by Marlene Hauser
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Pub Date 28 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 10 May 2022
Lily is only four when she realises her family is headed for disaster. While she and her siblings are dragged around the world during the 1960s and early ’70s by their military father Jack, he propels their mother, gentle, green-fingered Lauren Rose, to the edge of insanity through mental and physical abuse. A cat-and-mouse game of escape and entrapment ensues, testing Lily’s resilience, resourcefulness and family loyalty to the limit.
Jack, an emotionally scarred war veteran, enlists the help of his equally formidable mother Emma to turn his children against the fragile Lauren Rose. Their mission is to make the children conform to a strict, unforgiving code of behaviour and crush their spirited natures. Rebellion is met with increasingly harsh penalties.
Jack brings new women into the children’s lives, but Lily vows that, no matter what, she will find her real mother, compelled by an indestructible bond. Love comes in the form of high-school sweetheart Diego, who helps her in her quest to break free from Jack and Emma’s control. The final hurdle in her way is a court case taken out by her own father and grandmother to have her branded a juvenile delinquent. The judge sees in Lily a talented young woman desperate for a new future and, with the support of kindly foster parents, she dreams of college and becoming a writer. She will first have to fight, stand up for herself, and then will it be time for the reunion for which she has so longed for decades?
A Note From the Publisher
The second book by professional writer and producer, Marlene Hauser.
Inspired by the many women and men who have overcome challenging childhoods to become contributing and outstanding adults.
Comparable to The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 5 members
Books like this make me realise again why I love reading, totally enjoyable with no hassles attached, loved it
Rounding up to three stars
For me this felt like a slow starter, that never quite lived up to what I'd hoped from the book.
Quite a few memorable characters, and a great central charcter in Lily.
A slow burner that did increase in pace slightly but was still slow in pace. Well written with an engaging storyline and well developed characters that were relatable and likeable. I enjoyed it.
Geraniums tells the story of a life at the hands of narcissistic and abusive family. Lily is an amazingly written character and her story kept me on my toes wondering how/if she could ever escape the cruelties of M and her father.
One of my favourite reads of the year so far and a five star book in my opinion. I can’t wait to read whatever Marlene Hauser writes next!
The author writes with an unselfconscious brutal honesty. This is an intense forensic exploration of a dysfunctional family. I was totally enthralled and appalled and couldn't put the book down until I found out what happened to Lily and her siblings. I was reminded of Flowers In The Attic (the Virginia Andrews classic, not the film) but this is the truest evocation of lingering trauma I have ever read.
This bildungsroman is boldly written, at times shocking, creating an emotional rollercoaster of anger and pity. Compelling, visceral and immediate: an unconditional masterpiece.