Desperate to enjoy their empty nest, Penny and Andeep downsize to the countryside, to forage, upcycle and fall in love again, only to be joined by their two twenty-something daughters, Asha and Camille.
Living on top of each other in a tiny house, with no way to make money, tensions simmer, and as Penny and Andeep focus increasingly on themselves, the girls become isolated, argumentative and violent.
When Asha injures Camille, a family therapist is called in, but she shrugs off the escalating violence between the sisters as a classic case of sibling rivalry … and the stress of the family move.
But this is not sibling rivalry. The sisters are in far too deep for that.
This is a murder, just waiting to happen…
Chilling, vicious and darkly funny, Keep Her Sweet is not just a tense, sinister psychological thriller, but also a startling look at sister relationships and the bonds they share … or shatter.
Hi and welcome to my review of Keep Her Sweet and can I just say Christ in a dental van, WTF did I just read!
It was that time again, I’m sure you know it, when you’ve finished your current read(s) and the time has come to choose a new one and you have no clue whatsoever what you want to read or what you’re in the mood for. Instead of continuing to dilly-dally I decided to pick up Keep Her Sweet, since Helen Fitzgerald always delivers multi-layered and fast-paced stories that have a little of everything and captivate me whatever my mood may be. Keep Her Sweet was no exception.
Keep Her Sweet centres around Australia’s most dysfunctional family and their rather dysfunctional therapist, told from the perspectives of the mum, the youngest daughter and the therapist.
Mum and dad, in an attempt to flee the empty nest that their two twenty-something daughters left behind, have moved to a small dwelling in the middle of nowhere. They will upcycle, do arts and crafts, sell everything they create, be free and happy, all while also rekindling their love. Of course that’s easier said than done and when both daughters turn up, both rather messed-up and one decidedly violent, things escalate quickly.
At the youngest daughter’s insistence, a family therapist is called in. This therapist, however, does not quite have all her ducks in a row either. A widow in her seventies, she’s broke and has gone back to counselling to ensure she can tide herself over until her 85th birthday. (She’ll probably be dead well before that, and even if she lives longer, no one older than 85 is having fun anyway, so who cares if she’s dirt poor and homeless by then.) It’s rather sad for a therapist to find joy in other people’s misery, if only because her own family life seems less dysfunctional in comparison, just saying.
I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, but they sure are fascinating creatures! With things snowballing like they do, I felt like I was waiting for disaster to strike, for the accident to happen and I couldn’t tear my eyes away!
What starts out as a pretty common dysfunctional family soon descends into deep dark madness. Some books make me regret I don’t have a sister, Keep Her Sweet was not one of those.
I probably shouldn’t have had this much fun with what is in fact a rather dark and violent story, but I did, it was just oodles of fun! If you like the acerbic humour in this author’s Worst Case Scenario, or you enjoy Will Carver’s dark humour, Keep Her Sweet is one you won’t want to miss.
A shortish novel that packs quite a punch, Keep Her Sweet tackles heavy themes ranging from an all-encompassing loneliness and desire to be loved to domestic violence and drug abuse, but it does so with flair and a sense of humour that undeniably lightens the mood. Keep Her Sweet is a highly original read that breathes new life into a well-trodden genre. Highly recommended!
Keep Her Sweet will be out in digital formats and paperback on 26 May. Pre-order it directly from Orenda Books here.