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Eager to Please by Julie Parsons

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Reviews (7)
When I first started reading "Eager to Please," I felt it was just too dark and wanted to rush home and grab another book. However, my bus was coming and this was the only reading matter I had with me. Lucky me!! To think that I might have missed the opportunity to read this superb novel. I am hesitant to divulge more than the basic plot because I personally found each revelation throughout the book a surprise and wouldn't want to deprive the reader of that experience.
This is the story of Rachel, a middle-class, well educated woman in Dublin, who was convicted of killing her husband although she has never stopped claiming her innocence. The story begins when she is being released on parole after serving 12 years of a life sentence. While in jail, Rachel lost much...her five-year old daughter was taken in by foster parents, her father, being so ashamed by the trial and never really believing her innocence, stopped visiting her after a few months, her mother died never having visited her.
As the story unfolds, we begin to realize that Rachel has an agenda of revenge against the one person she claims murdered her husband and is responsible for her imprisonment and all the personal losses she has suffered. It is fascinating to see how Rachel painstakingly orchestrates her plan. There is not a character in this book who doesn't find themselves a piece of the puzzle.
What starts as an introspective look into Rachel's rather bleak life becomes a thrilling page-turner. Ms. Parsons has written her story in such a way that is exquisitely subtle while at the same time jarring us every so often by revealing that all is not what we have come to think it is. From the first chapter through the last, we are privy to twists and turns and come to know a far different Rachel than the woman we meet on the first page. The way the story evolves reminded me very much of Robert Goddard at his very best.
I read this book in little over a day and I am not a fast reader. It is one of those books that you just can't put down. If you are in the mood for a very smooth roller coaster ride, I suggest you pick up a copy of "Eager to Please."
Julie Parson's debut novel, "Mary, Mary," was a chilling novel about a woman who is obsessed with avenging her daughter's death. Parson's third novel, "Eager to Please," is another fascinating psychological thriller with a "revenge theme".
"Eager to Please," set in Ireland, is the story of Rachel Beckett; she is a beautiful and highly educated woman who has spent the last twelve years in prison for killing her husband. Rachel has paid a terrible price for this crime, which she claims she did not commit. She leaves prison at the age of forty-two, a ruined woman. Rachel is most devastated by the fact that she can no longer have a relationship with her seventeen-year-old daughter Amy, who wants nothing to do with her.
The opening passages of this book are emotionally wrenching. Parsons gives us a vivid sense of what life is like behind bars for a person totally unsuited to such a claustrophobic and highly regimented existence. How will Rachel cope with life as a "free woman"? Although her options are few, Rachel does have plans, and they are all about revenge.
Parsons has created a number of well-developed characters: Jack Donnelly is a detective who is trying to get his bearings after separating from his wife; Andrew Bowen, Rachel's parole officer, is married to a woman he doesn't love who is slowly dying of multiple sclerosis; Judith Hill is a woman on the skids who befriends Rachel in prison and who ultimately becomes a victim herself. All of these lives intersect as the characters attempt to cope with a series of emotional and spiritual crises. Although Parsons gives ample weight to several intriguing suplots, she does not detract from the central story--how Rachel Beckett plans to take revenge on the person who ruined her life.
One interesting theme that Parsons explores is how women, such as Rachel and Judith, who are too "eager to please" the men in their lives are liable to end up in deep trouble.
I recommend "Eager to Please" for fans of complex psychological mysteries. It is touching, suspenseful and extremely engrossing.
Rachel Beckett has served 12 years of a life sentence for the murder of her husband. She did not commit the murder, and has been meticulously planning her revenge for these twelve miserable years when she finally receives a conditional parole.
Everything about this tale is very Irish, including the judicial system. American readers will be surprised to find Rachel was convicted by a "majority" vote of the jury, 10-2. Rachel was totally convinced she would be acquitted and made no mental preparations for a prison sentence. Her descent into the life of a penitentiary is harrowing. It was so profoundly shocking to her, I could not see her living a month. We gradually realize Rachel has an inner toughness and determination that permits her to make use of her time in prison. We know she has a well-formulated "plan," but we don't know what it is.
As Rachel's character unfolds, our admiration and apprehension increase in equal measure. We revise our picture of Rachel as a downtrodden drudge to something like Medea or La Belle Dame Sans Merci. Yet we have pity for her when she tries to re-establish a bond with her highly troubled daughter. All of the personalities are carefully drawn in depth. Not one is a stereotype, and each has a compelling part to play.
I thoroughly enjoyed this tightly plotted psychological thriller and look forward to future books by Julia Parsons.

ISBN: 0333905091

Rating: 4.8/5

Votes: 622

Other Formats: lrf doc mobi azw

ISBN13: 978-0333905098

Publisher: MACMILLAN; Reprint edition (2001)

Language: English

Subcategory: Contemporary

Pages: 448

Eager to Please
Literature & Fiction
Author: Julie Parsons
Title: Eager to Please