In the Blink of an Eye: A Novel

In the Blink of an Eye: A Novel

by Jesse Blackadder

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Overview

"Absolutely captivating....This is a masterpiece of women's fiction."—Booklist (starred review)

"Absorbing....Fast-moving but emotionally resonant." Kirkus reviews

In the Blink of an Eye is award-winning author Jesse Blackadder’s deeply emotional drama that explores a family’s path to forgiveness and redemption in the aftermath of a tragedy.

The Brennans—parents, Finn and Bridget, and their sons, Jarrah and Toby—have made a sea change, from chilly Hobart, Tasmania, to subtropical Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Feeling like foreigners in this land of sun and surf, they're still adjusting to work, school, and life in a sprawling purple clapboard house, when one morning, tragedy strikes.

In the devastating aftermath, the questions fly. What really happened? And who's to blame? Determined to protect his family, Finn finds himself under the police and media spotlight. Guilty and enraged, Bridget spends nights hunting answers in the last place imaginable. Jarrah—his innocence lost—faces a sudden and frightening adulthood where nothing is certain.

In the Blink of an Eye is a haunting, redemptive story about forgiveness and hope.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250199959
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 389,674
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Jesse Blackadder is an award-winning author of seven novels for adults and children, an emerging screenwriter, an inspiring public speaker, and a creative writing teacher and youth literacy advocate. She’s fascinated by adventurous women, extreme landscapes, unusual creatures, and chilly places. Her novel The Raven’s Heart won the Benjamin Franklin Award for Historical Fiction, and she was awarded an Antarctic Arts Fellowship for her novel Chasing the Light. She lives in Australia.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

FINN

Later, Finn could trace the seismic shift back to the afternoon he stood in the fading light and slid the fine sandpaper over the curve of Huon pine. The initial scrape of grit had smoothed out to a soft glide, the grain of the wood revealing its hidden whorls. He lifted the sandpaper, puffed the fine dust away and ran his hand over the wood's surface. It rose under his fingers like something alive.

The light was nearly gone and the air, at last, felt slightly cooler. Finn's sweat had dried and crusted into a hard mix of salt and sawdust on his skin. Invisible creatures – frogs, crickets, he never knew what they were – burst into a racket outside his window, ushering in the evening.

He smoothed an oiled cloth over the haunch of wood, which rewarded him by glowing in the last of the light. He placed it on the ground, shoving aside the jumble of scrap metal with a twinge of guilt. That's what he was meant to be working on; his agent was convinced his clockwork constructions were the way to a breakthrough. But it didn't feel like real sculpture, not like his carving.

The piece Edmund had spotted during a Skype was a machine born out of Finn's frustration with getting from the kitchen to his studio, a clumsy two-handed operation with gates and latches and sliding doors in and out of the pool area. He'd put his mind to solving the problem, taking due account of the safety principles involved in pool fencing, and adding clockwork characterisations to amuse Toby. A wall-mounted system of pulleys and gears, styled as an owl, elegantly opened and automatically closed the gate between the verandah and the pool when Finn pulled the high brass lever. A second apparatus, with a dragon's head and outspread wings, operated the sliding doors linking the studio to the pool. Yes, he'd created them to look good – clunky, evocative creatures made of oversized cogs and gears, burnished metal and chains that fascinated Toby when they cranked into life. But before Edmund declared them art and named them – Owl Sentry and Dragon Sentry – Finn considered them simply functional.

Edmund had demanded a spec piece – he was sure he could sell one. Just like Owl or Dragon, he'd urged. But Finn had got only as far as gathering scrap metal, old machinery parts and gears and stacking them on the bench.

The sound of voices drifted over from the house and he looked out into the indigo-orange sky of a subtropical dusk. Bridget must have come home. When the wood had him, he didn't hear a thing. He never kept a clock in the workshop lest its hard little hands yank him back from his thrall. And so, not for the first time, he was late. He'd left the kids to their own devices and now she was home, and it was Friday. That meant a bottle of wine with dinner, and probably she'd want to fuck to throw off the week and he'd want to fuck because of the sensuality of the wood under his hands all day, and they'd mark the passage from the working week to the weekend and the relief that their marriage was still intact. Their sex life had been revitalised by what happened, at any rate, and thank God it turned out they still desired each other's bodies, no matter his convex belly and balding head and her bunions.

He should have started dinner, but he needed a swim. A quick plunge, no lights on, to sluice the dust and sweat from him; more satisfying than a shower. He pulled Dragon Sentry's heavy lever, and with a clanking of gears the thing opened the sliding doors of the studio and admitted him to the pool area.

