Mary Jay’s first novel, Deception, explores the lives and relationships of those who come into contactwith her central character. Miranda’s own relationships are central and the complex characters with whom she interacts are all substantial, individual and realistically realised. Readers of my reviews will know that character is the one aspect I must engage with in a novel and it certainly applies to this one.
Do not expect fast action, violence or sex. But, if you’re looking for a developing story laced with intrigue and a psychological menace that lurks in the background, always threatening to startle and surprise, you’ll find it here. The love story develops slowly and grows as Miranda explores her feelings and attempts to resolve her internal conflicts through engagement with her creative self. A painter and a college tutor, she lives a lot of her life on the edge, rather than as a central or pivotal figure. But success in her artistic endeavours is rising above the horizon and she believes her love life is mirroring that shift.
There are undercurrents, mostly subtle and shadowy, that bring gnawing threats to Miranda’s personal and professional lives. A student hovers in her background, his aims and motivation always hinted at rather than made explicit. As a lover, she chooses to be involved with a mountaineer, a man so far from her everyday experience in almost every way that the reader wonders whether she is actually afraid of evolving a relationship that might have a hope of permanence.
Just as she makes the decisions she might have made to her advantage earlier in life, circumstances take over and result in the sudden, unexpected and ultimately inevitable denouement. It is an ending that leaves the audience with questions to ask, allowing the maturity and experience of the reader to answer those maybes, might-have-beens and what-ifs for himself.
Published by Fantastic Books Publishing, this novel has slow and gentle start that draws the reader in and, as he comes to know the characters, drives the desire to complete the read. A thoughtful novel and one I recommend to the thoughtful reader.