Still Life with a Vengeance by Jan Turk Petrie – a contemporary story of the price of fame
Still Life with a Vengeance by Jan Turk Petrie
Tension, emotion and the high price of fame all in one novel! This is a story of how quickly a life can unravel as a result of media pressure, and how trust within a relationship can be threatened. Eve’s story is of wealth and security on one hand, but also of secrets and potential lies on the other. This is a well constructed novel in which real suspense is created and maintained, as the main characters make discoveries and withstand shocks. The settings of a lovely house then a very natural place contrasts sharply and are beautifully described. The power of the rock star lifestyle, the money to buy whatever is desired immediately, is shown as bringing its cost in terms of celebrity and fame at the most difficult times in life. Eve’s life has had its challenges, and she has always been loyal to Nick, but now everything is put under stress. This author in her previous books has managed to create so much story out of everyday detail,and in this novel the small incidents add up to a sense of reality in a contemporary story of love, confusion and so much more. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this vivid and engaging book.
As this novel begins, Eve is trying to make her beautifully styled home less perfect. After exhausting other possibilities, she is applying with her husband Nick to adopt a child, and she is trying to make a good impression on a visitor who is charged with assessing their suitability. Their discussion recalls their meeting and early relationship, when Nick noticed Eve and followed her to her house with the yellow door, a fact enshrined in one of his most popular songs with his group “Twin Barrels”. They both work hard to present a unified front, and most of the time Eve is happy with the relationship, with the home she has rebuilt, a horse to ride and local friends. When a disturbing report emerges that Nick and his band are being accused of attacking a German woman in a club during a tour several years before while on tour, her first instinct is to protest his innocence. Social media and other news outlets are not so sympathetic however, and within hours the band is being condemned on all sides. As most of the group assemble at the house, it begins to sink in that their songs are not being played, their tour is cancelled and they could lose everything. Despite employing security guards and taking all kinds of advice, Eve and Nick’s peace is thoroughly shattered, and Eve loses all hope of ever being allowed to adopt. Will her relationship survive as more shattering facts become clear, and can she ever regain trust in anyone?
This book features some very beautiful descriptions of a place which provides Eve with a new perspective despite everything. I enjoyed this book for its twists and turns, its surprises and revelations. Eve’s reactions to what is happening in her world are so well captured, as events beyond her control seem to impact on everything. I admire this author’s ability to create so much emotion from the little details, and her ambition in maintaining characters that I came to care about. This book provides interesting insight into the power of the media in a complex world to affect real lives, and I recommend it as a really engaging read.