Welcome to the dark heart of the family - the secrets we keep, the memories we treasure and the relationships we feel bound to, but long to escape.
Edward and Isobel haven't spoken for years and live on opposite sides of the Atlantic. When their mother, Mary, dies unexpectedly, they are thrown together to sort through the family home. With Julie, Edward's diffident but devoted girlfriend, making an awkward third, each stumbles through the practicalities and funeral preparations, trying to make sense of their emotions and their feelings towards one another.
Then Isobel makes a disturbing discovery and her fateful decision has consequences for them all, challenging their beliefs about the past, hopes for the future, and understanding of Mary's role in keeping them at once apart and together.
This utterly immersive novel is rich with insightful and wickedly comic observations of family members behaving badly in stressful situations - of sibling rivalries, a parent torn between the two, and a grieving process that takes time to unfold.
Beginning in a small coastal town during the Spring Bank Holiday, the novel moves forward through the point of view of each of the characters in turn, and culminates on Christmas Eve.
'I don't think I've ever read a more assured or compelling debut. This is beautifully written, sometimes sad, often funny.' Elly Griffiths
'Original, surprising, and immensely skilled... twisting in unexpected directions and keeping the reader on their toes throughout. Underneath the gentle suburban drama, here is an intricately crafted plot featuring three fascinating characters - this is a fantastically assured debut.' The Bookbag
'Fiction should reach far beneath the surface of life and The Favourite does that with conviction and restraint. Written in precise, stylish prose, it gradually unveils a world of secrets and regret that is real, engaging, and subtly comic. A notable debut from a writer to look out for.' Adam Baron
'Berlin's portrayal of family and loss - from the everyday tensions to the greatest of unspoken truths - is both subtle and profoundly touching. I loved it.' Isabel Ashdown
About the author:
S. V. Berlin was born and raised in London. She has worked as a copywriter, facilitator, speechwriter and wilderness Search-and-Rescue professional. She lives in Manhattan.
Also available as an eBook
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Myriad Editions (3 Aug. 2017)
Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm