Over by Margaret Forster

Louise and Don’s daughter Miranda has died in a freak accident.  After her death and the initial grieving, Louise decides that, although devastated, she has to try and move on with her life.  However, the tragedy has affected Don tremendously and he becomes obsessed with finding someone or something to blame for it.  His obsession has torn their marriage and their family apart.  They have two remaining children – Molly (Miranda’s twin) and Finn.  The children have their own grief to deal with, but on the whole seem to be coping as well as can be expected.  However, the family is slowly being torn apart by Don’s obsession and Louise’s changing feelings towards her husband.

 

This is a beautifully written book.  Louise herself is the narrator, and I think the first person narrative helps the reader to empathise with her, and the other characters.   The book starts after Miranda’s death, and although the details of what happened to her are explained, the story centres on the aftermath and the struggle to come to terms with such a terrible event.

Each and every character is extremely well written and totally convincing.  It is easy to like Louise, and still be able to see her actions through the eyes of others.  Despite the fact that the others don’t narrate any part of the story, it is also easy for the reader to understand their actions and reactions.

Despite the subject matter, the book is not depressing, although it is very moving.  The author does not dwell entirely on the effect that the accident had on the family, but also portrays situations of complete normality, showing how their lives, while forever changed, must in some ways remain the same.

I have never read anything by Margaret Forster before, but this book has absolutely made me want to read more of her books.  This is a highly recommended book.

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