15 October 2014

The Barter by Siobhan Adcock, Book review

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (September 4, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525954224
  • Also available in KINDLE format


A heart-stopping tale as provocative as is suspenseful, about two conflicted women, separated by one hundred years, and bound by an unthinkable sacrifice. 

The Barter is a ghost story and a love story, a riveting emotional tale that also explores motherhood and work and feminism. Set in Texas, in present day, and at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel follows two young mothers at the turning point of their lives.

Bridget has given up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter, joining a cadre of stay-at-home mothers seeking fulfillment in a quiet suburb. But for Bridget, some crucial part of the exchange is absent: Something she loves and needs. And now a terrifying presence has entered her home; only nobody but Bridget can feel it.

On a farm in 1902, a young city bride takes a farmer husband. The marriage bed will become both crucible and anvil as Rebecca first allows, then negates, the powerful erotic connection between them. She turns her back on John to give all her love to their child. Much will occur in this cold house, none of it good.

As Siobhan Adcock crosscuts these stories with mounting tension, each woman arrives at a terrible ordeal of her own making, tinged with love and fear and dread. What will they sacrifice to save their families—and themselves? Readers will slow down to enjoy the gorgeous language, then speed up to see what happens next in a plot that thrums with the weight of decision—and its explosive consequences.

My thoughts:

For the second time in so many days I found myself pulling away from a story that should have captivated my attention since the synopsis was enthralling. 
Imagine two complete different time periods, a ghost and two distinctive women bound by much of what I call society's conventions. 

In The Barter Siobhan Adcock writes a love story haunted by ghosts but she failed to engage my interest. 
Was it her description about the struggles of motherhood (I am a happy Mum!), the description of unhappy marriages (40 years and counting, still together and we hold hands in public!), the weight of society's approval/disapproval (I care not a whit about it) or was it the confusion I experienced towards the end?
Was is it exactly that bound both women a century apart?

After 300 pages +and remembering this is a debut novel, (an historical fiction, my favourite), I can only say it was perhaps just 'nice' (after all, I love reading!) but I will let readers judge for themselves. 

3 Stars!

Note: The following are reviews from other authors after reviewing The Barter:

“Absolutely outstanding. The Barter is a ghost story haunted by love, a love story haunted by ghosts, and a literary mystery propelled by the unsaid secrets of marriage and motherhood. In Adcock's world, you won't know whether it's fear, love, or outright beauty making your heart beat like a drum. You won't know, and you won't care at all. You'll just have to keep reading.”
–Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River and The Cradle

“The Barter is a delightful and utterly unique portrait of parenthood across the ages. Siobhan Adcock manages to express what is inexpressible about motherhood and marriage, deftly capturing the banal and the divine, the give and the take. As funny, profound, otherworldly, and terrifying as love itself, this is a debut novel not to be missed.” –Amy Shearn, author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn and How Far is the Ocean From Here.

Meet the Author:

Siobhan Adcock writes and edits fiction/non fiction books, articles covering food, family, travel, including short stories, personal essays including two humour books.

Visit her website (HERE)

Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of this book from SPARKPOINTS STUDIO as part of it's promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

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