Sunday 22 August 2021

Book Review | My Policeman by Bethan Roberts | prettylittlewriter

 This novel was so heart-breaking and emotional, that it took me quite a while to read. I haven’t been this affected by a book in a long time. 

‘From the moment Marion first lays eyes on Tom - her best friend's big brother, broad, blond, blue-eyed - she is smitten. And when he comes home from National Service to be a policeman, Marion, a newly qualified teacher, is determined to win him. Unable to acknowledge the signs that something is amiss, she plunges into marriage, sure that her love is enough for both of them...

But Tom has another life, another equally overpowering claim on his affections. Patrick, a curator at the Brighton Museum, is also besotted with his policeman, and opens Tom's eyes to a world previously unknown to him. But in an age when those of 'minority status' were condemned by society and the law, it is safer for this policeman to marry his teacher. The two lovers must share him, until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed.’

Initially, I felt so utterly devastated for Marion, as she clearly loved Tom to-death. He used her to hide the fact that he was homosexual from any outsiders. However, I also think Marion chose to ignore quite a few of the signs. There were plenty of them, little things here and there, such as all the gifts Tom would receive from Patrick that he would show off to her with pride, and the occasional remark from Tom’s own sister, Sylvie.


I do believe Tom loved Marion, especially at the beginning, but I think it was more of a sisterly love; he loved her like he would a family member.


Patrick gave me mixed feelings. He seemed to be a very kind and intelligent person, but in some ways, I also think he took advantage of the fact that Marion supposedly knew nothing of the relationship between him and her husband. Taking Tom away to Venice for instance, no invitation to Marion whatsoever, and also purposely telling her about it, knowing full well that Tom had not yet told her himself.

I did feel for him later in the novel, when some repercussions from his ‘sexual invertedness’ occurred, as it shocks me to the core that being gay in the 50’s could have such horrific punishments by law. The freedom we have in this day and age is such a stark difference to how it was back then, that I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must have been for anyone with a sexual preference different from ‘the norm’.


Bethan has written this novel beautifully. Her descriptions of the places, and the people, were so intricate and well detailed, that I felt like I could envision them all fully (it also helped that I knew Harry Styles is going to be in the movie adaptation). I also liked that we had different parts to the novel, so we heard from both Marion’s and Patrick’s point of view. It enables the reader to have a broader perspective, and not have any bias towards one particular character as we see the bigger picture.


I highly recommend this novel to anyone that loves a period piece, and a book that pulls at your heartstrings. It really is a beautiful piece of art.


5/5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment