When Ruth Jones was first launched as a novelist, I was intrigued. I wasn't a viewer of 'Gavin and Stacey' but knew her for her other acting parts, and obviously her reputation in writing this very successful sitcom.
However, I read the blurb for the book and didn't feel drawn to the subject matter.
But I've had to take up this novel for research and found it to be very good indeed.
The subject is difficult - Kate and Callum had an affair when Callum was the father of a young family. When the relationship was exposed, he chose to remain with his wife and they rebuilt their relationship. Kate went on to become a successful actress. A visit to her old school led Kate to meet Callum again and they renew their relationship. Naturally there are devastating consequences.
The book is written in flashbacks and from different perspectives and it's expertly handled.
The characterisation is fabulous because the reader can empathise with every perspective of what is a horrible situation for those involved (though I didn't like Kate, and Callum's affection for her seemed in conflict with other aspects of his personality, I felt).
I found that the story was well paced, and I didn't want to put the book down.
While the author presents the destructive impact of the couple's decisions, the book isn't so angst-ridden to be painful to read, I found. It is astonishing how the reader is kept at a distance so that they do not feel wrung-through by the events, yet they are so attached to the characters that they don't want to stop reading.
I think this is a brilliant read but hope that Ruth Jones chooses a more uplifting subject for her next novel.