over two days, as Caro and Anna each detail their own versions of events, they are forced to reveal hidden truths and closely guarded secrets.
The complicated lives of wives and mothers are laid bare as both women come to realise that even best friends don’t tell each other everything. And when hearts are broken, even best friends need someone to blame.
A hard-hitting, provocative and gripping read from the queen of white-knuckle suspense and searing family drama.
Blame follows the complicated lives of two friends and mothers, who are faced with the unthinkable following a tragic accident. A tangled suburban psychological drama, Blame looks at friendship, motherhood, parenting, mental illness, alcoholism and condemnation in this perceptive contemporary fiction title from Nicole Trope.
This is the story of best friends Anna and Caro, who find their friendship tested to its very limits. Over a period of ten years, Anna and Caro have weathered many parenting storms, but they have always been there for one another. They each have a daughter the same age, but these two girls are vastly different. Both have turned to each other during various points in their parenting lives, celebrating successes and consoling each other during the tough times. But when a tragic accident occurs, two families are ripped apart. As Anna and Caro relay their version of events that fateful day, their impression of what happened differs. As the police wade through the truth and lies, interesting facts come to light. What follows is a blame game, as each woman fights to protect their livelihood.
I have never been let down by a Nicole Trope novel, each and every one has been a gripping read from start to finish. Blame is the sixth novel by Australian author Nicole Trope, a specialist in the range of psychological based family dramas. Trope’s ability to zone in on relationships and common life problems is what makes her stories such compelling reads. Blame is no exception.
Blame is the type of novel that will either have you sitting on the fence (like me) or setting up camp with either Anna or Caro. I alternated my sympathies between both women until I gave up and decided I couldn’t assign the blame to either woman for the tragic accident that defines this novel. Trope’s writing is clever and balanced, offering an objective overview of both women and their flaws. Trope provides a coherent and convincing case for both women to take the blame, or to be admonished from their part in this accident. It certainly provided plenty of food for thought.
Both women are well rounded and carefully presented on the pages of this novel. The husband characters were less defined and I felt like I got to know them from a distance, as the prime focus of this story is on Anna and Caro, as well as their daughters. Through a shifting perspective point of view that moves back and forth to the past and present, we learn a great deal about the lives of the two female leads. There are lies, truths and secrets that come to light, along with more than a few twists along the way. Blame is intricately plotted, well written and topical.
In terms of topics, Trope interrogates a range of themes throughout the course of her novel. These include friendship, support, motherhood, parenting practices, marital relations, mental illness, alcoholism, loss, miscarriages and autism. Along with themes of justice, retribution, responsibility and acceptance, Blame has a lot of dark undertones, but it closes with a message of hope and reconciliation.
Blame is another heartbreaking and pulsating psychological fiction title from an author that is in tune with issues at the heart of families and everyday life. I highly recommend Blame to all readers.
**** 4 stars
Blame by Nicole Trope was published on 22nd June 2016 by Allen and Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Blame, Nicole Trope, visit here.
Blame is book #76 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge