I love Sperling’s books. She writes with such wit and her characters are terrific, she really brings them to life. Frequently I read along, shaking my head positively because I can relate to the characters. This book is a little different from her previous endeavors in that this is a story of crime and the kind that is nothing short of horrific. Don’t stop reading because you hate horror – Sperling is never graphic, never detailed about the crime, she just gives you a few facts and then takes you on the emotional rollercoaster ride of the evil that can exist in the world, even as trivial as children’s name-calling.
The book is based on a large extended family, with the granddaughter of the matriarch being the main character. Lisbet, named after the family’s matriarch, Elisabet, is now a grandmother herself who cherishes the time with her own granddaughter. Her immediate family is pretty good but her extended family is highly dysfunctional and it seems that the root of it all is a deadly combination of narcissism and greed.
When the Matriarch died she left behind a successful potato farm on a huge estate where several of the family members live, each in their own house. Unfortunately, they do not all get along and a few seek to hurt others. Lisabet has, for the most part, learned to keep to herself and focus on the good things in her life, except she just does not understand why the one side of the family hates her and she cannot let it go. Desperate to find out and move forward from her childhood, in part to protect her own granddaughter, she begins to ask questions and pay attention to what is going around, and maybe even snoop a little.
What comes out will leave you with mixed feelings of sadness and relief as what comes out of the bad is good. Sperling offers the reader a sense of what real life is like and how to make lemonade out of rotten lemons.