A gripping and suspenseful novel about secrets, betrayal, and the power of the past.
Clive and Martha have been a couple since they met at university; they now have a young daughter, Eliza, and on the surface, all seems well in their family. But neither Martha nor young Eliza know that the story of this happy marriage harbors a secret scene: a momentary betrayal that could have destroyed the marriage before it even began. Only Clive knows about the trap door in their history but he's convinced that, with the intervening years, the incident has lost its power.
But when Eliza comes home from school one day and excitedly announces that she has a new piano teacher called Eliot Fox, the guise of domestic tranquility threatens to shatter. The enigmatic Eliot Fox knows the secret that Clive is desperate to keep hidden. As her presence in the family's life grows, so too does the ominous shadow of the past that looms over Clive.
Glazebrook's darkly suspenseful tale of a family in crisis reveals how seemingly ordinary lives can contain extraordinary acts of destruction. Told with intensity and penetrating emotion, Never Mind Miss Fox is a compelling tale of guilt, justice, and what it really means to make amends.
The newest title from Glazebrook (The Trouble with Alice) is a brisk novel crowded with moments of coincidence and convenience. The book's title character, Eliot Fox, is a piano teacher returning to London after years abroad. One of her first students just happens to be Eliza, the daughter of Eliot's former friends, Clive and Martha Barkes. This twist of fate propels Glazebrook's narrative, which shuttles back and forth in time, establishing the relationship between a young Eliot and her pupil's parents a vacation to France, an unexpected appearance at Clive and Martha's college apartment while also slowly unearthing the dark secret shared by Clive and Eliot. Though Eliza is enamored with her teacher, Clive, fearing exposure, does his best to keep Eliot away from his family, and the ensuing tug-of-war leads to the dissolution of his marriage when his past indiscretions eventually surface. The novel is a fast read, with efficient, lean prose. Still, many of Clive and Eliot's encounters over the years feel contrived (for example, at one point, of one of Clive's clients in New York turn out to be Eliot's lover), and these forced reunions lessen the impact of the novel's overarching commentary on love, relationships, and folly.