Due to time restraints while I work on my own novel, reviews on this site will now comprise a book blurb and a short response.

Nicole Trope has been compared to Jodi Picoult, and it’s not an unfair comparison – both write about topical issues and from multiple perspectives, giving readers more to think – and talk – about. Here’s the blurb of her latest book, Blame:

‘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.

Without a doubt, Blame is a page turner. I found it hard to put down this novel with two different narratives that had me predicting an entirely different ending. But it’s more than just a page turner – it’s a book that raises awareness of autism, of the ignorance and prejudice surrounding the autism spectrum, and the difficulty of parenting a child with autism. It dares to put out there that sometimes it is damn hard, no matter how positive you are supposed to be.

At the same time, Blame deals with other issues, such as mental illness, mother-child attachment, marriage, grief, loss and alcoholism, which adds to the provocative nature of the novel. Blame comes in many guises, whether it’s blaming the parent for not bonding, the child for its behaviour, or the spouse for not understanding. Being blamed is not nice, but neither is it nice to shift the blame where it doesn’t belong, and most readers will be able to relate to the feelings Blame evokes.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99AUD). My copy was courtesy of Allen & Unwin.




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