Oh, to be a Beloved—one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.
Betty Stash is not a Beloved—but her little sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She’s the one with the golden curls and sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family manse—a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens—that was never meant to be hers.
Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behavior—aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog—escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there’s a length to which an envious sister won’t go.
I’m super excited to be on The Beloveds blog tour with Titan Books today, and wow, what a book! I was hesitant going into this one as I’d seen some very mediocre reviews, but I needn’t have worried. This was absolutely enthralling and the perfect for my bookish tastes.
The writing is insanely captivating. We know that Betty is deranged but somehow Lindley has us siding with her? From the very start, I felt contempt towards Gloria and Henry, when really I should have been looking out for them. Without giving anything away, there is a crucial scene around halfway through where things don’t seem to be going as planned, which should really be a good thing considering Betty is the bad guy, but I actually found myself exclaiming “oh no!” and hoping the plan carried on as expected. I was siding with this evil, jealous sister because Lindley makes her voice so witty, intelligent and charming.
This book also featured my favourite type of narrator but in female form – she’s so malicious. I feel like she was even better than some of the others I love due to her pure hatred of everything. Patrick Bateman is a psychopath but he gets nervous and cares about what people think of him. William Heming is a creep but he makes an effort to be liked by his peers. Betty Stash cares about nothing other than her beloved house. Although her hard demeanour sometimes cracks when she shows emotions like guilt or love, which just makes her feel more like a real person.
A couple of the more mediocre reviews for this book state it’s a bit too long and drags in places, but I found it’s pacing perfect for the meat of the story. Similar to American Psycho, there is a reasonable amount of what appears to be simply banal filler, but it works so well in this type of book.
As for the story in this novel, honestly, it’s an unoriginal plot – of one person being insanely jealous of another – however, it is wholly original at the same time. Rather than a fixation on the person, on their lover, on their life, Betty is instead fixated on a house. She doesn’t care about money or having friends or even being in love, all she needs is her childhood home and she’ll be happy.
I can’t really say much more about this story without spilling out all its beautiful secrets. All I can say from here is that if you like a book with a slow pace, a mentally deranged, sinister narrator, beautiful writing, and a just-on-the-wrong-side-of-disturbed storyline – pick this up!!
Huge thank you to Titan Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.