Reviewed by Jane Warwick
I just enjoy reading and I have very catholic tastes. Once I have discovered an author and enjoyed their book, I do tend to look out for their other books to read. I was pleased to be given the opportunity to read a book from an author I had not heard about when I received this book in the post. The author, Nikki Vallance, as well as being a writer, is a coach who helps others to learn how to write and this is her first book which has taken over 9 years to complete.
My immediate reaction was the book was a good size not too thick to take weeks to read but thick enough to have (hopefully) depth. I was not proved wrong. I like the presentation of the book; a pale blue background with different coloured ink splodges with a red swirl in the centre of the splodges and the title is clear in a white font in the centre of the cover. The cover should not matter but it does as it draws you to a book in the bookshop or library, which you otherwise might never have read.
The book is divided into four parts with an epilogue. It is based on 4 main characters, and the hypnotherapist plus two half siblings. The split narrative works well, and the author has laid out the sections in such a way that you can easily follow the developments of the four characters. All of them receive a blue envelope in the post which asks them to come to an office where they are informed of an unusual bequest which has a deadline and they are sworn to secrecy with their family. Through recommendations via friends and family, they each get in touch with a hypnotherapist and through sessions with her they unpick their lives; past, present and future in order to come to a decision about the bequest. They are ordinary women who you can easily picture in your mind as the author has provided good descriptions of each, so you feel immediately connected with each of them in different ways. The book is very well researched with good geographical knowledge of the different places and up to date with the modern times. I felt I got to know the four characters and appreciated their good points and I felt understanding for their weaknesses. Near the end of the book, you are informed of their decisions and why which are understandable so she closes the story well but there is a huge twist which took me a while to figure out which you can only know if you read the book yourself!
I will certainly be looking out for more books in her name when she publishes more, having enjoyed this one so much.
It would be a very good book for a book club as definitely thought provoking and people may have different interpretations of the outcome. At the back of the book are ten book club questions to help guide a session. Pivotal is certainly a book to give to someone who enjoys reading this Christmas and also if you have not read it yourself part of your Christmas book list.
RRP: £7.99 (paperback) / £3.99 (eBook)