Late one winter afternoon in upstate New York, George Clare comes home to find his wife murdered and their three-year-old daughter alone--for how many hours?--in her room down the hall. He had recently, begrudgingly, taken a position at the private college nearby teaching art history, and moved his family into this tight-knit, impoverished town. And he is the immediate suspect--the question of his guilt echoing in a story shot through with secrets both personal and professional. While his parents rescue him from suspicion, a persistent cop is stymied at every turn in proving Clare a heartless murderer. The pall of death is ongoing, and relentless; behind one crime are others, and more than twenty years will pass before a hard kind of justice is finally served. At once a classic "who-dun-it" that morphs into a "why-and-how-dun-it," this is also a rich and complex portrait of a psychopath and a marriage, and an astute study of the various taints that can scar very different families, and even an entire community
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review - thankyou!
This was an extremely frustrating read for me! I loved the cover and was so intrigued when I read the blurb that I thought it was one of those books that would have me hooked from start to finish!
It started really well as we see George and his little girl, Franny, at their neighbours asking for help as George's wife Catherine has been found murdered in their bedroom. Who would do such a thing to a quiet woman in the middle of nowhere - what was the motive? Did the daughter witness anything? The police already have their suspicions and it's only when we start reading about the history of the couple that the reader soon has their suspicion too!
Hale Farm has seen tragedy before and we also get a look back at the previous family and how life was for them at this remote farm, and the fact that is seems to attract sad souls who are in similar positions.
And my problem with this book is that it just seemed to focus on how miserable everyone was! No matter what family we read about, then they just seemed to hate every aspect of their life but never did anything about it. They would happily discuss things with neighbours or work colleagues but never address the issues head on. And the empathy you had for the characters at the start soon disappeared when you learnt more about how they behaved
The death of Catherine also seemed to be pushed to one side as the story progressed so it was never satisfying to follow that plot to its' logical conclusion and I would have liked more theories and investigation of what exactly happened that morning to poor Catherine.
It was fascinating at times to see how a house could link so many people and and there were interesting side stories to various characters but I just felt it never picked up enough and just seemed to go round and round in circles of misery and unhappiness!