Before I begin my review of this book I have some exciting news! Next Monday, the 21st of June, there will be an interview with Angela Jackson, right here on the blog. So, please drop by on Monday to find out more about this very talented author.
Every once in a while I read a book whereby I am so engrossed that real life becomes an irritation. It intrudes upon the fictional world that I have become so completely absorbed by. This was one of those books that I could not put down. A series of conveniently short chapters found me promising myself "just one more before I turn the light out and go to sleep." One more chapter quickly turned into ten... or twenty.
This is Angela Jackson's second novel to be published. I read The Emergence of Judy Taylor back in 2013 when it was first published and you can read my review by clicking here. In fact, it made it into my top ten books of the year because I enjoyed it so much.
In fact, in that review I said, "Angela Jackson... is a new writer to watch and if this book is anything to judge by, she will produce some outstanding writing." And indeed she has done just that. Sometimes it is very gratifying to be able to say, "I told you so."
Although Mark is the central character, Ms. Jackson has made her other characters so real that my sympathies were not solely with Mark but with Sadie and Ruby too. There were times when I wanted to shake all three of them because, as the reader, I could anticipate the potential pitfalls in which they might fall.
In Mark, the author has created an extremely complex character and I frequently found my sympathies to be in juxtaposition. At times I felt empathy towards him. At other times his apparent selfishness rankled as he messed with the lives and emotions of others. However, he is a realistic character who demonstrates that both love and life are rarely straightforward.
As much as I enjoyed reading the author's first work, her writing has matured during the interval between the two novels. The Darlings is a sophisticated book which compels the reader to be empathetic and to laugh and cry simultaneously.
I unreservedly recommend this novel and feel confident that it will make it into my top ten books at the end of this year also.