Today I am featuring a book that is touted as being one of the must read books of the summer, and one that everyone is sure to be talking about. One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis is indeed a riveting read with a unexpected twist that you won't see coming. I was thoroughly engaged in this dark little tale of a woman's descent into darkness after her perfect life falls apart. I am excited to have author Tina Seskis here today! I imagine it won't be too long before this book starts popping up on best seller lists. So I am lucky to get her now! Here is Tina's bio:
Tina Seskis grew up in Hampshire, the daughter of an airline engineer and a sales rep. Her parents bestowed upon Tina a certain degree of eccentricity – her dad amongst other things built a boat in the front garden on their commuter belt housing estate, moved them into a touring caravan when their new house wasn’t built, and took them all over the world with his free air travel and limited budget. Tina studied business at the University of Bath and then worked for over 20 years in marketing, advertising and online, with varying degrees of success. Before that she did a variety of other jobs including door to door encylopedia selling in the US, industrial relations for Ford in Halewood, Liverpool, and selling bacon butties with her granny in the Halfway Hut at Wentworth Golf Club. Tina never intended writing a novel. She wrote One Step Too Far over a two month period in summer 2010 and then gave up writing entirely for well over a year, before writing her second novel A Serpentine Affair in autumn 2011. Her third book (working title Collision) is due for completion in 2013, and is the coming together of a key character from each of the first two novels, if Tina can make the plot work. Tina Seskis lives in North London with her husband and son. Find Tina on her website, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.
Please welcome Tina! This is officially her first blog guest post!
Hello. It seems like a very odd day to be writing this particular blog post, as for the first time in over six months the sun is not only shining in London, but it is sufficiently warm to be sat in my garden writing. So it's more like Sunny Spring Spoutings than Rainy Day Ramblings, but hey I’m not complaining...
Just to let you know, this is my first blog post EVER - I've done one Q&A (for a US library as it happens) and a couple of local press interviews, and of course I have a website, but apart from that I have stayed well and truly behind my keyboard - and I must admit it’s scary coming out. I discussed with Heidi what you might want to hear about - perhaps my exploits with cars (examples include driving off in my little Triumph Spitfire with the crook-lock still attached to the wheel and the brake - you get the picture - and uprooting a bollard and its concrete foundations, on top of which the car ended up being well and truly stranded; confessing when I was being interrogated by about 10 police officers that the reason I’d failed to stop when signalled and was doing double the speed limit wasn’t because I was drunk Officer, honest, it was because I was in a hurry to pick up a tent as it was late and was going camping the next day, but that thinking about it I had had coq au vin for dinner; pretending to a US police officer that I’d had no idea I’d been driving without number plates until he’d pointed it out when the wheel fell off my Oldsmobile on a six-lane highway in Ohio, and what an utter scoundrel the man who’d sold me the car was, for both loose wheels and missing plates; but I decided those stories didn’t have too much to do with writing. So instead I’m going to tell you about how I came to write One Step Too Far and what my literary influences are, hope you’re OK with that.
I first got the idea for the big “twist” of the story out of nowhere, whilst on holiday three
Easters ago, in Venice (which is truly marvellous if you’re ever in Europe by the way). And when I came back I just started writing chapters of the story down and sending them to my mum to read, as she was becoming inexplicably unwell and I thought it might cheer her up. So my mum became my moral guide, and when the main character did something too horrific my mum would gently point out that not only had Emily/Cat abandoned her family but she was also becoming wholly unsympathetic, and I’d go back and change it (you should have read the first draft...). And then my mum became progressively worse and I felt compelled to finish the book, as if I was on a pointless race to nowhere, and the words I wrote were savage and raw and most of them are still in there. And when she died she said “make sure you dedicate it to me,” and so I did.
My mum was way more important than that to the story though. She introduced me to the marvels of Agatha Christie as a teenager, and we’d go to the library together and pick up all those murder mysteries and devour them, and discuss the twists and how we’d been hoodwinked. And we both read the book where Ms Christie disappeared out of her own life, and who knows maybe that planted the seed of an idea somewhere in me. I even got married on the island (in Devon) where Agatha Christie wrote “And then there were none,” so my connection with her has continued. And then a few years later my mum and I got into Jilly Cooper and her writing was so unputdownable I was once caught reading Riders under the table at a dinner party. My taste for more literary fiction was fuelled more by my English teacher, Mrs Lord, and I became besotted with the Brontes and Hardy and Keats and Shakespeare and their genius with words.
So when I wrote One Step Too Far I was very clear I wanted it to be a mystery - a whydunnit, if you like, rather than a whodunnit, and I deliberately tried to make it a page-turner. The funny thing is though, when I came to fill out my author profiles and was asked what my literary influences were, it seemed almost embarrassing to not cite more high-brow authors. And that’s when I decided that the only way I could cope with saying things publicly would be if they were true, and so that’s what I’ve committed to do.
I hope that gives you a little insight into myself, my writing and my terrible driving skills. Thanks so much for having me.Thanks so much, Tina for stopping by today. I am honored to host you for your first blog guest post! I am certain once the buzz gets out about your clever little book you will be crazy busy! Best of luck! Tina is offering to one lucky winner a copy of One Step Too Far. This is open Internationally. To enter fill out the Rafflecopter. Good Luck!
Here is my review:
One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis
An apparently happy marriage. A beautiful son. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life to start all over again? Has she had a breakdown? Was it to escape her dysfunctional family - especially her flawed twin sister Caroline who always seemed to hate her? And what is the date that looms, threatening to force her to confront her past? No-one has ever guessed her secret. Will you?
