When Will There Be Good News? – Kate Atkinson

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When Will There Be Good News?  is a very appropriate title for this book, as it is what I was thinking almost all the way through it.

It is a very depressing book. Each character is expertly introduced; we’re made to fall in love with them, only to find they’ve been murdered, or involved in some other terrible accident a few pages later.

The book begins with a happy family in a corner of rural Devon. One minute they’re having a quiet picnic, the next, all but the six-year-old girl have been brutally murdered.

Thirty years later the man convicted of the crime is released from prison, and the surviving girl, now a 36-year-old mother, goes missing.

The book advances at a fairly fast pace, as more characters go on to suffer extreme heartache, pain or death. The plot was well structured, and there were a few surprises at the end, but overall I found this book too depressing to be able to recommend it to anyone.

This is the first book by Kate Atkinson that I have read, although a few of her others are in my TBR pile. I’m sure I’ll read more of her books at some point, as her writing is very accomplished, but I’ll check to see if they are as disturbing as this one before I start one.

Also reviewed by Mysteries in Paradise

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  1. Beth F says:

    Despite the depressing nature of the book, it does sound interesting. Thanks for the review.

  2. FleurFisher says:

    Do read Kate Atkinson’s earlier books – I think she was better without the constraints of the genre and recurring characters. And her short stories – sorry, I forget the name of the book – are wonderful.

  3. Sandy says:

    I have heard wonderful things about this author. Yikes. Guess the title says it all, huh? I may turn to this book at some point, but I will be sure I’m in the right mood!

  4. Karen says:

    I discovered Kate Atkinson last year and read all 3 of her “Jackson Brodie” books of which this one is the third. I know what you mean about the subject matter – it can be quite gloomy – but I actually found the characters (for the most part) quite resilient which I think took some of the gloom away for me.

  5. S. Krishna says:

    I found you on Saturday Review of Books – I’ve read Case Histories and When Will There Be Good News, but I missed the middle book in there. I like Atkinson’s writing style, it is very literary. I reviewed this one here. Thanks for the review!

  6. Geraldine says:

    Have you read Behind the Scenes at the Museum? I just finished it and really enjoyed it. I haven’t read When Will There Be Good News. B the S at the M was very well written, amusing, witty and dark. I recommend it…


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