The Gulf Between, Maxine Alterio
THE GULF BETWEEN is a slow burner, suspense thriller of the deceptively laid back variety. From the opening chapter there's something hypnotically understated about the way that the story of Julia is woven. A combination family saga and personal journey, it's the discovery of a seriously injured foreigner not far from Julia's Queenstown hideway that reveals a story that started forty-something years ago, in London, through Italy, and back to New Zealand.
Provided to me as a suspense / crime novel, it read as a major family saga, dealing with the consequences of crime, in particular it's a woman dealing with the circumstances of her life and the results of decisions made. It heads, languidly for the opening chapters, towards a darker, more sinister place reasonably quickly, but beware, in the early stages the details are sketched out, the suspense coming from not knowing, more than knowing. Right up until a bombshell of an ending, that probably with a bit of clearheaded regard you might have seen coming, but the level of involvement, and investment in Julia's current telling of her story, meant that this reader was looking here, when she probably could have been seeing things over there.
Of course, THE GULF BETWEEN is also blatantly emotional, tugging at the heart strings, portraying Julia at her most vulnerable, scared and confused. So when I say family saga, what I'm talking about is relationships, marriages, in-laws and relatives, children and living in different cultures and in other people's homes, under their rules. It exposes the potential of misplaced trust, and how your belief in others can go very wrong. And the price that some people pay for choices made.
Under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, love, lies and disenchantment lead to a menacing showdown in this suspense-filled novel.
A foreigner is seriously injured not far from Julia's safe Queenstown hideaway.
Why does he have her name in his wallet?
His unexpected arrival takes Julia back forty-five years to London, where as an impulsive young woman she first met Benito Moretti - a meeting that was to change her life, taking her to the glittering Gulf of Naples. There Julia found herself pitted against her belligerent mother-in-law and Benito's sinister brother in a lethal battle for her husband and children.
Julia remembered her father saying, We're all as sick as our secrets. Words that still haunt her.