On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Helen Fitzgerald, Keep Her Sweet. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.
Desperate to enjoy their empty nest, Penny and Andeep downsize to the countryside, to forage, upcycle and fall in love again, only to be joined by their two twenty-something daughters, Asha and Camille.
Living on top of each other in a tiny house, with no way to make money, tensions simmer, and as Penny and Andeep focus increasingly on themselves, the girls become isolated, argumentative and violent.
When Asha injures Camille, a family therapist is called in, but she shrugs off the escalating violence between the sisters as a classic case of sibling rivalry … and the stress of the family move.
But this is not sibling rivalry. The sisters are in far too deep for that.
This is a murder, just waiting to happen…
Chilling, vicious and darkly funny, Keep Her Sweet is not just a tense, sinister psychological thriller, but a startling look at sister relationships and they bonds they share … or shatter.
If you enjoy a family drama, then Keep Her Sweet by Helen Fitzgerald should definitely be your next read. I’ve read Helen’s past two novels, and every time I’ve read something new by her, I’ve recognised her voice straight away, especially in the unique way she creates her characters. I think if you’d given me this book without telling me who it was by, I would have been able to guess that it was written by Helen from the first page.
In her latest psychological thriller, Helen Fitzgerald zooms in on one of the most dysfunctional families I’ve come across in crime fiction. We meet two sisters, Camille and Asha, and immediately we can see the tensions that there are between them. They’ve recently moved back in with their parents, Penny and Andeep, and right from the first few pages, I felt like I was a fly on the wall, listening in, waiting for something catastrophic to happen. It did feel as though the family were discovering more about each other for the first time, especially once a therapist gets involved.
All of Helen’s characters in this book are well rounded and I thought their individual personalities and backstories came through strongly on the page. They are people who you want to find out more about. Camille and Asha’s Dad, Andeep, is a disgraced comic, and his family are the ones who still have to put up with his jokes. The novel is also told from the point of view of their Mum, Penny, and Joy, The Therapist. I think I found the parts told from the therapist’s points of view the most intriguing. I thought it was interesting how Joy peered into the lives of Camille and Asha’s family. I immediately wanted to find out more about her right from the first line, “Unhappy families always cheered her up.” This had me hooked. What had happened to this family?
Asha and Camille’s relationship also kept me invested in the story. Helen Fitzgerald delves deep into their history, although we particularly see this from Camille’s point of view. I really like the scenes which were told through diary extracts as her voice came through really strongly. You can feel Camille’s emotions as she is describing events that have happened between her and Asha in the past. You can see clearly the rivalry that exists between them, especially from Camille’s view point. But you do also get a sense that Asha and Camille do care deeply about each other, particularly when Camille explores their past.
I really could not believe what I was reading as I reached the final closing chapters. It was such a dark and tense finale, and I’m sure I’ll be thinking about what happened at the end of this book for a long time. Helen Fitzgerald explores some tough themes in Keep Her Sweet that bring her characters to life in rich, vivid detail, and it makes for an absorbing and an utterly compelling read. Another excellent novel from Helen Fitzgerald.
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication date: 26th May 2022
Print length: 222 pages
Keep Her Sweet is available to buy:
FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR