Reviewer : Lesley Vick
Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets David. Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice, let alone be attracted to her. But all that comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife, Adele. Adele is beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise’s new friend seems perfect is every way. As Louise becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her.
But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks. Is David really the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears? Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?
Review by Lesley Vick
Anyone who has heard about this book from YA and adult thriller and fantasy author Sarah Pinborough would be aware of strong opinions about the ending. Readers are urged not to give away the ending and most of them would say you could never guess it.
The story leading to that ending is told from more than one perspective and shifts across time periods (now and then). Single mother Louise has a chance encounter (and a kiss) with a man, David, in a bar. Only later does she discover that he will be her new boss at the psychiatric centre where she works. Very attracted to David and now involved sexually with him, Louise is then shocked to meet David’s wife, Adele.
Despite the obvious complications, Louise forms a friendship with Adele when Adele claims she could help get rid of Louise’s night terrors and reduce her dependence on wine. Louise fails to disclose to either Adele or to David her association with the other. The rather needy Louise seems somewhat naïve in remaining in this situation and as she continues with both relationships disturbing details emerge about the apparently perfect David/Adele marriage.
There is a suspicion of domestic violence and Adele’s mental stability is called into question. For her part, Louise finds herself unable to break with either of them and they seem to need her too. While none of these three is particularly likeable, the story is gripping and suspenseful. Even though we hear each of the character’s perspectives it is not clear who is telling the truth and the twists and turns are plentiful.
It is a good thriller and well written. Which brings me back to the extraordinary ending. It will definitely divide readers. Even if you do not like the ending I think most readers will have enjoyed the journey to get there. Conversely, some readers may hurl the book away in rage when they have finished it.