Tangled Lives by Hilary Boyd
Release Date - July 2014
Hachette Book Group
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
When she was 19, Annie Delancey gave up her infant son. She really had little choice. Her mother, headmistress of a respected girls' school, essentially gave her an ultimatum. She loved her newborn son though.
More than three decades later, Annie is happily married with two daughters and a son. Her children are all in their 20s and seem to be doing well with their lives. One morning a letter arrives - her firstborn wants to meet her.
Annie and her family are thrown into turmoil. While Annie is eager to connect with the son she had to give up, her husband, son, and daughters are not as convinced. Jealousy rears its head with both her son and husband, especially when Annie must approach the man she had a one-night stand with so many years ago and tell him that he has a son who wants to meet him.Annie is torn. She wants everything in one tidy package, but it appears that having it all could tear her family apart.
Tangled Lives is probably a very honest portrayal of a family's struggle with hidden secrets. I say "probably," because I've never been exposed to that situation. I got Annie's urgency to meet this son, but honestly, I felt her husband came off as a little juvenile. I didn't think much of him. Annie's mother, I really didn't like her. I understood the insane jealousy from the son a little better, but even then at his age, I would have expected better.
I think what I really hated is that the long-lost son ends up being blamed for a number of things that really were set in motion long before he entered the picture. I know my kids, similar in age to Annie's, to know that if I suddenly sprang news that they had a long-lost brother out there, they wouldn't act petulant. They'd question me for never telling them and then want push to meet him. On that front, I did struggle a bit, mainly because I wanted to reprimand a few characters for being so immature.
The story itself flows well and did leave me with tears in my eyes at certain points. I enjoyed Tangled Lives, but never connected enough to really love it.