Book Review: One Step Too Far – Tina Seskis

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‘They’ll be better off without me’ 

Heartbroken and pushed to her limit Emily makes a decision that many of us only dream of, she walks out of her life.

Have you ever looked at the departures board at a train station and just thought Why don’t I just go, leave all of this behind me and just leave? The answer? You have. You can lie to yourself all you want but each and every one of us at some point have just wanted to leave and start a fresh. At the start of the novel we don’t understand Emily’s motives but we are deeply aware something has gone wrong. Leaving with the memories of her husband and son Emily gets on a train to London and attempts not to look back. As she quickly learns the ways of a London runaway Emily, now reinvented as Cat, tries desperately to shake off her past although it always comes back to haunt her…

The novel is intertwined between a mix of characters, Emily, Cat, Ben, Caroline, Frances and Angel to name a few. While this makes One Step Too Far interesting and puts together the pieces of the puzzle it is also a little confusing at times. You generally know  who is speaking but there are always questions, where are they? What is the time period that this part is set in?  For example the novel starts from Emily’s perspective and it appears to be pretty straight forward, we are then transported to the birth of twin girls and a mother who simply does not have enough love for two. That quick change is very important to the novel later on but doesn’t seem to make much sense initially. I’m quite used to novels like this however I think that for some readers this may become pretty complicated. I don’t say this lightly, even I had to go back sometimes and re read to make sure I actually understood what was going on. There were some important things towards the end that I missed and others that didn’t make sense to me until a much later point, although I do believe this was Seskis’ intention.  This is true of the ending of the novel, about 90% of the way though I got very confused and a little frustrated because of a significant change. As my regular readers know I don’t like spoiling things for you so I can’t reveal why I was so irritated at one point.

Despite any irritation I felt towards the end (although may I add this was resolved by the last page), the character of Emily/Cat fascinated me. I feel that Seskis has tapped into a gold mine after creating this plot in the sense that anyone can relate to Emily. She relates to our wildest desires of simply uprooting and getting away with it. I’m not saying I want to just dispensary but everyone’s had days where they wish they could reinvent themselves or just start over. That said I feel that Emily was made into a real person, it’s impossible to like her all the time. I sat with book in hand feeling so many emotions, I smiled at the happy times, I despaired at her lowest, I absolutely loathed her at times, I laughed occasionally and I gasped as I finally got to her darkest secret (although I’ll admit I was a little confused too).

I would generally recommend this novel to friends as I do think it is a good read, that said I do feel that sometimes there are too many twists and turns (especially at the end). I’ll give the novel 3 stars because it reflects my feelings of being right in the middle. I do like the plot and the characters but at the same time I struggled at times with quite important aspects and even now after finishing feel I may need to go back and re read some parts. I also felt that the ending kind of took away from some of the realism of the novel as a whole, however I would still recommend this to a friend as a good read.

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