Friday, September 15, 2017
Book Review: 'One Step Too Far' by Tina Seskis
"One Step too Far," by Tina Seskis, focuses on twins girls who are physically identical but whose personalities could not be more dissimilar. Emily Brown entered the world one hour before her sister Caroline, and their mother, in spite of her good intentions, clearly favored Emily. The older twin grew up to be kind, placid, and accomplished, while the "strung out" Caroline turned into an aggressive, self-destructive, and volatile adult.
Seskis has written an involving and complex tale in which Emily affectingly narrates her story. It seems that she has experienced a devastating trauma: we do not know what sent such a secure and content woman off the rails. For some reason, this blissfully happy wife and mother decides to leave Manchester and start over in London. The author shifts back and forth between past and present and occasionally checks in on how her other characters are faring. "One Step too Far" demands patience; Seskis is in no hurry to fill in the gaps that would make the picture complete.
This is a fast-paced and compelling debut work of fiction by a talented storyteller. Seskis hooks us immediately; we eagerly turn pages to find what will happen next. The finely tuned dialogue and figurative language eloquently express each person's mood and perspective on life. Although Emily makes odd choices at times that not everyone will condone, most readers will sympathize with her struggle. Be warned, however, that "One Step too Far" requires a sizeable suspension of disbelief. This is especially true in the concluding pages, when a number of disparate elements come together in unlikely ways. Still, Seskis deserves credit for creating an intense and eloquent tale of passionate love, virulent hatred, and devastating loss. Its suspenseful plot and the issues that it explores--among them, the consequences of inadequate parenting, the unforeseen complications that can destroy a marriage, and the challenges inherent in forgiving oneself and others--make "One Step too Far" a fine choice for fans of angst-laden psychological thrillers. (Four and a half stars)
Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right