After ten months he could still hardly believe Bridget had agreed to buy this purple weatherboard home, with its red trim, wonky doors that didn't lock, crooked corners and overgrown garden of bold tropical plants – mauve jacaranda, red poinciana, pink frangipani, yellow trumpet flowers. So different from their old brick bungalow in Hobart – and from the airy beach house Bridget had had in mind when making this sea change.

He shucked off his overalls and underpants at the pool's edge, leaned over the water and tilted, making a hole in the surface with his hands and pouring his body into it. Underwater, he rubbed at his arms, face, hair, loosening the dust so it detached and floated in little whorls and bubbles.

CHAPTER 2

JARRAH

'Jawwah, weed it.'

'I'm busy.'

'Weed it.'

'Dad can read it. I've got homework.'

'WEED IT!'

'ALL RIGHT!'

I slapped my maths book shut, glad of the excuse, though I sighed and pushed myself up like it was a big effort. This was usually how it panned out in the afternoons. Dad distracted with his art, Mum busy and important and not home from work, me trying to do homework, and Toby trying to stop me. Changing towns hadn't changed that.

I flopped down on my bed. Toby clambered up, threw himself on my chest, and started to bounce up and down. 'Horsey!'

'Hey, we're meant to be reading.' I let him do it a few times and then reached over and picked up the tattered copy of his favourite book from the bedside table. 'The Monster King?'

He gave a whoop of excitement. He never got sick of it. I took a deep breath, adjusted my voice and began.

Toby wriggled around and cuddled up next to me, waiting while I tucked my arm under his head. His blue eyes fixed on the pages as I read, putting on my best deep, gruff voice for the monsters so he shivered and squealed.

If it scared him so much, how come he still liked it?

I turned the final page.

'Gain!'

Toby would be happy if I read that book to him twenty times in a row. I heaved another dramatic, weary sigh and dragged out the words to make him laugh. 'Aaall right.'

The thing is, I didn't get bored. The feel of his small body against my side, his attention, the smell of his hair, kind of sweet and salty together. When it was just him and me, something churned in me so I could hardly stand it.

During the third reading the light changed. Mum was running late and Dad must have forgotten the time. I felt Toby's body soften and his breath deepen. His leg twitched, and I paused and looked down at him. He was asleep, way out of his naptime, one hand splayed on my chest, the other clutching a stray piece of my hair.

Two reasons he was my best friend. First, the obvious. He was the only one who never judged me. Never looked at me weirdly, never thought something was wrong with me.

I heard the engine in the driveway and closed my eyes. I could count the moments of peace left. I heard Mum pull on the handbrake, switch off the ignition, unclack the seatbelt, open the car door, scrabble for her handbag on the floor of the front seat. Her shoes crunched on the gravel. Five moments more of Toby and me. Four moments as she reached the verandah and slid the screen door open. Three as she stepped inside. Two as she started up the stairs. One as she called out.

'Yoo-hoo? Boys? Marital companion?'

Our mother's voice could reach Toby even in sleep. He jerked and his eyes flew open. In a single move he was upright.

'Mumma!' He squirmed off the bed and bolted for the door. I heard the rhythmic thud of his bare feet, the squeal as he caught sight of her at the top of the stairs, his leap into her arms. I heard snuggling, kissing, nonsense words. Felt that dig of jealousy.

No one would have blamed me for being jealous of Toby. Thirteen years younger than me, he'd turned up from nowhere. Before that I'd been the only sun in our little universe.

'Hey, Jarrah.' Mum stood at the door of my room, balancing Toby on her hip as she kicked off her shoes. 'Your dad's in the pool. I take it he's forgotten the time again?'

I sat up and scratched my hair. 'Looks like it.'

She smiled. 'At least it's Friday. Thai?'

'Pizza?' I countered.

'Pissa?' Toby chimed in, patting Mum's face with his small hands as he doubled my vote. 'Swim?'

She rolled her eyes. 'You guys win. But I choose next time, right? Jarrah – homework?'

I rolled my eyes right back at her and she laughed.

'Yeah, bugger homework. Let's swim.'

'Sure.'

She came over to the bed, Toby still clamped to her hip, and smiled down at me. She had a nice face. I didn't just think it because she was my mother. Curly dark hair, pale skin, blue eyes. She reached out and ruffled my hair. Curly and dark, same as hers.

'How was your day, boyo?'

I pulled a stupid face. 'Fine.'

