A: Atonement

By Sarah Beningfield

Atonement is the perfect read. It is a riveting novel by well-known British author Ian McEwan about a string of avoidable events that cause a family to fall apart. The drama, frustration, romance and twist ending will have the reader captivated from the beginning.

Young Briony Tallis has always had a wild imagination, and with dreams of being a writer, she often lets her imagination get away from her. She witnesses a number of encounters between her sister Cecelia and the housekeeper’s son Robbie Turner. In Briony’s overactive mind, these encounters are one-sided by Robbie, and not reciprocated by her sister. In reality, the encounters are the exact opposite of what Briony believes. The love story that brews in the novel is haunting and beautiful, with the secret affair between Cecelia and Robbie showing the strength of their love. It is a love that continues to grow throughout the rest of the novel, despite so many hardships.

However, what Briony witnessed between Cecelia and Robbie causes her to immediately accuse Robbie after her cousin Lola is raped in the woods outside their house. This false accusation leads to events that steadily cause the families living on the Tallis’ land to break beyond recovery.

atonement cover

The novel takes place almost entirely during the Second World War and is split into three parts and an epilogue, with relatively large time jumps between them. Ian McEwan has a way of writing that keeps you constantly uneasy, but without realising how on edge you are.

Atonement is not a fun and happy book.  However, it is worth reading. The story has the ability to stick with you and the ending is somewhat unforgettable.

A memorable quote from the novel: “There was a crime. But there were also the lovers. Lovers and their happy ends have been on my mind all night long. As into the sunset we sail. An unhappy inversion”

Readers who would enjoy this: Adults, as there is some explicit sexual content. Anyone looking for a well-written novel with a twisted and unexpected storyline would enjoy this book.

Other books by this author:
On Chesil Beach

Other books beginning with ‘A’:
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Are You There Vodka, It’s Me, Chelsea – Chelsea Handler


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