Heroes and heroines should be handsome, clever and talented. Lauren Groff has provided us with a pair of gilded beings to star in FATES AND FURIES. Lancelot, known as Lotto to his friends, is a cookie cutter hero. Tall, handsome, rich, clever and popular. That he is too tall or that his good looks are marred by acne scars simply serve to make him even more attractive. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth his childhood idyll is destroyed by the death of his father and being sent away to school. No matter, he is rich, handsome and popular and so proceeds to sleep with almost any woman he stumbles across. Mathilde is a different kettle of fish. Also beautiful and clever but reserved and unpopular. So beautiful that she is a model. No silver spoon for her, in fact she seems to have sprung from nowhere. She has no family.
Our hero and heroine see each other across a crowded room and it is love at first sight. They marry almost immediately much to the horror of his mother, who cuts him off without a penny. Not that that matters to our gilded heroes. So his acting career comes to nothing and she has to work to support them both in their dreary basement flat. All is well when he writes a play. She morphs into the perfect supportive wife in the background. They are in love, faithful and successful. The only fly in the ointment is their childlessness. Around them swirl a set of friends.
That’s that, all perfectly lovely. The first half of the book trickles on with bad things happening but ultimately all goes well. In the middle a handbrake turn is executed. Lauren Groff is an expert at dropping small morsels of information at our feet. They look like one thing and then, when viewed from a different direction, take on a whole new meaning. Being effortlessly beautiful, happy and successful takes hard work and lots of deception. That perfect marriage that you see, maybe not so perfect after all.
Broadly I loved FATES AND FURIES, the twisting of the viewpoint making you see things in a different light was very clever. There are moments when I wanted to shout at book that it was all to unbelievable. What kind of a mother would behave in the way that Lotto’s did? Then I open the newspaper and read a true story of a family dysfunction and realise that there is nowt so queer as folk. Well worth a read.
DISCLAIMER: I was sent a review copy via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
FATES AND FURIES by Lauren Groff
Published by Cornerstone
Paperback £7.99, Kindle £1.99