by Isobel Blackthorne
Fiction: Literary Fiction/Metaphysical & Visionary. 242 Pages (KINDLE). Odyssey Books (August 27, 2016)
A Londoner originally, Isobel Blackthorn currently resides in Melbourne, Australia. She received her BA in Social Studies from the Open University, and has a PhD in Western Esotericism. She has worked as a high school teacher, market trader and PA to a literary agent. Her writing has appeared in Backhand Stories, The Mused Literary Review, On Line Opinion and Paranoia Magazine online. She is the author of the novels, Asylum, A Perfect Square and The Drago Tree, and the short story collection, All Because of You.
When pianist Ginny Smith moves back to her mother’s house in Sassafras after her breakup with the degenerate Garth, synaesthetic and eccentric artist Harriet Brassington-Smythe is beside herself and contrives a creative collaboration to lift her daughter’s spirits: an exhibition of paintings and songs. Ginny reluctantly agrees.
Mother and daughter struggle to agree on the elements of the collaborative effort, and as Ginny tries to prise the truth of her father’s disappearance from a tight-lipped Harriet, both are launched into their own inner worlds of dreams, speculations and remembering.
Meanwhile, another mother and artist, Judith, alone in a house on the moors, reflects on her own troubled past and that of her wayward daughter, Madeleine.
Set amid the fern glades and towering forests of the Dandenong ranges east of Melbourne, and on England’s Devon moors, A Perfect Square is a work of remarkable depth and insight.
A Perfect Square combines two mother-daughter stories into one book. Are their similarities? Yes, but not as many as you might think. Both mothers are artists and accustomed to living alone when the daughters decide it’s time to move back home due to the ending of relationships. There ends the similarities.
My favorite storyline was that of mother Judith and the young somewhat rebellious daughter Madeleine. The Judith/Madeleine story flowed well in the alternating structure the author chose. One chapter you have Judith and Madeleine, the next is Ginny and talented pianist daughter Harriet.
The two stories are linked by a mystery that is revealed in the final chapters. It was a surprise to me, although I think I should have realized if I had only known to look for it. The Ginny/Harriet story is obviously well researched from the various subjects discussed and how the author weaves them together to unite mother and daughter.
Review by: Ronovan Hester
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