Toby poked Mum's cheek and she laughed. 'Got to get out of these clothes. Thank God it's the weekend.'

She spun and strode out of the room, taking Toby with her. He glanced at me for a second over her shoulder before they disappeared.

That was us. Mum in her new dream job researching koala habitat. Dad looking after us and doing his carvings. Me getting through year ten.

No, I wasn't jealous of Toby. There was plenty to go around in our household. It wasn't that.

It was this – the second reason, the one I kept secret: I wished my voice could pull him out of his dreams and back into the world. I wished he loved me most, the way I loved him. I wished he were mine.

CHAPTER 3

FINN

Coming up for a fourth breath, Finn's world exploded. Water rushed into his eyes and up his nose; waves slapped him. Three heads broke the surface and his wife's laughter pealed out. They'd bombed him. Toby clutched his mother, gulping, on the brink between laughter and sobs.

'You're on the pizza run, mister.' Bridget swooshed Toby through the water into Jarrah's arms and splashed Finn. 'And later you'll pay for forgetting dinner.'

He dived at her, found her, kissed her. 'Promise?'

'Get going! We're starving.' She leaned in, voice low. 'Take Jarrah.'

Finn lifted his head to look at his oldest son, who was bouncing Toby in his arms. 'Jarr, come for the ride?'

'Sure.'

'Me! Me!' Toby demanded.

'Go on, take all the testosterone. I need some girl time.' Bridget dived, pushing herself away from him, a dark streak under the surface.

Finn stroked to the steps and hauled himself out, glad of the dusk. They were a family comfortable with nudity, but lately he'd realised Jarrah was growing out of that. Going on for sixteen, last thing the boy wanted to see was his parents in the nick. It was a pity; Finn had loved the easygoingness of it in this hot climate. He scooted for a towel.

'Hurry,' Bridget reminded him from the end of the pool. 'I've ordered, and I hear the whimper of chorizo on the chopping block.'

A scramble of pulling on clothes, sprinting to the car, belting Toby into his seat. Finn spun out of the carport, kicking up a bit of gravel for Bridget's benefit. They were boys. It was Friday.

He glanced over at Jarrah as they swung out onto the suburban street. The light striped Jarrah's face and for a moment it wasn't his son there at all. Someone older, stranger, sat in the passenger seat.

'Jarrah?'

They passed a streetlight and Jarrah turned to him in an easy, familiar movement, an eyebrow raised slightly, and the moment was gone. 'Yep?'

Finn swallowed. 'Sorry about dinner, mate. But hey. You avoid my cooking.'

'Yeah.' Jarrah turned away to look out at the garages and driveways and curtained windows flipping past.

'Got any weekend plans?'

Jarrah adjusted the window minutely. 'Dunno. Homework. Might go to a movie with some kids from school.'

A wave of helplessness broke on Finn. Until a year ago, he'd known his son. He was the stay-at-home parent. He'd seen Jarrah more or less every day of his life. But since then, he'd lost him. He still wasn't sure if Jarrah had overheard the furious whispers in the bedroom when Bridget found out, of what Jarrah understood about their sudden decision to move north. Did he wonder why no one ever mentioned the Neumanns any more?

He glanced again at the silhouette of Jarrah's face as they passed another light. They'd had enough change. Finn didn't want any more.

'Dadda,' Toby said from the back seat. 'Where we live?'

Finn took a deep breath. 'Ready, boys?'

'Oh no.' Jarrah rolled his eyes.

'Forty-eight Tumbulgum Road, Mur-will-um-bah ...'

Toby, still unable to get his tongue around the early syllables, hit the car seat with his fists. 'More!'

'New South Wales, Australia, Planet Earth, the Milky Way ...' Finn paused. Were they with him?

'THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE!'

Toby yelled what he could manage, in rough unison. Jarrah at least joined in, if not enthusiastically. Finn felt his shoulders relax. It was all good. They were all good.

CHAPTER 4

BRIDGET

The text comes pinging in on your phone and you pick it up in a reflex action. He's never sent anything you couldn't read out loud to Finn, there's no suggestion of anything going on whatsoever, but you feel guilty anyway. He shouldn't be texting now, out of hours, on a Friday night at the start of a family weekend. He should know better.

No, that's stupid. Why shouldn't a colleague send a text after hours? 'Hours' is such a last-century concept anyway. Work bleeds over into life now. The midnight emails, the Sunday afternoon 'catching up': it's all normal, even for the North Coast sea-change class, supposedly beyond such things.

