Book Review: Alys, Always by Harriet Lane

Alys, Always by Harriet Lane
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Phoenix

Summary:  Frances is a thirty-something sub-editor, an invisible production, drone on the books pages of the Questioner. Her routine and colourless existence is disrupted one winter evening when she happens upon the aftermath of a car crash and hears the last words of the driver, Alys Kyte. When Alys's family makes contact in an attempt to find closure, Frances is given a tantalising glimpse of a very different world: one of privilege and possibility. The relationships she builds with the Kytes will have an impact on her own life, both professionally and personally, as Frances dares to wonder whether she might now become a player in her own right. 

I'd been looking forward to reading this one for a while because the summary pulled me in. I must say that I didn't enjoy this one as much as I'd thought I would. Frances, our narrator, ingratiates herself to the family of Alys (of the title), a woman she comes upon by chance after a car accident that proves fatal. Frances was privy to the final words of Alys & when meeting the woman's greiving family, she chooses to embellish them & ultimately uses that connection as her in to their world. I don't know if Frances was a narcissist, social climber or some other sort of obsessive but I did come to regard her as an unreliable narrator because she gave such self-serving a view of virtually everything and was also hyper-obsessed with how others saw her & painted herself almost like a martyr being put upon by her boring and staid life and everyone who peopled it, except the Kytes. I didn't buy the relationship that happens in the final act but I honestly didn't feel annoyed that Frances manipulated her way in successfully. I didn't know if she really truly cared about the Kytes outside a means of escaping her own drudge of a life but the Kytes were never rendered so deeply that I cared much ultimately. This one was just ok for me but it was short & it's one more I've finally got round to on my "To Read" list, so I'm still pleased. It's not a bad book for a weekend or over the week during lunch.

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