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The Thing About Clare Kindle Edition
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?
About the Author
Imogen Clark lives in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and children. Her first burning ambition was to be a solicitor and so she read Law at Manchester University and then worked for many years at a commercial law firm. After leaving her legal career behind to care for her children, Imogen turned to her second love—books. She returned to university, studying part-time whilst the children were at school, and was awarded a BA in English Literature with First Class Honours. Imogen loves sunshine and travel and longs to live by the sea someday.
”A quiet, finely observed portrait of sibling rivalries.” ―Heat Magazine (4 stars)
“An enthralling tale.” ―My Weekly
“A compelling drama to snuggle up with on a warm night.” ―Woman’s Weekly
“A great portrait of family life and interaction.” ―People’s Friend (5 stars)
“I adore Imogen’s writing style―it is warm, familiar, and easily digested.” ―Book Club Mumma
“A nostalgic, heartwarming, and emotionally charged read that had me captivated from beginning to the end.” ―Book Club Mumma
”A clever family drama.” ―Jaffa Reads Too
“A wonderful family drama, with a bit of mystery thrown in.” ―Always Need More Books
“A brilliant read with a plot destined to keep readers guessing…” ―Bradford Telegraph & Argus
“I really enjoyed this book, and couldn’t put it down.” ―Jera’s Jamboree
“Warm and emotionally complex…A family drama that’s hard to disentangle yourself from.” ―Nick Alexander, bestselling author of Things We Never Said --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B07CKRG8TN
- Publisher : Lake Union Publishing (1 December 2018)
- Language : English
- File size : 2759 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 321 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 376 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Every family has secrets and most people are intrinsically drawn and curious to unearth them and every family has at least one walking disaster...
‘An argument was never very far away from her sister. Even when they were kids, Clare could start a row in an empty room. It was funny how they’d all just grown up into older versions of how were they were as children.’
Clare was an imposing piece of work as even in childhood, she had rebelliously pushed every boundary and as an adult, she was irresponsible, unpredictably volatile and self-destructive.
‘Thank the Lord that her own parents hadn’t been around to see how Clare was turning out. She could virtually feel the breeze that was coming off her father spinning in his grave.’
For me the strength of this book is in the characters of the siblings who all need one another whether they like it or not. Each section was told from a different point of view which worked well both in terms of keeping up momentum as well as highlighting that sometimes the people we think we know the best can really surprise us. The well-observed little details of family life add depth to a well-paced plot which keeps you guessing until the end. ‘The Thing About Clare’ is a wonderful treat.
The characters were just so believable and it was interesting seeing the dynamics between the 4 siblings through thick and thin.
This book is about family, secrets and the journey of four siblings - Miriam, Clare, Anna and Sebastian. Their parents Dorothy and Frank feature heavily in the "past" chapters, beginning with the siblings as children, in which the story unfolds over the course of their lifetime.
The story begins with Anna, the third sibling, in 2015. Their mother Dorothy has just passed away and the introductory chapter was her funeral, and as the chapter is titled, is from Anna's perspective. I found it heavy in monologue to begin with as Anna muses over her thoughts and emotions - some of which I found slightly irrelevant to the point of irritating in part - but it does give us a vivid picture of her perspective. Particularly as she recounts her mother Dorothy's request regarding the will and the letter. And you just know that, despite trying to maintain respect for her mother, she won't be able to resist reading the letter - which is addressed to Clare. I mean, could you? I could understand Anna's reasoning behind why she decided to read it - to protect Clare - but you just know it is going to blow up in her face when Clare and the others find out. So Anna then faces the conundrum of what to do. However, it's not until over halfway through the book - after the past has been revisitedup to the present as the story unfolds - do we discover that Anna actually does have the will and the letter. So of course, the reader does not learn of its contents until over halfway through.
When the story first shifts back to the past, we are transported back to 1961 and Dorothy's POV as she recounts her story as a new mum to the very demanding and painfully teething Miriam. The Dorothy we meet in the beginning is certainly a different Dorothy we meet as the years progress through the various perspectives. She is a new mum, alone with husband Frank away working, and completely unsure of her own ability as a mother. It is then we also meet their somewhat nosy neighbour Mrs Connors (whose first name escapes me now), and it is somewhat comforting to note that they remain neighbours for the next 50 odd years. Although a background character, Mrs Connors does feature a little more profoundly at the Silver Jubilee when a very unexpected and surprising event occurs - shocking everyone!
As the years go by and the story continues to unfold we meet each of the siblings and are privvy to their own private thoughts and perspectives. Clare's is somewhat tumultuous as she herself is the most colourful of the siblings. They say that there is something about the middle child and Clare crammed into that mould and promptly broke it. She was "the black sheep" and felt like she didn't belong for most of her life. It led to bad decisions and even worse lifestyle choices as she continued to drift through life, and in and out of everyone else's, for pretty much most of the duration. She was the most volatile, defensive and pretty much almost always angry. Is it just middle child syndrome or something much more? Whatever it is, it was plain to everyone that there was just something about Clare.
