Browsing the shelves of my local book shop, I likely would not have given Jan Ellison's A Small Indiscretion a second look, to be honest. It was not my usual read, but I really, really enjoyed it. For a taste, here is the back jacket description:
At nineteen, Annie Black trades a bleak future in her washed-out hometown for a London winter of drinking and abandon. Some two decades later, in San Francisco, she is a successful lighting designer married to a good man, and the mother of three children. Then, one June morning, a photograph arrives in her mailbox, igniting an old longing and setting off a chain of events that threaten to overturn her family's hard-won happiness. When Annie returns to London seeking answers, her indiscretions come to light, and she must piece together the mystery of her past - the fateful collision of liberation and sexual desire that drew an invisible map of her future.What I found, though, was a great surprise. A Small Indiscretion was a fun read, with twists and turns so sharp that it can't fit into just one genre. It flew from a mystery to a drama in just the flip of a page, and I really loved the flow and fit of the story into each of its' different settings.
The story follows Annie Black, a lighting designer and the owner of a light shop called the Salvaged Light in San Francisco. She has what seems like the perfect life, with her husband, doctor Jonathan, and three children; Polly, Clara, and Robbie, the oldest. Everything seemed to be going well, until she received a mysterious photo in the mail, a photo from a past in London long ago.
Split into parts, the first portion of the story steadily creeps along in a multitude of different times, from the present day in the voice of a mother to her injured son, to the past in London. In London, Annie was a different girl - 19 years old, in search of an education. What she did find was an education and a job, working for a man much older than she, named Malcolm. A Christmas in London with Malcolm and his family set the stage for a photograph that would haunt her and wound her family, even many years later. Coincidentally, she also met her husband on that trip, but the two lives intertwined to create Annie's history, whether or not she wanted to face it.
With well-developed characters working together to create an entertaining story, A Small Indiscretion is a wonderful debut novel from Jan Ellison, and was a real surprise to this reader. I would definitely recommend it make your to-read list. And since it releases tomorrow, January 20, 2015, you will be able to read for yourselves.
Disclaimer: This review was part of a paid blog book tour, courtesy of Random House and 20 Something Bloggers. I received an advance copy of the novel from Random House free of charge.
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