Today it’s my turn and the last day on the BlogTour Red/Black by Rachel Atherton-Charvat.
About the Author
Rachel Atherton-Charvat is originally from Norfolk and later moved to Gloucestershire.
She is married to a serving Army Officer and is currently accompanying him on an overseas posting in Turkey. She has previously worked as a history teacher and a photographer, exhibiting her work in the UK, USA and Cyprus. Red/Black is her debut novel.
About the book
Sarah Hughes. Wife, mother, secret gambler. – Her life is one of stability and security. Settled in Cheltenham, married for over twenty years, lovely children but her inner trauma of losing a child in a car accident in which she was driving is reopened when her husband accepts a full-time posting to a military camp in Germany. Upon arriving in Germany, her underlying depression returns and she starts gambling online. The isolated posting and pressures of army life exacerbates her struggle and exposes the frailties of her marriage. The stakes rise as her gambling escalates and she starts to realise her husband is not all she believed…
Red/ Black is a carefully constructed story that deals with very modern themes of mental health and gambling.
Sarah is a wife, a mother and a woman on the brink of self-destruction. Her grief is like a PTSD that simmers in the background and is awakened now and again. Certain triggers cause flashbacks and a fall into depression. Her husband is less inclined to understand what she is going through, because his attitude is get over it – it was a long time ago.
Can you ever really get over the death of a child though, especially when you are consumed with a misplaced sense of guilt. Sarah sinks slowly into a dark mood, which is only alleviated by a game of luck here and there. Her personal struggles lay the weaknesses in her marriage bare and she discovers that her husband is no longer the man she thought he was.
The author gives an in depth insight into the vicious cycle of gambling. I think people get a certain image in their head when they hear the word gambler. Not necessarily the loving mother, the dutiful housewife or the grieving mother.
The pull of being convinced that the odds are in your favour, despite the fact you know it is merely a game of chance. Seeking a way to still the inner torment, the grief she carries with her every day. Every minute is a distraction from the real distress.
The story lacks depth and emotional draw from character to the reader – nothing that can’t be honed as an author though. Kudos for the epilogue it gives a particularly interesting insight into the draw of gambling.