The story examines the relationship between the siblings and their parents, tackling the difficult times as well as the fond memories. Family dynamics are always different and can often be a minefield with each child having their own unique characteristics. THE THING ABOUT CLARE examines those as well as being a journey of discovery for everyone involved. We learn the idiosyncrasies and the personas of each of the siblings, and often during the story we find ourselves as frustrated as each of the siblings. This story is their journey and as we are privvy to their perspectives we share the journey with them.
Once the story comes full circle again to the present day in 2015, we also feel their pain and their grief after the loss of their mother. Just before we reach this point we do meet up with Anna and Dorothy in 2014, just a year previous, where we discover that Dorothy has had a stroke and is now in a care home. I found this scene a little sad as it was clear that in her 80s Dorothy was nearing the end of her life, and just that knowledge alone is saddening after a lifetime of memories. Dorothy struggles to speak but she does - enough to bestow her request of the will to her favourite child. Then fast forward a year and the siblings are at her funeral. Mrs Connors is still a fixture, with her own two cents thrown in, but the siblings decline her offer to help clear out the house.
I did find the scenes where the siblings were sorting through a lifetime of their parents' belongings and memories particularly heartbreaking. It is something I myself dread because in doing so it is with the knowledge that your parents are gone...and with them a lifetime of memories. But as one grows older, if we are lucky enough to still have our parents with us, we also are fully aware that that will not last forever and one day in the not too distant future we too will be saying our last goodbye to them too. And it was this aftermath that broke my heart the most. We journeyed with them all through the years that as the reader we too felt the pain of Dorothy's passing, as inevitable as it must be.
I did have a complaint about one flaw. I don't know where it came from or what happened to it but at one point Dorothy is ticking off a mental list of who is attending Anna's 30th birthday and she mentions "Melissa". I had to stop and think who on earth was Melissa. As she also mentioned Sebastian's new girlfriend Tessa for the first time, I admittedly thought that maybe Melissa was Anna's "partner" as the way she recounted them was as "Anna and Melissa". But there was no further mention of Melissa. She didn't attend the party, and she was never mentioned again. So I have no idea where she came from or what her role was, but to me it appeared she was a mistake since she never featured anywhere again. This error cost this wonderful story a star in my opinion, because while I can overlook many others that always pop up in ebook editions, I cannot overlook that. It was a costly mistake that in the end was irrelevant to the entire story.
Overall, THE THING ABOUT CLARE was a beautifully written drama about families - in particular, siblings - of life, love and the imperceptible bond between them. I thought it was a lovely thought provoking story, not my usual genre, but enjoyable all the same. I was unable to put it down in the end, reading well into the night.
It is unlike me to purchase a book without knowing anything about the Author or their style, but in this case I did and I am surprisingly glad. I really enjoyed the story and the journey it took me on. Definitely recommend!
We are given a hint or two of the outside world so we know of the times over which the story takes place but it is as though the family and its emotional miseries,( and it is not a happy tale,) are insulated from that world.
I just don’t believe it.
I have just finished he thing about Clare and really loved loved loved it ❤️
Easily my favourite read of 2018 😊
I am the youngest of 6 siblings so really understand and can relate to the complex relationships and loyalty this brings x
Thank you for such a great read 📚
It's about sibling rivalry between three sisters and their brother, and a secret kept by their mother until after her death.
There is sadness as well as laughter; a great read.
Top reviews from other countries
It's a great family story and covers the years I was a kid as well so brought back a lot of memories and I remember well the Silver Jubilee, too. Her characters are great and very true-to-life, especially the language used in those times. I so liked it. I loved the image too of Sebastian flicking Anna's eyelashes......Clare was definitely the black sheep of the family though I liked her as a kid as she was the spirited one of them all.
However, silly mistakes did cost it.....writing back instead of bag and though and not through.....then Dorothy is reading off a list of who is attending Anna's birthday party at one point and mentions a Melissa.....now, whoever she is I've no idea as she wasn't referred to before or past that point so I really don't believe she merited a mention at all. This sentence "Understanding certainly" needs a comma to make sense as well. If not for throwing in that mention of a Melissa I would probably have overlooked the other nitpicky mistakes but that was just wrong for me.
How disappointed am I! While her first novel was a triumph, beautifully and engagingly written, with wonderful character betrayals, this second novel honestly feels like it’s been written by a different author, more in the light holiday novella style, and I am struggling to keep reading. The language is very basic and seems like it’s aimed at younger readers, there is no literary style to it, and the characters are not in any way lifelike or endearing.
Mostly it is boring! Endless details of daily life, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue! I wonder if the author churned it out too fast, basking in the success of the first novel - which was truly great – please take the time to continue in your earlier style, and not pad out the book with trivial details just to get more pages.
Thankfully I got this through my Amazon First; I would have been a bit fed up if I had paid for it.