A House Divided by Rachel McLean #BookReview #BlogTour

Jennifer Sinclair is many things: loyal government minister, loving wife and devoted mother.

But when a terror attack threatens her family, her world is turned upside down. When the government she has served targets her Muslim husband and sons, her loyalties are tested. And when her family is about to be torn apart, she must take drastic action to protect them.

A House Divided is a tense and timely thriller about political extremism and divided loyalties, and their impact on one woman.

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for A House Divided, the first book in Rachel McLean's Division Bell trilogy today. Many thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me and for my advance ecopy of the novel.

A House Divided is speculative fiction that in the current political climate feels only too real. The book opens in 2019 with the country led by a Labour government. Jennifer Sinclair is the Prisons Minister and her star seems to be on the rise but two devastating terrorist attacks change everything for her and for the country. Her husband and sons are Muslim and when the Prime Minister announces knee-jerk, populist legislation in response to the attacks, she knows she can't let the Bill pass. The inevitable Islamophobia that follows terrorist atrocities means the proposals (which bear striking resemblances to Trump's so-called Muslim Ban) are widely supported by much of the Press and by a scared population. Jennifer is no rebel, she is a loyal minister who believes in her Party which means the anguish she feels at having to side with the Opposition is almost palpable. From very early in the book it is clear that she is an ambitious, dedicated politician but her principles mean she will do what it takes to do what she believes is right even though it may risk her career. Politicians aren't always the most popular people but Jennifer is a reminder that there are those who genuinely want to serve their country for the good of all.
The title of the book refers as much to Jennifer's own home as it does to the House of Commons; most politicians  would say that their job affects their home life but the fevered political climate and Jennifer's part in it means the impact is felt personally by her family  She believes she is at the heart of the action and understands what is happening in the country but as her husband, Yusuf and eldest son, Samir try to explain, she doesn't directly experience the results in the way that they do. Later in the book she does begin to realise that for all her good intentions and belief that she can make a difference, it may already be too late. The country has changed and even those who previously may have supported anti-racism measures have become swept up by the wave of fear that has allowed civil liberties to become eroded under the guise of counter terrorism measures.
The sense of foreboding increases dramatically as the novel progresses and what makes is so unsettling is that it all seems far too plausible. We've all seen the rise of far right movements across the world, the political dogma that demonises immigrants and refugees and the understandable fear following attacks that mean the population is desperate to see action being taken. A House Divided portrays a dystopia that is particularly terrifying because it could happen. As the first in a trilogy, there is no definitive conclusion here but the tense action and the speed at which things suddenly become much worse meant I raced towards the end of this instalment with my heart in my mouth. I will be reading the next book, Divide and Rule very soon but in the meantime I thoroughly recommend the compelling A House Divided; it is a superlative political thriller that I only hope doesn't prove to be eerily prescient.

A House Divided is published by Catawampus Press and can be purchased here. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
I'm Rachel McLean and I write thrillers and speculative fiction.
I'm told that the world wants upbeat, cheerful stories - well, I'm sorry but I can't help. My stories have an uncanny habit of predicting future events (and not the good ones). They're inspired by my work at the Environment Agency and the Labour Party and explore issues like climate change, Islamophobia, the refugee crisis and sexism in high places. All with a focus on how these impact individual people and families.

You can find out more about my writing, get access to deals and exclusive stories or become part of my advance reader team by joining my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub.
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