Damn, Liane, why you gotta do my girl Catriona like that?
I love that Moriarty doesn’t spare any of her heroes or demonize her villains utterly, but this was as brutal to Catriona as any of Moriarty’s writing is capable. I won’t lie and say that it didn’t have a lot to do with seeing a lot of myself in Cat, the triplet (with flighty spacey Gemma and no-nonsense Lyn rounding out the trio) whose mundane happiness is made more interesting with a cynical streak, but could ANYTHING – like any one life event – go in that woman’s favor?
The always sparky writing from Moriarty is diminished for me by her torturing her character so thoroughly. When her husband’s infidelity is compounded by the realization her sister once had a relationship with him prior to their marriage, Cat’s reaction was both irrational and understandable, and it seemed as though the double rifts in her closest relationships might be her trial. But then shit. Just. Keeps. Happening.
I don’t want to spoil all the plot, even if I predicted what happened in the in-medias-res opening fight between the sisters pretty much immediately. But Moriarty doesn’t tend to rub salt in her characters wounds like she does repeatedly with Cat, and a tacked on hint at a happy ending doesn’t quite mitigate the gauntlet of suffering the woman was put through.
The book is still overall pretty great, and I quite liked Gemma (I do wonder what the book would have been like had Lyn and Gemma been one character and the dynamic had been between twins rather than triplets; Lyn felt tacked on even if she had good moments). As always, Moriarty excels at seeing her characters from multiple perspectives, and the interstitial observations of the triplets from random people was clever, but man, couldn’t cat win the lottery at the end of this thing? Or maybe have her husband die in a fiery plane crash? I don’t need perfect endings for all the characters I love, but their suffering should at least be related to a personal failing (as it initially was with Cat’s overblown reaction to her sister, and arguably her husband initially) instead of bad things repeatedly being visited upon them. It’s still a good read, but I’m deducting a star and I demand a sequel where Cat gets a unicorn.