What the blurb says: “Greece, 1980: You are a bright young woman with a brilliant future ahead of you. Then you do the worst possible thing a person could do to someone else: you are guilty of the greatest transgression. How do you go on to live a life?
Now: To the outside observer, Kate Barratt has it all: the wealthy husband who was once mistaken for George Clooney, the brilliant, feisty daughter, two homes in London and Cornwall, and understated designer wardrobe and a satisfying sideline as figurehead for a worthwhile charity. But all is not as comfortable as it seems, because Kate harbours a terrible secret that no-one in her current life knows anything about. A secret that hails back to a different time, when she was a skinny, dirty, punk-haired teenager who took too many drugs and nearly threw herself off an Athens hostel roof.
Then, one day, in Starbucks near Tottenham Court Road Tube Station, that secret appears out of the past to face her. Can Kate carry on with the life she has built for herself? Or does it mean that everything is completely, irrevocably, changed?”
It’s very hard to review this book within giving any spoilers, but I’ll do what I can!
Set across two points in time, and two countries, Julia Crouch artfully weaves the story of what happened to Emma – a young, naïve and curious teenage traveller on her first visit to Greece in 1980, with that of present day Kate – a wealthy wife and mother, and founder of international children’s charity ‘Martha’s Wish’.
Packed with suspense, each scene of the book reveals a little more of the horrific chain of events that Kate has tried her whole life to keep hidden, and the extreme lengths she has gone to in order to do so. Kate is a compelling character, so damaged by her past and the grief of losing her youngest daughter, yet desperate to atone for what happened and driven to make a difference through her charity work. When a person from her past tracks her down, Kate’s secret past collides with her present and threatens to destroy all she has worked for, and puts those she loves into the very danger she has sought her whole adult life to avoid.
This dark and chilling story of love, betrayal and guilt shows how one moment of violence can result in a chain reaction that continues across the decades. Highly atmospheric, with fabulously flawed and complex characters, and a super twisty plot, it’s a great read.
The Long Fall is domestic noir at its very best.
[Many thanks to Headline for my copy of The Long Fall]