Blog Tour: Keep Her Sweet, Helen Fitzgerald 

Book Review: Keep Her Sweet, Helen Fitzgerald 

 

Keep Her Sweet

Thriller: Keep Her Sweet, Helen Fitzgerald 

Blog Tour May 16, 2022

 

Some stories sneak up on you, leading you to think they are going in one direction and then suddenly veering in a new direction. Others make no secret of where they are going, though the details of how they get there only get revealed in the process of the writing. Keep Her Sweet is the second type of story. Almost from the first page the tension starts to mount. This never feels like a story with a happy ending. The only question is just how tragic it is going to be.

 

Asha and Camille are sisters, the adult daughters of Ardeep and Valerie. After the girls went away to college, Ardeep and Valerie bought a small house away from the city, hoping to rekindle their relationship and perhaps explore their creativity. When COVID hit, Camille returned home and had not left. Then, Asha showed up, accompanied by police and with an ankle tracker on her leg. Instead of them living with reasonable personal space in their large suburban home, they were now crammed into a much smaller space in a much smaller community, the two young women sharing a room and the tensions escalating from page to page.

 

The other character in this drama is Joy. A family counselor trying to help them, she is confronting issues with her own adult daughter who became a meth addict in her early forties. 

 

Joy is called to help the family after Camille’s nose is broken. Both women initially say it happened while they were playing netball. That’s not wrong…but far from complete. They were playing netball and Asha lost her temper and struck Camille with the ball. Instead of throwing the ball, Asha used the ball to beat her sister.

 

Joy offers some suggestions: give each woman her own room, have the parents take a short vacation to restore their equilibrium. Still, tensions within the family continue to boil, stress between the girls becomes more physical, and it becomes painfully evident to the readers if not to the therapist that a tragedy is going to happen.

 

Helen Fitzgerald’s story is set in Australia, but it could have been set almost anywhere. The real setting of the story is the family itself. Every member is broken, every member is trying desperately to find a way to move forward, and every member knows exactly the buttons to push to wound other family members. Because of her legal troubles, Asha is trapped in the home. Despite her longing to escape, Camille keeps promising to look after her family. Their parents also feel trapped and want to break free from the house, from their lives, from the family. The ties that bind families can be comforting and secure. They can also be restrictive and tight. No one can support you like your family. No one can tear you apart like your family, either.

 

I am sure Ms. Fitzgerald is a very nice person, but she has a frightening insight into the potential evil of the human soul. This is a difficult book to read. A list of “trigger warnings” might be almost half the length of the book itself. It is a dark and intense read. There are plenty of victims and plenty of perpetrators in the story. It’s easy to sympathize with their plight, but ultimately their choices only bring more tragedy down. Read it with caution: I found myself still emotionally troubled by it several hours after I finished reading.

 

It is a very good book. Definitely one that makes you look at yourself and wonder, “Could I do that?” I hope I never find out.

 

Keep Her Sweet, Helen Fitzgerald 
Helen Fitzgerald, Author

Keep Her Sweet, Helen Fitzgerald 

Our thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for our copy of Keep Her Sweet, given so we could participate in this blog tour. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives on this book, check out the other bloggers on this tour.

 

Keep Her Sweet

Book Review: Keep Her Sweet, Helen Fitzgerald 

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