You pour another glass of wine, aware you've necked the first one in five minutes. Finn won't notice you're on the second by the time he gets back with the pizza. Not that he would say anything.

You usually visit your mother in the nursing home after work on Thursday, but you missed yesterday and squeezed it in today instead. Finn is distracted, and Jarrah's in his own teenage world, so neither of them asked how she was. Part of choosing the North Coast was bringing your mother closer to where she spent her childhood, in the hope it would help her faltering memory. Or at least feel familiar. But today was bad. She didn't recognise you at all.

Only Chen has asked how you feel about it. Nothing wrong with that, is there? Chen has, after all, stepped into the best-friend hole left in your life by Sandra's expulsion. You're both scientists: he the big-picture ecologist to your fine detail biologist. You share a similar sense of humour and a taste for optimism, rare in your profession.

But you know what's wrong with it. He's nine years your junior and you've caught yourself looking at the taut, smooth curve of his arms when he wears a short-sleeved shirt. You swap witty repartee. More recently, your eyes meet and you grin without needing to articulate the joke.

It's a new step, this text. Friday night, and personal, and far too insightful. It's dangerous. You moved here for a fresh start in your eighteen-year marriage. You agreed to put what happened behind you and so far it's on track. Mostly. But you don't stop Chen, and you answer his texts and you glance at his arms and both of you laugh just a bit too long. No one has said anything – not him, not you – and of course it's possible you're imagining it.

But you don't think so.

You'll send back a breezy text. Except when you go to type it, you realise how unfunny it is.

The second glass of wine has gone the way of the first. You switch to mineral water. They'll be back any second now, and you get yourself together and start clearing the table and throwing down napkins and glasses.

When the landline bleats, you jump and knock your glass over. You snatch up a cloth and multi-task, mopping as you answer.

'Bridge, it's Eddie. Finn's not picking up.'

'Pizza run.' You're not sure you like the way Edmund, with the prospect of making some actual money from your husband at last, seems to have become his new best friend.

'Fuck and bother. He'll really want to hear this.'

You roll your eyes. Edmund loves a drama. 'What?'

'Sculpture by the Quay had a late dropout. I've pulled some strings. If Finn can get that piece finished by Thursday, he's in.'

You've sopped up most of the wine now and you head to the sink, wedging the phone between shoulder and ear to squeeze the cloth. 'Sounds great.'

'Not great, Bridget. We're talking major breakthrough. Do you know how many people see this show over New Year? He's picked the steampunk zeitgeist. He'll be keeping you in the accustomed manner.'

You laugh, though not unkindly. Finn's sculpture hasn't ever brought in much more than it costs, but it's made him happy, and meant you could pursue your career while he looked after the boys. It's worked out well all round, as Edmund knows. Sudden artistic breakthrough isn't something you've factored into your plans.

'I'm serious. This is huge. You'll need to step up.'

Edmund can still rile you, after all these years. 'What's that supposed to mean?'

'Put him first. At least for a week, so he meets the deadline. See what happens.'

He doesn't know about Finn's betrayal last year – at least you don't think he knows – and injustice rises in your throat like gorge. 'Listen, I've —'

'Settle. You know what I'm saying. Get him over the line, OK? And now you get to tell him, half your luck.'

You hang up, and moments later you hear slamming doors and feet thudding up the verandah steps. Finn comes in last, behind Toby, who's about to tip into fractiousness from hunger, and Jarrah, whose face is set in studied teenage blankness.

Finn glances at you as he sets the pizzas down. 'What?'

You grin at him, teasing. 'I should make you wait ...'

'What, woman?' he demands.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "In The Blink Of An Eye"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Jesse Blackadder.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dedication,
Prologue,
Part One,
Finn,
Jarrah,
Finn,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Finn,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Finn,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Jarrah,
Finn,
Bridget,
Part Two,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Finn,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Finn,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Finn,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Finn,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Finn,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Finn,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Finn,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Finn,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Finn,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Finn,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Finn,
Bridget,
Finn,
Bridget,
Finn,
Jarrah,
Part Three,
Finn,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Finn,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Jarrah,
Finn,
Bridget,
Finn,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Finn,
Jarrah,
Bridget,
Epilogue,
Author's Note,
Acknowledgements,
Discussion Guide,
Also by Jesse Blackadder,
Praise for In the Blink of an Eye,
About the Author,
Copyright,

