To Dare; simmering suspense

To Dare is a clever psychological tapestry that I couldn’t quite piece together right until the very end. Hence this brooding domestic fiction intrigued me more and more as the story developed and the unease grew. The slow burning structure of this book and the intense character portrayal lured me in and had me gripped throughout.

This is a novel that explores difficult societal issues including domestic and substance abuse, child neglect and inequality. It is a difficult read at times but it is fascinating as these issues are explored in the realms of family, friendship, power and revenge.

I found the slow menacing nature of To Dare really exciting.

This is the simmering story of Veronica who moves into her newly refurbished Victorian terrace in the affluent area of Primrose Hill along with her husband George. On the surface Veronica and George have it all – they are young, wealthy and good looking. However following a personal tragedy the marriage is now strained.

Adding to their marital tension is the neighbours, Simone and Terry who keep Veronica and George awake at night with their pounding, loud music. Even more disturbing are the sounds of screaming and violence they hear through the walls. Furthermore the children in Simone and Terry’s family appear neglected.

Jemma Wade, the author of To Dare vividly portrays the raw tragedies and struggles in the lives of both Veronica and Simone. Even though I found Simone’s neglect of her children wrong and extremely disturbing, it is clear that she is terrified of her partner Terry who continually controls and abuses her. Even though on the surface Veronica and Simone appear very different, similarities in their upbringings are skilfully revealed, enhancing my fascination.

At times I really felt and empathised with Veronica, especially when she connects with Dominic, Simone’s 11 year old son. However I found Veronica particularly fascinating, notably as she reconnects with her old childhood friend Sarah. It soon becomes apparent that Veronica is not quite as she seems with a manipulative, jealous and extremely flawed nature.

As I was reading I really wanted to like and feel for all three women. Yet through Jemma Wade’s skilful character portrayal my mistrust of each of the characters grew. This I found refreshing and exciting. And wow, then the final chapters came…

Thank you to Lucy Chamberlain from Legend Press for inviting me to be involved in the blog tour to help publicise this fascinating, tense read. I thoroughly enjoyed this unique drama. To also read the reviews of my fellow book bloggers also on the blog tour, please see below.

To Dare was published on 1st July.

Happy reading everyone! 🙂

My rating:

Four-stars

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