See Through by Catherine Kirby

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See Through by Catherine Kirby

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A new approach to the story-line of the tired marriage which uses invisibility to good effect.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 300 Date: December 2008
Publisher: YouWriteOn
ISBN: 978-1849230148

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Fleur was desperate to have a baby - well desperate to have a baby girl, actually - as she thought this would cement her marriage. Her husband already had a daughter, Tammy, from a previous relationship and although she'd really been brought up by Fleur the other half of the old relationship was still hanging around. Mel floated in and out of their lives without Tammy ever realising that she was her mother, but Fleur had a suspicion that Sean might be hankering to revisit the old relationship.

Sex wasn't for fun for Fleur any more – it was simply the process by which she could produce that longed-for baby daughter and eventually it did seem that all was going to plan. More than half way through her time she was in such pain that she was rushed to hospital – only to be told that she was suffering a phantom pregnancy. Distraught, she eventually lapsed into a coma, but what the family did not realise was that Fleur had become invisible. She might have appeared to be lying unmoving in a hospital bed, but she was actually moving around the neighbourhood and various homes, completely unseen, but all seeing and all-hearing.

She had three months to sort her life out and return to visibility or… Well, you can imagine what the alternative was.

There are only so many ways that you can tell the story of the marriage that's lost a little of its early sparkle, leaving both husband and wife wondering if they've made a mistake and if there is any point in continuing. It was a breath of fresh air to read a new approach to a rather tired situation. Apparently only people with a colour for a name can achieve invisibility, the Browns, Greens, Blacks and Whites are going to get their opportunity to sort their lives out but the Smiths and Bakers, it seems, need not apply.

Surnames which are colours are not in such great supply as you might think and one or two seemed a little contrived. I wasn't really surprised that Bernard Orange went of the rails when I thought what his childhood must have been like. That aside, the story is cleverly done and there's a real compulsion to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.

The characters are variable – some (such as Fleur's young son, Dylan) come off the page well, whilst others (the 'other women' – Mel and Iris) are two-dimensional. On the other hand, there's a real sense of place in some of the locations – which isn't easy when at least one of the characters is invisible.

I understand that this is Catherine Kirby's debut novel and I hope that we'll see more from her. I'd like to thank her for sending a copy of her book to the Bookbag.

For another book where a woman suffers from invisibility – although not quite so literally as in Fleur's case – you're sure to enjoy Second Chance by Elizabeth Wrenn.

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Buy See Through by Catherine Kirby at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy See Through by Catherine Kirby at


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