Tainted Love by Anna Chilvers

untitledTainted Love by Anna Chilvers. Recommended by Fiona (Reader Development Team and Whitefield Library).

‘Curious and unexpected undercurrents abound in Hawden. Through the cast of colourful, vivid, unusual, eccentric characters the past and present of the town are woven together; a tangle of secrets and revelations that make you doubt all of your assumptions.  The descriptions of woods and gardens make nature sing, and the writing gently reveals surprising truths about the very different people who live in this unassuming little northern town.

It’s very difficult to recommend a book without giving away part of what makes it so special. A modern gothic tale of secrets and relationships, this novel is thoughtful, beautifully descriptive and full of vivid characters. Most of all it is surprising, yet it is still familiar, and you will barely turn two pages in a row without finding your preconceptions overturned.    If you loved “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern, the intriguing, slightly uncomfortable “A Kind of Intimacy” by Jenn Ashworth or the enthralling “Hungry, the Stars and Everything” by Emma Jane Unsworth, please, please read “Tainted Love” by Anna Chilvers.’ Fiona.

Secrets and stones have settled in Hawden where everything stays as it is; the past is hidden, or rewritten. Lauren lives with her dad and Mr Lion after her mother left her when she was three months old. Her boyfriend Peter is struggling with his identity. When Meg and her son Richard arrive, both dangerously attractive, and Ali too, angry and on the run from drug dealers, old stories resurface, creating new tensions. After seventeen years Lauren’s mother comes back into her life and nothing is quite what it seems any more, but love, however tainted, can sometimes heal. ‘Tainted Love’ is a modern gothic tale of how old stories can unravel people’s lives.

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