The Beloveds: A Novel by Maureen Lindley

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The loathing I experienced at the sight of her pulsed in that part of me, somewhere middle chest, a dark liverish thing that’s still there after all these years.

Betty Stash knows she isn’t a beloved, no one is making her world spin with all things lovely and delightful nor breaking their backs to make her happy. She isn’t like her blessed, younger, golden sister Gloria that charms her way into everyone’s bones at first meeting. Nothing is easily won for Betty, she has had to fight for every crumb of love and attention since Gloria came into the world. She has the husband who was meant to be Betty’s, even her best friend  Alice was Betty’s first but this time, when their mother shocks everyone by leaving Gloria the family mansion, Betty isn’t going to go down without a fight. If it requires feeding the evil rot inside her soul, so be it. This time it will require extreme measures! The mansion doesn’t talk to Gloria and Henry as it does to Betty, despite the way they insinuated themselves within its crumbling walls during their mother’s lifetime. It’s a sacrilege the plans they have made to ‘renovate it’. She can’t bide her time much longer, each change to the home gutting her, enraging her! This is meant to be her inheritance!

The cracks in Betty’s marriage are no longer a thing she can patch up, especially now that an interloper has wielded her way in, usurped her position with the business and in the marriage bed while she has been away. Doesn’t it just figure Bert too has turned against her, isn’t that the way her entire life has been? Maybe she doesn’t love Bert any longer, but no way in hell is she going to cave in, give up yet another thing that is meant to be hers, and certainly not to so pathetic an adversary. Despite her schemes, fate has other plans. Is Betty is losing her mind, or simply coming home to herself?

This is a disturbingly dark book and it’s perfect in its rottenness. There is no redemption here, don’t look for it! Betty is always the victim, and nothing infuriates her more than goodness because for someone so gnarled and twisted up inside, light and purity in others is fraudulent, it’s make-believe! Don’t say it, but oh I felt bad for Betty, trapped in the wretchedness of her own mind. Just when you think she is redeemable the books laughs at your earnestness with the ending! The house will always be calling to her, old and crumbling or reborn, it needs her!

Leave all hope at the door… errr… first page. It’s so evil I love it, here is a character you can despise. Listen, this is a mind that is crumbling as much as the house. She manipulates, she is poisonous and as she is family, Gloria feels sisterly affection because that’s how it is with family, it’s love and hope. Gloria has too forgiving a nature to even imagine the horrors that spin in her  sister’s monstrous mind and she feels sorry for her.  Love gravitates to Gloria, she cannot face that the cursed luck comes with her older sister, it isn’t a reality she could ever understand. Henry is a little wiser, as is Alice. But Alice hasn’t enough time, even her plan to put distance between her dear friend Gloria and her former tormentor Betty isn’t cunning enough to outwit her.

Betty is the spider, the rest of the world is her meal.

Yes, yes, read it but make sure you aren’t in a dark head space already!

Publication Date: April 3, 2018

Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

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