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Sunday November 3, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday November 3, 2013 MYT 9:49:12 AM
By NELLY SOH
WHEN I first got hold of this book, the only thing I noticed on the cover was the late Sidney Sheldon’s name, so I took it home anticipating nothing less than a great read from one of my favourite writers.
When I read the first few pages, though, I had a nagging feeling that this wasn’t the Sheldon I was familiar with. Nevertheless, I continued following the trials and tribulations of the heroine, Alexia De Vere.
Politically driven and highly ambitious Alexia is introduced as the new British Home Secretary by the Prime Minister, Henry Whitman. Despite being unpopular among Cabinet members and even the public – who see her as an ice-queen: ruthless, cold, and without an ounce of compassion – Alexia thinks that it is her own perseverance and drive that has brought her to where she is.
Her career aside, Alexia is plagued by problems at home. Her daughter Roxie is wheelchair-bound after a failed suicide attempt and the girl openly loathes Alexia, blaming mum for ruining her life. And Alexia’s younger son, Max, drops out of Oxford to pursue a career in party planning.
Her only support comes from the two pillars in her life: her aristocratic and fantastically wealthy husband, Teddy De Vere, and her best friend, Lucy Meyer.
Underneath it all lies a more sinister threat. We discover that the proud politician has built her life on a facade of lies, and at the peak of the success, her past comes back to haunt her.
A great fan of Sheldon’s works, I couldn’t help but revisit the cover of the book to ascertain that this was his work, only to find that I had been mistaken. The author is Tilly Bagshawe, attempting to emulate Sheldon’s love for mystery and surprising plots.
Bagshawe dives bravely into the midst of battle right from the beginning, daring to introduce a heroine who is unpopular with most of the other characters in the book. Her character is indeed strong, persevering, determined, and proud. Despite the likeable ending (which I won’t give away here), however, readers might still find it hard to connect with the protagonist or sympathise with her actions.
This is a good attempt but not nearly as riveting as an authentic Sheldon masterpiece would have been.
There was much confusion in the initial stages, and at the end of it, a few unsolved mysteries that left this reader puzzled. Still, it has several moments that keep you at the edge of your seat. A good read for the weekend.
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Tilly Bagshawe, the tides of memory, book review
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