I recently reviewed Dawn Barker’s Fractured. I went to great lengths not to reveal the critical plot point (and hoped other reviewers would do the same). I’m exercising the same careful approach in this review of Kylie Ladd’s latest novel, Into My Arms.
For that reason, it may not seem much of a ‘review’ however I think when an author and a publisher have gone to great pains to write a jacket blurb that is enticing yet not too revealing, that should be respected. The blurb of Into My Arms reads –
When Skye meets Ben their attraction is instantaneous and intense. Neither of them has ever felt more in synch – or in love – with anyone in their lives. What happens next will tear them both apart.
And I’m not going to tell you much more about the story other than that. And that what happens next is shocking. And a relevant issue in modern society. And your worst nightmare. I hope you are suitably intrigued because Into My Arms is a gripping read.
Ladd is excellent at creating ‘normal’ characters – people who are very likeable but with their share of flaws. Given the particular circumstances created in this story, the main characters acted in a realistic and believable way. As I was reading, I had the terrible feeling that there was no happy ending for these characters.
Ladd has been likened to Jodi Picoult. I’m not a fan of that comparison, simply because I find Picoult’s stories formulaic and Ladd’s are anything but. Ladd’s writing style is clean and straightforward but nevertheless is still emotional and studded with detail.
“He missed his parents too: Mary’s blue eyes, her rosary beads and her soups; his father’s long stride across the paddocks.”
Notably, she takes you to a climatic edge at a few points during the book and at each, leaves you dangling for a few pages, before setting you down safely (although given the subject matter, there is no safe ground) – a true page-turner!
I received an advance copy of Into My Arms from the publisher, Allen & Unwin, in exchange for an honest review. Into My Arms was read as part of Australian Literature Month hosted by Reading Matters and the Australian Women Writers Reading Challenge.
3.5/5 Last Summer remains my favourite of Ladd’s books however Into My Arms is gripping in a different way, predominantly because of the subject matter.
The food references are mostly Iranian and Syrian. Go straight for the mezze.