Fiction

The Thing about Clare

Thethingabout

About the Book

A dying wish. A devastating secret. Should the truth really stay buried?

The four Bliss siblings have a loving but complicated bond, but when their mother, Dorothy, dies seemingly without a will, this relationship is put to the test. As the mourning siblings try to make sense of the situation, one of them is caught with a secret: before she died, Dorothy entrusted her favourite daughter with her will and a letter—and told her to destroy them both.

Of course it was Anna their mother turned to for this mission. Miriam, the eldest, is far too sensible; Sebastian, the baby, too sensitive; and Clare, the middle child, has always been too rebellious to rely on, and long ago cut herself out of her siblings’ lives.

But what Anna finds in the documents could change everything. Do the other siblings not deserve to know what it is about them that their mother was so desperate to hide? And if it is revealed, will the Bliss family ever be the same again?

What I thought

First I need to apologise, to both the author and also myself for not treating this book with the respect it deserves. I’ve messed around with this one reading it inbetween starting and finishing other books. It’s no way to read a book I don’t think, certainly not one that you’re actually enjoying. So, yes I wish I’d read it properly and might well read it again one fine day.

Having said that, even though I’ve stopped off at various junctures to read something else, I’ve always managed to remember what I’d read so far. The book spans quite a few years, from when the family of 4 siblings were children up to a point where they’ve reached their fifities.

The first couple of chapters introduce us to the Bliss family attending the funeral of their mother Dorothy Bliss.  The year is 2015.  After a brief introduction to the four siblings, Miriam, the eldest, Clare, Anna and Sebastian and a mention of a will and letter that Anna’s mother had asked her to destroy just before she died the book then moves back to 1961.  These chapters cover Dorothy Bliss and her life as a new mother to her first child Miriam.  Throughout, the book gradually moves on in time, when in the 1970’s Sebastian arrives to complete the Bliss family.  It’s a kind of meander down memory lane, especially for me as the reader because Miriam is the same age as me. We observe the family dynamics as the children grow up.  All the characters were likeable except perhaps for Clare.  Despite Clare’s inability to get on with any one, blood is thicker than water as the saying goes and her sisters, Mother and brother always stuck by her and tried to help despite the fact that she brought most of her problems on herself.  I often felt sorry for Clare’s only son, River.  With no Father around and his useless, drunken mother to look after him it was a miracle he managed to survive relatively unscathed.

Whilst there isn’t a huge theme to the plot of the story it was still an enjoyable read.  They’re an average family with average lives with Clare being what would be described as the ‘black sheep’ of the family.  Argumentative, rebellious, for some reason that no one ever seems to have been able to fathom Clare has always carried a chip around on her shoulder, one that she would have done well to have got rid of.  Her rebellious nature hasn’t done her any favours throughout life and as a result happiness has always eluded her.

Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, but I could never see why Clare should feel that she was looked down on by the rest of the family at any point when she was growing up.  She always seems resentful, thinking that her Mother thinks more of the other siblings but I never felt that was the case.  She just seemed naturally paranoid and to me I think she imagined half of it.

Towards the end of the book Clare finally manages to regain some control over her drink problem and there was one part when she’d been off the drink for a year where she finally realises how much better she feels.  This is a quote from the book, I loved the imaginative take on the metaphor turning over a new leaf:-

Clare did feel healthier though.  She liked this new leaf.  It kept changing colour, getting brighter and brighter.

I really enjoyed this book.  In the back there are some questions for Book Group discussion and I think it would make a good book for a book group.  It’s a nice easy read, brings back memories of childhood for anyone who grew up during the 60’s/early 70’s and gives the reader plenty to think about.

♥ Happy Reading ♥


The Thing About Clare is available on Amazon now both on Kindle and in Paperback.

Imogen Clark also has her own blog which you can sign up to for newsletters and news on any future books.  She blogs regularly and has some really interesting content.  Here’s the link Imogen Clark

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