Throwback Thursday this week features the first of the Ross Duology by Georgia Rose, a book I enjoyed very much.
Twenty-four years old and single, Madeleine Ross has lived on the edge of Crowbridge village for the last four years. Although she’s part of the village community, supports local events and has friendly relationships with people, she doesn’t talk about her life before moving to the village. Her closest friend, Diane (a great character who relishes the local suspicions that she’s a witch) lives next door, and after initially renting the cottage she owned to Madeleine, eventually gave her the option to buy.
From the start the inference that there’s more to Madeleine than meets the eye is apparent, when she helps and advises Kourtney, a young village girl who has a tough home life. Madeleine can sympathise fully with Kourtney’s unfavourable circumstances, reminding Madeleine in some respects of her own upbringing.
Told in the first person from Madeleine’s perspective, we get an increasing insight into her personality and past life as the story progresses, far beyond the image she presents to her neighbours. Her job with an insurance company is interesting, probably unique to say the least, and the mornings spent at the gym show how the lack of parental love and care in her formative years, plus the lifestyle she led prior to moving to Crowbridge, has had a negative affect and left her with harmful emotional issues.
Madeleine’s life takes a new turn when she meets Daniel, her prospective new boss. She’s uncomfortable with change and likes her life just the way it is, which makes Madeleine unsure whether she can work with Daniel. Then, to make the situation worse, the past catches up with her when her ex boyfriend Tag reappears and threatens to destroy the life she’s built. Madeleine devises a daring plan to escape the dark secrets of her past once and for all and take a chance on a whole new future.
Madeleine is a great character. Sympathetic and well defined and we can tell almost immediately she is warm-hearted by her reluctance to deliberately hurt others’ feelings and her concern for Kourtney. I enjoyed how Georgia Rose reveals Madeleine’s past gradually, developing her from someone basically living a lie, although it becomes easy to understand why she chose to live as she did, to an altogether stronger person.
Each of the supporting characters have a part to play and they all add depth to the story. Even Sidney, the ‘less than fragrant’ newsagent proprietor. Parallel Lies is very well written, measured and steady to begin with in keeping with village life, with suspense and tension building progressively as the story unfolds. There’s a message here too, about how early circumstances shape a person’s life, in different ways, and how important the formative years are. Kourtney was determined to rise above the disadvantages, whereas Madeleine didn’t really have a chance. An excellent read.
A woman with a hidden past. A new love on the horizon. Will the truth set her free or cost her everything?
‘My name is Madeleine, Madeleine Ross. It is a name chosen with thought and because it is classy, and that is what is needed here…’
Madeleine Ross has life exactly as she planned it.
Cosy cottage, friendly village, satisfying job.
Company… when she wants it.
It’s an enviable existence for an independent young woman, and one she’s keen to protect.
Enter Daniel – strong, dependable and a danger to everything she’s built. He’s not something she was looking for, but hearts can’t be controlled and maybe, just maybe he might be worth letting into hers.
But, all is not what it seems. Because Madeleine is hiding a lifetime of secrets. Deep secrets.
And they never stay buried for ever.