Customer Reviews

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In the Blink of an Eye: A Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
LGandhi 9 months ago
My review is somewhere between a 3 and 3.5 star rating. There were parts of this book I loved but many parts that I didn't. I cannot begin to imagine the pain of losing a child. And then add to that pain the guilt of knowing you are partly to blame, even if it's an accident. You never realize the horrors that can happen in the blink of an eye. The title really is perfect for this book. How do you begin to forgive yourself or your spouse? How do you process everything when there isn't a person to hold criminally responsible for the loss of the most precious thing in your life? There is emotion, pain, drama, grief, heart break, anger, every adjective you can think of rolled up in this book. But there is also a compelling story for hope and forgiveness. For me, this part of the story came a little too late. Though in real life it's never too late for hope and forgiveness. Everyone deals with grief in different ways. Bridget's character is a hard one to like or even sympathize with. She isn't a real person so I don't feel bad for judging her. She is a big part of the sections I didn't like in this book. I don't agree with her parenting decisions and I wasn't a fan of her behavior while grieving the loss of her son. I also wasn't the biggest fan of the way the author wrote her sections (in second person) as opposed to others in first person. It didn't flow right. You have 97% of the book dealing with this tragedy and then in a couple of pages it just ends on what's supposed to be a happy note I guess. It was all wrapped up too neatly and quickly to feel right for me. Overall it's not a bad book. It's good enough to get 3 stars from me, but there are a couple of issues I had. And I don't feel this book will be memorable for me, I'm sad to say. After reading the description I had such higher hopes for it and the delivery fell a little flat. My thanks to Jesse Blackadder, St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
CynB 9 months ago
In the Blink of an Eye by Jesse Blackadder is a novel about the unspeakable tragedy that can rip a family apart in less than a minute. It demonstrates that normalcy is both random and transient. The story will break your heart, but also make you laugh and make you angry. It is also a story about how one family traveled through the darkness of grief to find hope, forgiveness, and each other. Blackadder speaks with the voice of authenticity. Her characters are finely drawn with emotional nuance. Not every character was sympathetic, but all were very real. I highly recommend this novel if you are in the mood for an emotionally challenging family drama. Note that this was previously published under the title Sixty Seconds. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read the electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.
JHSEsq 9 months ago
The Brennans — Finn and Bridget, and their sons, teenage Jarrah and three-year-old Toby — moved from chilly Hobart, Tasmania, to subtropical Murwillumbah, New South Wales at Bridget's insistence because they needed a fresh start. They are settling into a routine in their sprawling purple clapboard house, complete with a pool that they are all enjoying on the warm days. Finn, an artist, has devised and installed a special gate through which the pool can be accessed. And then one morning, tragedy strikes. In the aftermath, the inevitable questions plague them all, but especially Bridget. What happened during those brief moments? Is someone to blame? When Finn becomes the target of a criminal investigation and in the ensuring media glare, he is determined to protect his family, first and foremost. But Bridget is wracked with guilty and grief, and enraged -- at Finn, at herself, at her inability to rewind the clock and relive those precious minutes. As Bridget descends further and further into grief, and feels apart from her husband and surviving son, she seeks solace, comfort, and answers in the last place anyone would expect those things could be found. As his parents are consumed by their own emotions, Jarrah, who is equally devastated, is left on his own to deal with his feelings which include sudden, frightening, and very adulthood realizations he is not equipped to handle. Author Jesse Blackadder introduces readers to the Brennans, a relatable family. Finn and Bridget's love to each other is not in question, nor is their devotion to their family, despite Finn's misstep that served as the catalyst for their move. They truly enjoy their children, and Finn's commercial prospects for his artistry are looking brighter. But that requires a shift in the family dynamics and morning schedules. Blackadder lays out the backdrop against tragedy can unfold, and then deftly portrays the morning when their world comes crashing down around them in stark, gut-wrenching fashion. It is difficult reading, to be sure. What is even more painful is what follows. Blackadder charts each characters' journey realistically and authentically. By that time, of course, she has convinced readers to care deeply about her characters so that their pain compels the action forward. The question is whether the family will survive together or irrevocably split apart. For good measure -- and moral ambiguity -- Blackadder adds Finn's legal peril and his reaction to it, inspiring readers to question whether they would make the same choices under the circumstances. But also at issue is the survival of each individual character. Bridget's mental and emotional health becomes an issue as she delves further into the stages of grief and becomes increasingly disconnected from the reality of her life after that morning. Jarrah has never been a popular kid, with few friends. He has always felt like an outsider and been subjected to some bullying at school. Suddenly, however, he becomes the object of sympathy, which may be worse. Still, he manages to make a new friend with whom he runs as a means to escape from the pressures of home and what is happening with his parents. That friendship, however, causes him to confront his own truth and future. In the Blink of an Eye is an empathetic and deeply moving portrayal of a family in crisis following unimaginable tragedy. It is a story about forgiveness and hope. Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
