Born Bad by Josephine Cox

Harry Blake and his young son Tom suffer a tragedy when Harry’s wife Sara dies after a painful illness.

Harry  returns to Fishers Hill, the village where he spent his childhood, in order to recover from the heartbreak and find comfort for himself and his son.  But coming back only brings Harry more turmoil as he finds himself urgently seeking out Judy Roberts, the woman he abandoned in Fishers Hill 18 years earlier when he was just a young man.

Judy is now married to a thuggish brute named Phil Saunders, who has taken away all of her independence and strength.  She aches for Harry, her lost love, who she drove away when she had deceived him years earlier.  Little does she know that Harry is returning to the village, determined to make amends for the past…

This is the first novel by Josephine Cox that I have ever read.  Considering how prolific a writer she is, I expected far more from it, but was sadly disappointed.  There was virtually no characterisation – every person in the story either lacked any personality at all, or was a typical stereotype.  It also grated that the main character, who was so obviously being portrayed as a decent heroic man, seemed so able to forget his wife and immediately decide he was in love with another woman (there were a few cursory mentions of Sara later on in the book, which appeared to be there purely to remind the reader that Harry had loved Sara and had not instantly started to forget her, but they didn’t alter the fact that he seemed almost dismissive of their life together).  I also felt that the story went round and round in circles, and at times, I felt as though despite having read another 50 or pages, the plot was at exactly the same stage that it had been at before I had started them.  Finally, there was great deal of over-explaining – it was as though the author felt the need to explain to the reader exactly what was going on, even when it was completely obvious.

It’s not all bad however – there were two twists in the tale at the end, neither of which I saw coming.  Unfortunately though, it was too little too late for me, and I felt a sense of relief when I finished the book.

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