Review: Tangled Lives – Hilary Boyd

Cover of Tangled Lives by Hilary Boyd

Title: Tangled Lives
Author: Hilary Boyd
Publication date: February 28, 2013
Publisher: Quercus
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780857385192
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository


Annie Delancey is happily married with three grown children. But she guards a secret. Aged eighteen she had a baby boy, and gave him up for adoption.

Out of the blue, she receives an official-looking letter from Social Services. Her son wants to make contact.

As the son she has never known comes back into her life, his presence begins to expose the cracks in the family that Annie now has to try, desperately, to hold together.

My thoughts

Tangled Lives was a pleasant surprise in every sense of the word. While I wasn’t familiar with Hilary Boyd’s work before I started reading this book, I’ll certainly pick up whatever she comes up with next.

The book tells the story of Annie – a middle-aged mother of three living in London – whose life suddenly turns upside down when her son she had given up for adoption at the age of 18 turns up out of the blue and wants to get in touch with her. It doesn’t seem like a big deal at first, however, it turns out that Annie’s children don’t know about her adopted son Daniel. And chances that they are going to take it badly are quite high. When she finally plucks up the courage to tell them a small family drama ensues, with her son storming out of the house and her two daughters staring at her in utter disbelief. While her husband and her younger daughter Lucy are quite supportive, her son and elder daughter can’t seem to forgive her and, if you ask me, act in a slightly childish and selfish way. Throw in an ex-boyfriend who not only happens to be Daniel’s father but who has absolutely no idea about his son, a pinch of emotion and a great deal of jealousy and you get an unputdownable tale of love, family, past secrets and forgiveness.

It would have been nice to learn a bit more about Daniel and what his life was like before he made contact with Annie and there were certain parts in the book (for example, the night of the party when Daniel is accused of hitting on Emma) which I found rather predictable, yet, all in all I really enjoyed the book. Annie and Lucy were lovely and relatable characters who I managed to connect with very easily and who, for me, definitely made the story as good as it was.

Tangled Lives for me was one of those books that’s perfect for spending a relaxed afternoon in a garden chair basking in the sunshine, sipping a cup of tea. Fans of contemporary fiction or family sagas are guaranteed to enjoy this one.


“Annie Delancey stood in the warm, quiet kitchen and slowly peeled apart the last two pieces of streaky bacon. As she fitted them into the large skillet where the other rashers were already buckling and sizzling on the heat, she felt an overwhelming sense of happiness. It was Saturday. Her family was here for the weekend. She would do pancakes.


*Many thanks to Quercus for sending me a copy of this book*


    • says

      I haven’t read her previous novel either but it was really good! I know you enjoy these types of books so I think you’d like this one too :)

  1. says

    You are a talented reviewer. That is not a left handed compliment. (As against being a talented author.) You have the skill and perception to deftly grasp the important elements of the story, dwell only long enough on the characters to make us understand what you’ll convey, then go scooting off to the essence of the piece.
    Don’t quite know how you give time to our books and tend to your scholarly pursuits as well.
    Mahalo for a job well done.
    Gene J. Parola

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