One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis
ISBN: 9780957544321 (paperback)
ASIN: B00C9IW9OQ (Kindle edition)
Publication date: April 15, 2013
Publisher: Kirk Parolles
An apparently happy marriage. A beautiful son. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life to start all over again? Has she had a breakdown? Was it to escape her dysfunctional family - especially her flawed twin sister Caroline who always seemed to hate her? And what is the date that looms, threatening to force her to confront her past? No-one has ever guessed her secret. Will you?
We're first introduced to Emily Coleman as she leaves her family in Chorlton, taking a train to London. When she arrives in London, she is now Catherine "Cat" Brown and has obviously run away from her family. Not much is revealed about Cat except that her full name is actually Catherine Emily Brown Coleman, she is in late 20s/early 30s, she was educated as a lawyer, and that she is a wife and mother.
Cat finds housing in a boarding house in East London and is befriended by one of the residents, Angel. Within one week of arriving in London Cat finds temporary employment as a receptionist for an advertising firm that becomes a permanent job. She gradually works her way up to account manager in less than one year. There's obviously something traumatic in Cat's past and Cat seems to understand that even though she has run away from her family and tried to start a new life, she can't run away from her memories. Bits and pieces of Cat's past are revealed as the story progresses. Cat has a twin sister, Caroline, and this sister has had a lifetime of mental health issues. Cat's parents have a strange and strained relationship that apparently doesn't really work for either of them and eventually they separate and divorce. Caroline has been hospitalized off-and-on for depression, drug rehabilitation, and more and has always been angry and antagonistic towards Cat.
I found One Step Too Far to be an extremely slow read simply because it would jump back and forth between the present and the past and nothing ever seemed to be tied together. It was also difficult to watch as Cat tried to drown her sorrows in alcohol and illegal drugs. Although Ms. Seskis makes a point of highlighting Caroline's mental health issues and the dysfunctional nature of Cat's family, nothing is ever really resolved with Cat's obvious mental health issues. Caroline is a bit twisted and sometimes downright evil and spiteful. Cat's friend Angel is a good friend, but she's also the one that introduced Cat to illegal drugs. Cat obviously can't deal with some painful issue in her past, but running away and creating a new identity obviously doesn't work. Cat comes across as very mature at times with how she recreates herself and finds success in her new life. But as some mysterious anniversary looms, she appears immature as she struggles to deal with this date and comes perilously close to sabotaging her recreated life rather than dealing with the root cause of her problems. The ending attempts to resolve some issues, but I found the resolution just raised more questions than it attempted to answer. One Step Too Far didn't work for me. I didn't find any of the characters very likeable. The story dragged quite a bit (for me) and often didn't really seem to be going anywhere. The ending was a major surprise and seemed to be a rather weak attempt to bring all elements of the story together. This story was just a little too dark and depressing for me to find it an enjoyable or even enlightening read.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."