The novel One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis is the story of a woman named Emily Brown who walks out on her life. She leaves behind a loving husband, a son, and a host of family and friends. What causes her to leave her life is the catalyst which drives this novel and places her into the most bizarre situations. I will not divulge the secret because that would just be wrong.
Emily sets out one day with money in her purse, a passport, and the clever idea to change her name in hopes of becoming someone else and escaping the life she desperately wants to leave behind. In her attempt at fleeing she finds her self lodgeing with some less than savory people who seem to be the worlds' rejects and are in no way the peers of her former life. She finds friendship with a woman named Angel, for better or worse. A woman she appreciates doesn't try to change her or ask her to divulge her past. Before long, the new life she's embarked on is riddled in challenges and pure insanity.
Initially I loved to hate Emily Brown. I couldn't understand why someone would walk out on such a seemingly perfect life. At times she just didn't seem to care that she'd left behind people who cared for her and were concerned for her well-being. As the novel progresses, her character experiences growth through the most unimaginable circumstances. When reading the second part of the book, I often thought the author was being comical but after having finished the book, I understood that Emily's perils were all necessary for her to find herself.
The novel switches between Emily narrating and other essential characters points of view. The parts that were concerning the husband Ben made my heart break. Ben's chapters gave my raging hate for Emily fuel. The only reason I didn't throw the book at the wall is because I didn't want to break my Kindle and I had to findout why. Why did Emily leave? What could be so bad that she'd leave someone as loving as Ben?
Caroline is a focal character as well. Caroline is Emily's twin sister who seemingly hates her. They've never had the bond that twins share and it's often unfortunate because I think if they'd had that, Emily could have managed a little better. Caroline screws up every chance at redemption and if Emily wasn't in the lead at being the character I loved to hate in this novel then Caroline was definitely a contender.
Why finish a book if you don't like the characters? Deciphering the mystery of this novel kept my eyes glued to the page even when I was disinterested during Part 1. Part 1 at times became meandering and dull but I was grasping at clues as to what the heck could be this huge and begin this domino effect of chaos. Part 2 is often times comical and really had me just worried for Emily although I had the nagging feeling she deserved everything she got. Those feelings of disgust towards Emily totally go away once the huge mystery is revealed. Therefore, I'm happy I stuck in there. The mystery is unimaginable.
Overall, this is a well written novel about guilt, redemption, and growth that I'm sure will tug at many heart strings. Moving on and trying on a new life for size isn't what it's cracked up to be and it's better to just face the past with the people you love. I've learned that picking up the pieces to a life that is no longer desired is what's required and no matter where you go, who's life you try to live, it can never be as beautiful or fulfilling as the life already assembled. ****