Momma_Becky 10 months ago
In the Blink of an Eye was a little outside the norm for me. I usually shy away from such obviously emotional books, but something about this one caught my attention. It is beautifully written but is certainly not an easy read as it explores the different facets of grief and how it can affect a family. Regardless of how each approached their grief – anger, blame, shame, anguish - my heart broke for this family but most especially, it went out to young Jarrah. The author does an excellent job of pulling the reader into the lives of these characters and holding them there. At the end of the day, this is not an easy one to get through by any means, but it is so worth the read.
CLynnT 10 months ago
If you want to walk out of your life and into another, feel the love, the pain, the loneliness, the entire gamut of emotions of someone other than yourself, even if only for a glimpse, this is your book. The subject is a difficult one to write about. A family loses their two-year-old in an accident when he drowns in the family pool. Sadly, this is a common occurrence but not many authors will attempt to put it on paper. Jesse Blackadder wasn’t afraid. She exposes human nature; the ugliness, the sacredness, the harsh reality, and the will to live that’s kept us in perpetual motion for centuries. I strongly recommend this book, this author, and I salute her for her honest portrayal of human angst. (I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for making it available.)
Caroldaz 10 months ago
This is a heartbreaking, yet moving story. Bridget and Finn have moved to a new area in New South Wales with their children, Jarrah, a teenager and Toby, a toddler. The story is told from various POV’s which makes it more interesting. Jarrah is struggling as a teenager, struggling with his emotions and his sexual identity. He is very close to Toby, caring for him as a father would. Bridget works full time and is the main earner in the family while Finn is a struggling artist. A tragedy strikes when Toby wanders into the pool in their back yard and drowns. The story is then mainly about how each struggles with their grief and self-blame and their struggle to remain a family. I particularly enjoyed each POV. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
brf1948 10 months ago
In the Blink of an Eye is a novel that will break your heart - and help you find forgiveness and closure as you work through the grief, and find ways to aid others to achieve acceptance and the path to serenity as you yourself must do. Jesse Blackadder writes from a place of personal knowledge, and her very sincerity can help the reader find peace within. I started out reading a fictional account of a tragedy and ended finding answers long hidden in a tragedy of my own. Thank you, Jesse Blackadder, for sharing with us your understanding of grief. The first thing your mind does in an instant of life-changing pain is looking for blame. And you can always find a reason to blame yourself. This is a book I am grateful to recommend to friends and family. It is a story all parents should read. I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Jesse Blackadder, and St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.
KerryACroucier 10 months ago
Being a mom, this one ripped out my heart. In the blink of an eye, everything can change. It just takes a back turned for a second, a small distraction, and tragedy can strike. What happens after the tragedy is the heart of the novel. How can the Brennan family survive when the unthinkable happens? The guilt, the blame, and the loss are all jumbled together as each member tries to understand and figure out how it happened, why it happened, and how they will live with the consequences. Told from the points of view of the three Brennan family members, in first, second, and third person, this is a novel that will make you think about how you would react. My heart broke for Jarrah, the teen was already floundering, and his parents were so wrapped up in their own grief, he had no one to talk to, and then there was the confusing teen stuff piled on top of it. This book will put you through an emotional wringer. It is well-written, and will make you wonder: what would you do if something like this happened? It will also make you want to keep an eagle-eye on young ones, because, a second of distraction and the unthinkable can happen.
bookluvr35SL 10 months ago
Finn & Bridget Brennanand their two sons, Jarrah and Toby have recently moved to Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Everyone is still getting adjusted to new schedules and places, not yet had the opportunity to make any close friends. Then tragedy strikes in the blink of an eye, and their youngest son Toby is found dead in their pool. What follows is blame... blaming each other, blaming themselves, not really knowing who or what is to blame. This book was so sad. I really felt for Finn, Bridget and Jarrah, It was hard to read, but so worth it.
Fredreeca2001 10 months ago
