Like I can Love by Kim Lock
Pan Macmillan, 2016
On a hot January afternoon, Fairlie Winter receives a phone call. Her best friend has just taken her own life. Jenna Rudolph, 26 years old, has left behind a devoted husband, an adorable young son and a stunning vineyard. But Fairlie knows she should have seen this coming. Yet Fairlie doesn't know what Jenna's husband Ark is hiding, nor does she know what Jenna's mother Evelyn did to drive mother and daughter apart all those years ago. Until Fairlie opens her mail and finds a letter. In Jenna's handwriting. Along with a key. Driven to search for answers, Fairlie uncovers a horrifying past, a desperate mother, and a devastating secret kept by those she loves the most. Heartbreaking and terrifying, Like I Can Love explores love in all its forms - from the most fragile to the most dangerous - and the unthinkable things we do in its name.
On International Women's Day 2017: This is an important book taking a serious issue – the epidemic of domestic violence and murder of woman by their partners in Australia – and placing it in an accessible 'Domestic Noir' genre. It's another book I read last year that was so strong it hasn't left me. This is always a guide to good writing.
The story is told in two related narratives that intertwine and intersect cleverly.
Kim Lock masterfully reveals the insidious and unrelenting molding and destructive pressure applied by husband, Ark on the heroine, Jenna. In doing so Lock skilfully widens the lens for her audience, broadening the scope of the issue and its breadth in Australia, how it effects all walks of life, rural and city folk, alike. That while it involves, rape and abuse, it often digs deeper than surface bruises and can use mental, psychological, and financial warfare to entrap a person.
There is beautiful language and imagery combined with a gritty earthy reality connected to the land and the rural life.
With all that said 'Like I Can Love' is foremost a tightly plotted, artfully constructed narrative with great, complicated characters and a evocative South Australian Wine Country setting that should appeal to an international audience.
'Like I can Love' is about to be released in the UK and Germany. 'The Good Mother' is the novel's international title. I encourage people to read it from a great new voice on the Australian writing scene. I can't wait to read Kim's new book when it is released.
by Sarah Ridout, Le Chateau, Echo Publishing 2016