Betty Stash is not a Beloved – one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.
Her little sister, the delightful Gloria, is the one with the golden curls and sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family manse – a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens – that was never meant to be hers.
Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behaviour escalates to the point of no return.
An exploration of domestic derangement, as sinister as Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, The Beloveds will have you wondering if there is any length to which an envious sister won’t go.
As always, I’d like to thank the lovely people at Titan Books for sending me an ARC of this book and inviting me to take part in the blog tour! Please see do check out everyone else taking part in this tour, it’s a great way to meet new bloggers!
First I just want to say that I really love the cover, I think it fits the story really well and looking at it, you can tell that it’s going to be quite a poisonous novel and it is. It’s an incredibly twisted and malicious book that I couldn’t help be captivated by. It’s filled with anger, jealousy and hatred. I’ve never come across a character as hate-filled as Betty and I found it strangely fascinating!
I thought it was interesting how Betty called all these successful or lucky people Beloveds. I suppose it fits though because you can definitely tell that her sister Gloria is more loved. But it’s not Gloria’s fault, she has literally done nothing to deserve this anger. Betty just simply hates her because she was born and she didn’t want a sister. Crazy, right? I can’t even blame her mother for liking Gloria more because I found myself feeling an intense dislike for Betty the closer I got to the ending.
I like how she also refers to Beloveds as people who are always very fortunate and who always get what they want or who they want, without even really trying. On the other hand, people like Betty are constantly living their life in the shadows and always get overlooked. Surprisingly, I felt for Betty to some extent because I have certainly found myself in similar situations. I have fought very hard for a lot of things and then other people easily get what they want without putting any effort in. I’ve occasionally found myself thinking things like, why can’t I be that lucky? But I have never, ever been as angry as Betty was in this book. It’s something I’ve been briefly upset about but then I have easily forgotten about it and moved on. But Betty is obsessed, she cannot let go of Gloria’s success and happiness until she has completely destroyed it.
Thus, I found myself pretty torn throughout this book. I felt bad for Betty but I also found myself thinking that she needed some serious help. I feel like her mind just completely deteriorates throughout the book and her sanity slowly unravels the more determined she becomes at sabotaging her sisters happiness. I was pretty impressed though with how well she hid her feelings. It’s like she wears a mask because she is so calm in front of Gloria and Henry (Gloria’s husband) but inside she’s being consumed by her own hatred and anger.
I honestly couldn’t believe how hate-filled Betty was and how much anger she directed towards her sister just because she inherited the house Betty wanted. Frankly, I thought her sister was incredibly kind and caring and I thought it was mind-boggling the lengths Betty went to to get the house back.
It’s incredibly creepy how Betty can hear the house talking to her and weeping. She imagines that the house is agreeing with her and wants her to own the house. She has even named the house Pipits! She just acts more like a child than an adult. I can’t believe she was more attached to a house than she was to her own sister! I would love to have a sister like Gloria. She was so supportive of Betty, she even let her stay in the house and tend to the garden.
Towards the end, I did think it was a bit ridiculous how many cruel acts Betty got away with and how no one twigged it was her that was causing all this distress. I thought it was unrealistic how much she got away with and it just fed her insanity even more. She never learned her lesson and just plotting even more disasters. I thought it became very drawn out and tiring. It was just the same thing over and over and I wanted something more to happen.
I really wish the ending had wrapped up sooner, I feel it kind of went off on a tangent and a lot of the parts that happened towards the end weren’t really necessary. I felt like it dragged the story out for no reason other than to show us once again how much of a disturbed character Betty was. I would have like the ending to be better also as I found it really unsatisfying. It didn’t really end the story and just let it tail off almost. It wasn’t a satisfying conclusion for me, unfortunately.
Overall, this was a very fascinating read and it was interesting being in the mindset of such a disturbed individual. I liked seeing Betty gradually deteriorate throughout but I think it could have been better towards the end. The plot became very slow and tiring because of this which let the book down a little. But it was still very enjoyable and one that I’d like to read again at some point.