Relationships between mothers and daughters can be anything from beautiful loving friendships to dysfunctional codependency. The element I enjoyed the most about this read was the imperfect and yet realistic relationship between Elsie and Rachel.
Unless you have ever experienced narcissism first-hand, especially at the hands of a parent, then you might not be able to comprehend how accurate this portrayal is. A narcissist will always put there own self first. In fact they put the self in the word selfish. Everything is a competition and they will step over or on you and your feelings to come out on top. Every single time.
So, bearing all that in mind, it isn’t unusual for Elspeth to have cut out the toxic relationship in order to maintain a healthy life for herself. It also explains why she has no real concept of how her mother lived, how she paid for her meals or what secrets she kept hidden from her daughter.
Elsie finds herself experiencing guilt and regret, despite the times her mother has ignored, betrayed and even despised her. Who was this woman really? What kind of secrets did she have that would make someone break in and search her belongings? Too many questions and not enough answers.
I thought the ending was a wee bit like a massive info input in the last few pages, so that could have been planned differently. In fact when you consider the pace and development of the rest of the story, I think the bulk revelation at the end was a little detrimental to the tone and essence of the book.
I also believe Sorell could have built the plot purely on the whole mother and daughter relationship, without the cult and even without the dramatic ending.
Nevertheless Sorell has the heart of a storyteller, so this is just the beginning.