Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: 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.
The Beloveds left me with some mixed feelings. I love stories where the main character is twisted, and Betty is definitely someone with major issues. From her creepy obsession with her childhood home, Pitpits, to her pathological resentment of her sister Gloria which goes back to their childhood, she’s an unlikable narrator who only cares about one person: herself. She’s quite the complex personality who resents beautiful people, but loves beautiful things. The problem I ran into with her, was for the first half of the book, her complaints just seemed to drone on and on which I found tedious after awhile.
The other problem I had was, that I found it unfathomable that no one, especially Betty’s sister Gloria and her husband Henry, never seemed to catch on to how dangerous she really was. Betty is highly intelligent, but she’s not very good at hiding her contempt and indifference toward others. And once she starts acting on her obsessions, I just expected them to catch on. I mean Gloria has a background in psychology but is absolutely clueless in regards to her sister’s mental health issues.
In the second half of the book, the pace picks up considerably, as Betty goes further down the rabbit hole and begins to put her scheming into action, but I was disappointed in the anticlimactic ending.
The Beloveds had moments of intrigue and tension-filled suspense, but in the end, I was left wanting more from both the characters and the story. I am very much in the minority with my opinion though, as the book has received a majority of 4-5 star reviews on Goodreads. So, if you like contemporary fiction with a Gothic feel and stories narrated by twisted, unreliable characters, I still recommend this.