The Brennan’s have uprooted and moved to a totally different place. The family, Finn, Bridget, Jarrah and Toby are just working hard to adjust to a whole new environment. New jobs, new friends, new school is tough on everybody. Then the unthinkable happens. It tears the family apart. Jarrah is a young boy coming to terms with who he is. When the tragedy strikes he has to take on an adult role he is not ready for. Bridget is so wracked with guilt and anger she makes some self-destructive decisions. Then there is Finn. He is so determined to protect and keep his family together, he loses sight of who he is. This is an emotional story. Each person in this family deals with the heartbreak differently and it takes a huge toll on the family as a unit. This novel takes you in an emotional roller coaster. It is hard to read in places because it rips your heart to pieces. Don’t miss this tale of love, strength, hope and forgiveness. I received this novel from St. Martin’s Press for a honest review.
LlamaJen 10 months ago
For some reason I was extremely worried I wouldn't like this book. I ended up really enjoying. The cover of the book does not do the story justice. I loved the author's writing style. It completely drew me into the story. This book is incredibly sad and follows a family trying to deal with a horrible tragedy. Finn, Bridget and Jarrah each grieve in separate ways. Finn would do anything for his family and pretty much does. Of all the characters, I liked Bridget the least. Actually, I had a hard time liking her at all. I wanted her to see how much her husband loved her and his family. He was willing to take all the blame to protect her. I did love Bridget's job with the koalas. After finishing the book, I reread the prologue and it definitely makes more sense to me now. Was Meredith really there to offer support for the family or was she there with ulterior motives? I felt like she might have been there to help gather evidence in support of her cause. She not not have been the right volunteer to help the Brennan family. I loved Tom. He was the perfect friend for Jarrah and helped the family deal with their loss. The author's note was heartbreaking and this book was definitely a labor of love. This book was full of love and forgiveness. I definitely recommend the book and can't wait to read more books by the author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Lillian Maddocks-Cummings 10 months ago
You turn your back for a moment. A family is torn apart when their young son dies and one parent will give up everything to try & save what is left of their family. Finn knows that he should try harder but he really hates living on the North Coast he just wants to take his family back home. But his wife Bridget is happy here she has a great job but Finn still can't seem to settle. He knows that it is his fault that they left to come here but he hoped that Bridget would have put that mistake behind them. Bridget won't be going back Tasmania she can't face her best friend after what happened and Finn just needs to accept that this is their new home. Finn loves looking after his sons Toby & Jarrah but he worries about the eldest as he is becoming more withdrawn and he can't seem to get a word out of him. Jarrah is finding school much harder than before he is been teased badly and now a girl wants to be his friend and he isn't even sure if he likes girls. He knows that things are weird at home, his dad hides away in his workshop all the time and his mom is always working. At least he has his little brother Toby, he lights up the room easily and he is all that he needs in his life. Finn has been offered a place in a gallery and that means that he will need to do some serious metalwork to get anything done on time. He knows that his art doesn't make much but he is good at it and he needs this right now. Bridget knows that she needs to step up and help around the house so that Finn can get ready in time. But she turns her back on Toby for one moment and their lives change in an instant. Finn knows that the gate was closed and he doesn't know how Toby made it to the pool. Things take a turn for the worst when he is arrested as the police are blaming Toby's death on him and he knows that he has to make it right. Will they ever be able to recover from this tragedy? What happens if Finn goes to jail? The family needs to stick together but Jarrah is depressed and he scared his only friend Tom away and he doesn't think that there is anything left to live for. Bridget blames Finn for everything and she accepts none of it. Can Finn bring his family closer or is it just too late? A very sad read. Can't even imagine what the author's family went through all those years ago. I was lucky enough to receive a copy via Netgalley & the publishing house in exchange for my honest review.
MeganLeprich 10 months ago
Thank you so much to St. Martins Press and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I feel like I'm in the minority here because I really didn't like this book. It did peak my interest in the beginning but at the same time I was confused by the dialogue. It was kind of all over the place and numerous times I found myself lost to what was going on in the book. Also it really irritated me that the fifteen-year-old was tasked with always watching his baby brother while his parents both "worked". The fact that the mom had no clue how to even get both of them ready in the mornings was horrible. This book is about a family that recently moved due to the husband Finn cheating on his wife Bridget with her best friend. They have two sons, Jared and Toby, and Bridget is the main bread winner in the family until Finn finds out his art is going to be showcased and is looking at getting a lot of money. It seems like everything is going good for the family in their new home until a tragedy occurs that rocks their worlds. Each one takes the blame for it in their own way and their family starts shattering. I wasn't a huge fan of any of the characters in this book and honestly I found the parents Finn and Bridget really creepy. Who swims naked with their fifteen year old son? Also like I said before, Jared was tasked with pretty much always watching his younger brother while still trying to be a kid himself and go to school. That really annoyed me since the dad was the one supposed to be keeping an eye on him while the mom worked. The obsession that Jared had with his litter brother was also creepy and that somehow made him think that he was gay was another poor point in the book for me. And don't even get me started on the ending, the parents go into the pool turned into a pond and have sex and then......? All in all I really didn't care for this book. I understand it was the author's own story from losing her little sister to a drowning when she was younger but if that's how her life really played out after the tragedy I honestly feel sorry for her.
