The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis is a heart-wrenching story of two sisters and how tragedy, betrayal and secrets tear their family apart.
The events and trauma of the past are overwhelming and to escape it, Janie runs away. Once she left the town, she never looks back. Instead, she starts a new life and in the process abandons her sister. Marlene stays in the same town and tries to make her life work. But, she has issues. The release of their stepfather from prison and a ticking time bomb causes Janie to set things in motion and the sisters meet after twenty long years.
The suspense and mystery was a page turner and had me hooked. With every small revelation, I asked myself questions, one of them being, "Why would the mother marry a person like Ralph?" But as I kept reading, I formed my own conclusions, which turned out to be correct.
The characters draw you in. Their emotions, fears and secrets, slowly unravelling as the story progresses. Their past is hell and tragic. Their current situation is sad. Janie may have become a successful business woman, but her past haunts her; she has secrets. Marlene has issues of her own. Depressed, she also feels let down by her sister for leaving her to deal with the aftermath. Her emotions spiral out of control. One thing leads to another as she gradually loses control of herself.
Alternating between past and present, the story builds a picture of what the girls go through. The different points of view is clever. You get a deeper sense of the anguish and secrets that surround the two sisters. The mother's point of view is an eye-opener. The glimpse into her life is certainly interesting and worrying.
I loved everything about this book. It had a gripping storyline, elements of suspense and mystery.