Title: Should You Ask Me
Author: Marianne Kavanagh
Genre: Mystery, Drama, Historical
Summary: from publisher
‘I’ve come about the bodies. I know who they are.’
Just before D-Day in 1944, on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, an elderly woman walks into a police station. She has information, she says, about human remains recently discovered nearby.
The bodies could have stayed buried for ever – like the pain and passion that put them there. But Mary Holmes is finally ready to tell the truth.
The young constable sent to take her statement is still suffering from the injuries that ended his army career. As he tries to make sense of her tale, William finds himself increasingly distracted. Mary’s confession forces his own violent memories to the surface – betrayals and regrets as badly healed as his war wounds.
Over six days, as pressure builds for the final push in Europe, two lives reveal their secrets. Should You Ask Me is a captivating story about people at their worst and best: raw, rich, and utterly compelling.
I was intrigued by this book from the first chapter which gives the reader a hint of the mystery and also an introduction to our two main characters Mrs Mary Holmes and police constable, William. What also immediately drew me towards Should You Ask Me is that whilst it is set near the end of the Second World War it is not a typical wartime story. I gives the reader a more unusual perspective and shows that even at the most frightening of times when the world is at war, life still keeps moving on and individuals are still affected by their pasts.
The story moves between Mary telling the story of her past to William and William’s own history. This jumping around takes a little getting used to but quickly becomes very effective as it keeps the reader constantly wanting to find out more of each character’s story. Both Mary and William are extremely compelling. They are both clearly holding so much within and are tormented by the secrets held by their pasts. Whilst Mary tells her story you can sense she is desperate to finally to tell someone about the events which have haunted her. She is almost exorcising these events from her troubled mind. With William, he is more reserved but is clearly hiding something causing him a great deal of pain. As the novel progresses and the reader slowly learns more about him they become invested in figuring out what has happened to him. I liked and felt attached to both characters because they both felt like real people with flaws which makes them neither villains or heroes but rather, simply human.
Should You Ask Me is beautifully written. The prose has a read sense of loss and sadness to it at times that gives the novel such emotional depth. The author brings to light some really interesting and thought provoking points about guilt, responsibility and lying through omission. The writing and dialogue feels natural and realistic creating a strong sense of character and setting in the readers mind. As the story nears it’s climax I was desperate to know exactly what the circumstances surrounding the buried bodies were.
Overall I found Should You Ask Me a moving and original read with fascinating, vulnerable characters. I think the structure worked well and I thought the ending was skillfully done and suited the story being told beautifully.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a completely honest review.
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