Thursday, 18 November 2010

Envy by Judy Corbett (No, it's not a book review blog now, see: About the author)

This book made me go through a range of emotions so fluidly I didn't see any of it coming. One minute I was feeling really sad, the next I was filled with sentiments of disgust and hatred, then it's back to empathy or pity. When I started reading this book, I thought it was going to be a near-straight forward tale of childhood, adventure, maybe just a drop of jealousy mixed with an unusual friendship, then it would all end in the proverbial happily ever after fashion. I was wrong of course.

Diane and Isabel are two little girls with very different lives. Diane lives with her very poor mother and step father who are renting a derelict house on Isabel's family estate. Isabel's family is rich. While Isabel wants for nothing and spends her afternoons trying on elegant dresses in her room and being daddy's girl, Diane has to toil hard in the farm and put up with the cruel and repugnant step father - an alcoholic who physically abuses her mother. She hates the fact that she's poor, she's angered by it, ashamed, and very much resentful. One day while she's sitting under a tree reading a book, the 'perfect' and rich Isabel sees her. To her astonishment Isabel talks to her and almost forcibly and in a completely self entitled way whisks her off on a tour of Isabel family's magnificent house. Diane is mesmerized. She's never seen so much beauty and wealth. She's taken in. It's all too glorious and she wants it. So she keeps befriending Isabel, slowly warming her way in Isabel's heart until she finally gets the chance to leave her poor mother and move in with Isabel. It's what she's always wanted, to be loved and live in comfort, but it doesn't end there. Having nothing to lose, she embarks on a grand plan. She wants all that Isabel has, to herself.

It's such a powerful and sensual story. It left me hating Diane but also somewhat understanding where she was coming from. I highly recommend this, it makes for great night or very early morning reading. My favourite quote from the book:

I felt poverty glide out of my pores under his gaze...He made me feel as if my whole life was worth recovering from.


  1. sounds like an interesting but dramatic read. I will keep it in mind

  2. Very dramatic, there is a very interesting plot twist at the end! :-)