I am so excited to be part of Amanda Robson’s Obsession blog tour today, and I will be sharing with you my thoughts on her debut novel and an article about one of the four characters. I have to admit to finding it hard to write my review for Obsession (I always seem to find it difficult to write reviews of books I love) so hope I have managed to do this great debut some justice.
Obsession is the debut novel by Amanda Robson and it certainly got under my skin. It revolves around four friends, two couples, who find their lives in a turbulent spiral of deceit and fixation when Rob, the husband of Carly answers her ‘Who else would you go for, if you could?’ question honestly. I don’t want to talk about the plot in any way as you need to experience Obsession for yourself and come to your own conclusions without outside influence.
The events that unfold are told in first person narrative by Carly, Rob, Jenni and Craig, giving the reader, what should be, unprecedented access to their thoughts and feelings. Throughout, I didn’t know whose version of events to believe and who to trust. I adore an unreliable narrator and Obsession has them in abundance. Robson cleverly pulls this off, with each chapter being perfectly crafted, leaving you doubting your own thoughts as you turn each page. Maximum impact is further created with short, punchy chapters and a rhythm that is wonderfully dark in tone. As the book progresses you can’t shift the unease and sense of foreboding that sits with you and increases with each chapter.
This is a novel that lends itself perfectly to discussion. It twists and turns, raising issues you weren’t expecting to come across. Mental health, adultery, religious beliefs, honesty and maternal instincts are all in there along with, as the title suggests, compulsive infatuation. Every time you put the book down, part of it is scorched into your mind and you can’t help but mull over what you have read. The big questions that arose for me were: are we too quick to judge someone who has suffered with mental health difficulties as paranoid if they raise what seem to be outlandish concerns? And how far can someone hide who they really are? I adore a book that entertains me whilst also getting the old cerebral juices going, and Obsession hit the mark perfectly.
A novel that explores the darker side of human nature within ordinary people, Obsession will have you infatuated from the first chapter. The need to know and understand the thoughts and behaviour of the characters becomes like an itch you can’t scratch. A fantastic debut novel that is well-written and simultaneously dark and heart-breaking, Robson is an author to keep an eye on in the future.
Obsession centres around four characters. Rob is the husband of Carly, he is a well-respected, much loved local GP and father of three. Amanda tells us more about Rob…
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Rob
1. When he was in the sixth form he was intending to apply to study law not medicine. He changed his mind at the last minute and decided to read medicine, almost on a whim, after watching a TV documentary about GP’s. Sometimes he regrets it, especially when his patients are being difficult.
2. When he was a teenager he was an atheist for a while. Looking back he thinks he was just rebelling against the inevitable before he accepted the truth. It is quite common for religious people to have had a period of atheism, apparently. Or at least that is what a lay-preacher once told him. At that stage of his life he felt angry about lots of things, including God. He didn’t want to think about an omnipotent being having control over his life. But one day he saw an old film of Billy Graham preaching in America and all of a sudden Jesus’s story made sense. A new world fell into place. A rational world of kindness, hope and forgiveness. He felt a lightness in his heart. He still feels that sense of release whenever he prays to the Lord.
3. Rob does fifty sit ups every night before he goes to bed, and fifty bench presses when he gets up in the morning, listening to Two Pac or Notorious BIG. He listens to rap to get himself riled up. When he is riled he works harder.
4. Rob smoked cigarettes all the way through his medical course. By the time he took his finals he was on two packs of B & H a day. He always kept the second pack carefully hidden from Carly, and swapped it around at an appropriate moment so that she thought he only got through about twenty, not forty. He used to smoke cigars as well. When Pippa was born he finally managed to give up because passive smoking would damage his daughter’s health. Perhaps if he lives until ninety he will go back to it.
A huge thank you to Amanda Robson and Helena Sheffield for the advance copy of Obsession and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.
Obsession was published by Avon on eBook on 1 May 2017 and paperback on 1 June 2017.
Follow the rest of the tour…