A new captivating modern classic by Sadie Jones – a morality tale about human nature, money, power and unhappy families.
Bea and Dan, recently married, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic.
When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping.
Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its rotten core, and now neither Bea nor Alex can escape…
An utterly absorbing read about the dark side of wealth within a dysfunctional and abusive family. Sadie Jones has superbly written a novel that’s wonderfully dark and with the most brilliant mounting tension which I found hard to put down.
Her characters are so well drawn out and explained, mainly just through dialogue, that they materialised in front of me, off the page, as I read each scene.
Beatrice a psychotherapist and Dan an ex art student, but now working as an estate agent, live in a small flat in Holloway London. Bea loves her job, Dan hates his. Neither earn much and they are just about managing to pay the bills. In an almost desperate attempt to find themselves again and to help Dan take a step towards a fresh start, they decide to rent out their flat for a few months and travel down through Europe. First stopping off in France for a few days to visit Bea’s troubled brother Alex.
Beatrice comes from a very, very wealthy family, and although she hasn’t kept this a secret from Dan, she hasn’t actually gone into details about just how rich her parents are. There is also a story of abuse within her family and Bea has distanced herself from them. Coupled with her views on how her father came into his money, she refuses to take any ‘help’ or financial ‘gifts’ he offers.
Meeting up with Alex again brings feelings of sadness, guilt and anger back to Bea and with the unexpected arrival of her parents, opens Dan up to just how rich Bea’s father is and thoughts of what they could do with a share of this wealth.
On arrival at the hotel that Alex is presumably managing for his father, the book begins it’s much darker mood. The character of Alex, so very damaged and messed up is superbly evoked and the wonderful chilling tension that this book has begins to get bigger and bigger as you read more about this family.
The social messages within this book are many and form the foundation to this modern tale. I loved the underlying chilling atmosphere within this book, which is so marvellously evoked along with the author’s use of language. Deeper meanings are also explored through the writers use of vocab from the naming of the hotel rooms and characters and of course the snakes. This would make a great book club choice.
The ending is edge of your seat!!! And once started just has to be finished.
I found The Snakes a dark, atmospheric and totally gripping read.
Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Through My Letterbox for my spot on the tour.
The Snakes is Published by Vintage and is out in paperback February 20th.
SADIE JONES is a screenwriter and a #1 Sunday Times bestselling author. Her first novel, The Outcast won the Costa First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. It was also a Richard and Judy Summer Reads number one bestseller and adapted for BBC Television. Sadie also wrote: Small Wars (2009), The Uninvited Guests (2012) and Fallout (2014). Her fifth novel, The Snakes, was listed as ‘March book of the month’ in The Bookseller.