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 15th 2013 by Kirk Parolles
Three and a half stars: A look into the darkness that follows when the perfect life falls apart!
Emily slips out of the house quickly and quietly, not wanting to wake her sleeping husband and Charlie. She is broken and lost, and the only way she knows how to cope is to run away and leave everything behind. Emily moves to London without a trace and becomes Cat. She abandons her happy marriage, her family and her troubled twin sister Caroline. Once free, she painstakingly begins to piece her life back together, but there are plenty of slips along the way. Before she rises above the darkness she is drinking, doing drugs and miserable, but she refuses to go back because she doesn't think she could be happy. The question is why would Emily leave behind her adoring husband and Charlie to start a new life?
What I Liked:
- This is certainly a riveting read. It chronicles the life of Emily as she flees from her former life. Something horrible happened, something so bad that she doesn't think she can continue on, so her only choice is escape. What follows is a jumble of events as the details of her life are spilled out in no particular order. It starts at the beginning when her mother unexpectedly delivered twins. Emily was the favored twin, while Caroline was unwanted. Her childhood was full of turbulence as her mother struggled to cope with the Caroline, the child she didn't want, and her husband's infidelity and absence. Emily finally has a chance at real happiness when she marries Ben and has a beautiful little boy, but her world comes crashing down after a terrible event. Now the reader is caught in a whirlwind of flashbacks as the pieces painstakingly fall into place and Emily's tragedy is revealed. I was absolutely glued to the pages, greedily gulping them down, anxious to learn what happened to Emily. If you like books that are a bit chaotic and suspenseful, check this out.
- This is a dark and gritty read, but I enjoyed the glimpses into the lives of the troubled individuals caught in this story. There are Emily's parents, her mother,Frances, who struggles daily to cope with her husband's cheating ways while trying to raise two twin daughters. Andrew, Emily's father, a man who throws away happiness and his family as he can't resist the lure of adultery. Caroline, the troubled and unwanted twin, spends her entire life trying to live up to Emily, and she is plagued by demons from anorexia, alcoholism, drug addiction and more. Ben, Emily's husband, is struggling to cope with the aftermath of Emily's disappearance. Angel, the new friend and roommate to Emily, who has her own dark past from a neglectful mother to an abusive boyfriend. Then finally at the heart of the story is Emily, a young lady who is thrust into a cycle of deep depression after something bad happens. All of these characters are dealing with their own demons. It is interesting and disturbing at the same time to watch them claw their way through the troubles. Some of them you root for like Emily, Angel and Ben, while others you despise such as Andrew. Caroline is just a mess and I was unsure from one chapter to the next how I felt about her. At the end, some make it and find redemption, while others don't. Sometimes life dishes out lemons and if you don't accept them and make lemonade you may falter and fail. I liked that this book kept it real. Not all of the stories are easy to read, and not all have happy endings, but isn't that the way life goes sometimes?
- I completely enjoyed the suspense in this one. I was so curious as to what happened to Emily that I felt compelled to read on. Her life nearly falls apart along the way and when you finally get to that moment that changed everything, it is indeed heartbreaking. Once I had the full picture I was stunned. I spent the entire book wondering how Emily could leave her son and husband, and then when I got it I was blown away. Ms. Seskis does a brilliant job diverting the reader and making you believe something that isn't true. I can't explain this further without ruining it. I will say, it was a stunning twist!
- I was pleased that the ending wrapped up and provided a somewhat happy ending after all the darkness. It was a troubling journey, but at least I was rewarded at the end.
And The Not So Much:
- I mentioned earlier that this one is a bit chaotic. The book utilizes flashbacks and various points of view. It is told in third person narration and it switches unexpectedly from character to character back and forward in time. The changes are jarring and hard to get use to at first, but once you immerse in the story it gets easier. If you are a reader that does not appreciate varying voices and unexpected view point shifts and flashbacks, you may not like this one. While I found it to be a bit crazy, I did come to like the way everything fit together. What really makes the story work is the writing. Ms. Seskis does a remarkable job with the material and her writing style is engaging.
- This book is dark and emotional. There are not always happy resolutions for the characters, and for some their struggles lead to some very bad choices and places. There is drug use, alcoholism, adultery and lots of heartbreak. If you were planning on picking this one up for a light summer read, this is not that type of book. It is full of drama, emotion and turbulence. I found it to be interesting and I was fully invested in the stories, even though at times I didn't like any of the characters.
- For American readers it is good to read this on an ereader as there are plenty of British terms that were unfamiliar to me, and I was happy to have my ereader define them for me. This is not a big deal but if you are like me and not well versed on British terms and slang it will be beneficial to have your ereader quickly define them.
One Step Too Far is one of those reads that will stick with me for days to come. It is an emotional roller coaster as you follow the lives of six different people as the struggle with life's adversities. It is gutsy and real and the characters are flawed and genuine and not all are likable. I was stunned by the brilliant twist and completely glued to the pages until the very end. If you are looking for an entertaining read and don't mind a bit of darkness and chaos give this one a go.
"It's funny how easy it is, when it really comes down to it, to get up from your life and begin a new one. All you need is enough money to start you off, and a resolve to not think about the people you're leaving behind."
"Ben had been right-the moon was peerless, like it had been cut out with God's own scissors into a perfect circle of luminescence, just for them.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.