Monday 21 March 2022

BLOG TOUR: The Better Brother - Simon Gravatt

Michael Merriweather's carefully planned life is blown off course when he receives a call to tell him that his father has cremated himself. Michael then learns from a small-town lawyer that he stands to inherit a small fortune he previously knew nothing about, but only if he sacrifices his accountancy career to take over the family funeral business with his brother, Jack, whom he despises.

Sucked back into the small provincial world and the family funeral firm he has rejected, Michael can no longer avoid his loathsome sibling. Jack Merriweather has no idea what he's done to deserve his brother's hostility, but he's about to suffer the consequences. Then, when his patience finally breaks, he will exact delicious revenge.

The Better Brother is a darkly comic tale of sibling rivalry laced with the power, passion, revenge and everyday friction of family business. It explores what happens when two warring brothers are forced to work together. Will Michael and Jack learn to love and respect each other? Or will their acrimony escalate? If so, who will come out on top? Who is the better brother?

What did I think?

That first line in the blurb about Michael's father cremating himself hooked me before I'd even picked up the book.  What an ingenious storyline!  It's sad but funny and sets off a chain of events that puts the Merriweather brothers in the same room when they haven't spoken to each other for years.  Expect sparks to fly!

The broken relationship between Michael and Jack is absolutely heartbreaking.  The hostility began when their mother died and their father was grieving so he didn't notice his sons growing further and further apart...which is something he plans to rectify from beyond the grave.  When the brothers inherit the Merriweather funeral business they either have to work together or lose their inheritance.  

Whilst Michael and Jack are brilliant main characters, my favourite character ended up being their father's long-standing employee, Royston.  Royston is hilarious, from his tattoos to his swearing he's such a colourful character that he virtually leapt out of the page.  I could read a whole book with him as the main character.

It is clear that Simon Gravatt has a background in business as the pressure of running a business is palpable throughout the book.  It was interesting to see how the brothers reacted to their inheritance; one changes for the better and one changes for the worse.  There are hard decisions to be made and back-stabbing aplenty as each brother vies to come out on top.

Very well-written, engaging and humorous, The Better Brother is a brilliant debut and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour; all opinions are my own.

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About the author:

Simon Gravatt is a first-time novelist who lives in South London. He's drawn from personal experience as a brother and business owner to write his tale of sibling rivalry and the combustibility of small business. Simon is married with two adult children.

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  1. Thanks for your generous review. I'm glad you enjoyed my novel. (One small correction - your review is titled The Silent Brother rather than The Better Brother.) Simon Gravatt