KindleKat64 10 months ago
Incredibly well written story about loss and the grieving an entire family goes through and how they manage. How "in the blink of an eye" your life can be tragically turned upside down. I felt everything. Every single emotion, every bit of pain. It was gut wrenching but it was heartwarming. I could not stop until I finished because I needed to know they would all be okay in the end. I will not soon forget this story.
Aqswr 10 months ago
The death of a young child through a preventable accident causes ripples of trauma through the remaining family unit. The accusations, whether verbalized or silent, of negligence hover over every thought and conversation. And these accusations don’t just involve the actual accident; they expand and engulf untold episodes of other almost-accidents. As though the child had been saved from death countless times only to be lost finally, somehow, intentionally. Author Jesse Blackadder wrote IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE with a survivor’s perspective and the devotion to detail gives her away. This is a book that is riveting in its feeling of authenticity and heightened sense of humanity. It is impossible to stop once started; not so much as a family in disintegration but as a storm brewing. You’ll want to read through the raging and get to the calm beyond the storm. It is a heart-rending tale based in part on the author’s childhood. I received my copy from the publisher though NetGalley.
Jenny_Brown 10 months ago
This is the story of parents Bridget and Finn and their son Jarrah, after a family tragedy. Because the subject matter is a little tough (the tragedy that sets things in motion), I had a difficult time getting started on the book, but once I did, I was drawn into their world. Blackadder made an interesting writing choice, giving us the story of Finn in the third person, the story of Bridget in the second person, and the story of Jarrah in the first person. It made knowing whose chapter you were in quite easy to follow. But it also was a way to really draw us into the story, as an observer, a participant, and even as an accuser of sorts. Each character reacts to the tragedy in different ways, and I was drawn to each of them. There are some twists, some legal issues, and a lot of each coping in his or her own way. The story takes place in Australia, so as an American, I was fascinated too by the locale, which is described and discussed at length as aspects are relevant to the plot (Bridget is working on saving koalas). The ending of this book was just right and I'm ultimately glad I got over my initial hesitation and read it.
PegGlover 10 months ago
In The Blink of an Eye is a beautifully written poignant story about the Brennan family and how each member survived after being crushed by a catastrophic loss. After being betrayed, Bridget decided that a move to, far away subtropical Murwillumbah, NSW was necessary. Fifteen-year-old Jarred and two-year-old Toby had no say, in the matter. And, Finn, didn’t dare voice his opinion. The Brennan’s were just finding their rhythm and enjoying their new start in life, when a tragedy, so great, struck, forever changing each one of their lives. To protect his wife, from crumbling under the heavy weight of guilt, Finn took the blame for the horrific accident. Bridget could hardly look at Finn, and banned him, from their marital bed. Jarred coped by withdrawing into his lonely adolescent existence. That was, until a friend, comforted Jarred; opening his eyes, shattering his world, but setting him onto the road to acceptance. In The Blink of an Eye is a gripping, heartwrenching story, crafted with larger-than-life characters, raw emotion, and hope. Although this story is poignant, it is also heartfelt and enlightening. Bridget bathes in the healing love of Finn’s selfless sacrifice, Finn rejoices in Bridget’s forgiveness, and Jarred discovers freedom in acceptance. And I, closed this bittersweet book, with a smile on my face. This is the first book that I have read by this talented author, but it won’t be my last. Highly recommended. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I loved it.
lee2staes 10 months ago
In The Blink Of An Eye is a deeply emotional, intense drama about a family that crumbles after a terrible tragedy. It’s about a family fighting to make it through an unbearable grief, while attempting to protect and not blame each other. It is well written and is a fascinating read that I absolutely loved and highly recommend. I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
lauriesophee 10 months ago
This is the perfect title! How fast a catastrophe can occur! In a blink of an eye! Can the fragments of family life be picked up and resemble any type of "normal" following a devastating tragedy? A novel of grief, hope and blame, following a family aberration that had me turning the pages to also find out "who did it or rather who did not do it"? It's heartbreaking, painful and certainly had me questioning each of the characters in this book. Yet, what was answered is that forgiveness to oneself is key to survival for all. A descriptive, beautifully written story!