review by Maryom
Catherine and Robert have just moved house - downsizing now that their son has left home - and everything is in a bit of a mess. So when Catherine finds a new book lying on her bedside table, she assumes it must belong to one of them although she doesn't remember buying it, and settles down to read. She's in for quite a shock though, as she soon discovers the events in it echo something that happened to her on a foreign holiday, many years ago. But how could anyone else have known this dark secret she's kept hidden from friends, family and, most importantly, her husband, and why have they now revealed it? Is it an attempt at blackmail, or revenge of some kind? Catherine's kept this secret for a long while - if she'd told all at the time maybe it maybe wouldn't have mattered so much but now she's terrified that her husband and son will find out, and that her almost perfect life will fall apart.
We're all rather accustomed to tabloid papers promising big reveals about the private lives of celerities or politicians, but imagine someone had written a book based on something that had happened to you...someone who was twisting the facts, and not giving you chance to air your version of events; that's the uncomfortable situation that Catherine finds herself in.
The story evolves from two perspectives - Catherine's as her life starts to crumble, and that of Stephen Brigstocke, the retired teacher seemingly intent on destroying her. Switching between one and the other, the reader is teased along as what really occurred all those years ago is gradually revealed, and, although neither of them seem really likeable, my sympathy swung from one to the other, and back again! As you might expect, there's a twist part way through that casts new light on events, and although in the main I guessed it in advance that didn't spoil my enjoyment - by that point, the book has put the cat in among the pigeons and disrupted Catherine's happy life; her work has suffered, the relationship with her husband completely fallen apart and I was beginning to wonder if Catherine would ever be able to put her life together again.
It's a great read, and one I didn't want to put down at all, but some of it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt and not thought about too much. I don't really think Catherine could have covered events up so easily - even the slightest drama involving Brits on holiday in the sun can be a newsworthy event - nor did I understand why she chose to not tell her husband but these things didn't worry me at all while I was reading - I was too gripped!
Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - DoubledayGenre- adult psychological thriller