STILL WATERS - Camilla Noli

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Book Title: 
Still Waters
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Book Synopsis

In the suburbs, a young mother is looking after her two children.  She has been a successful career woman in control of her life, sexually aware and used to attracting any man's undivided attention ... if she wanted to.

But now her control is slipping away.  Motherhood is devouring her identity.  Her two children depend on her and her husband adores her new role in the home.  He is no longer focused on her.  Her children are stealing his affection.  Her own desires are secondary to everyone else's.

She wants to reclaim her sense of self, her power.  Just because she is a mother doesn't mean she will protect those she is supposed to love.

For her, everything is conditional.  And everyone is in danger.

Book Review

Normally I'd try to avoid doing this but I feel that I have to declare up front - I did not like this book.  Didn't enjoy it for one second - nothing in it was interesting, appealing or even remotely engaging.  So having said that, why?
One of the things that appeals to me least of anything in any books I read is blatant manipulation of a reader's emotional reactions - fortunately for me there's nothing in STILL WATERS that engendered any emotional reaction (other than boredom), so the manipulation could be seen for what it was.  We start with a mother, lovingly engaging with a new baby boy.  We have the difficult older child - a girl.  Maybe it's unconscious but it came across as a fairly blatant juxtaposition of the sexes.  Then we obviously needed a remote, cold father figure - more emotionally connected to the children than his wife, seemingly completely unaware of his wife's isolation.  And finally the wife - mother, a woman with some serious psychological problems and, for good measure, her own distant and cold mother to rub in the feelings of inadequacy.
So we have our cast of the good and the bad, set up in a manner that is obviously laying out what's to come with the rest of the book.  And there are absolutely and utterly no surprises.  The manipulation continues on - through the unnamed mother's actions (against everything that is seemingly "right" for a mother to do); with nobody else realising what is going on - ever!  We then have the final twist which is supposed to make you question everything you have understood about that unnamed mother.
Obviously none of this lack of connection was at all helped by associated publicity blurbs that come with the book where the author says the book is exploring the idea that not all women are naturally maternal or nurturing.  It came as somewhat of a surprise that we'd obviously be better off being psychopathic killers.

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