Published October 20, 2016
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
NO NO NO NO NO…..You did not just do this to me!! What do you mean “turn the page to read an excerpt from the author’s debut novel”? Where’s the rest of THIS book?
I’ve been having major problems with my Kindle and so I thought that pages must have been deleted, lost….somewhere! It did NOT just end there? Did it?
I loved Lisa Hall’s debut novel and I was really looking forward to reading this one. I was hoping that I would enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed “Between You and Me”.
Mark and Steph have just moved from their cramped apartment to a new house. This is supposed to be a fresh start for them and for their six-year old son, Henry. Steph is also pregnant with their second child. All she wants is to fix everything that has gone wrong in the last year, and give Henry the happy family home he deserves. Steph knows a big house won’t fix everything but she hopes it’s a start.
But is it really possible to start over again?
**** Possibly very minor spoilers. Usually things that are already mentioned in the description or within the first few pages of the book
The boxes are barely unpacked in their new home and Mark already has to go out-of-town. Steph tries to reassure him that she’ll be fine. However, she’s dealing with constant morning sickness and is trying to get Henry settled at his new school. Henry is sensitive. He’s not a rough and tumble boy, but prefers to sit quietly drawing or reading. Most of the other school moms haven’t been very welcoming and she’s already butt heads a few times with the leader of the PTA.
When she meets two of her neighbors it seems like things might be looking up. Laurence seems like a very nice man and Lila quickly becomes someone Steph feels she can rely on. She misses her best friend, Tessa who has moved away. Tessa was always there for Steph….always there to help pick her up, dust her off and put the pieces back together. So when Lila appears wanting to be friends and to help Steph out while Mark is away, Steph feels she should be thankful to have her around.
But then strange things start happening. Someone is leaving Steph dead flowers and messages. Things start disappearing and she even feels like someone has been in her house. However, she doesn’t have proof and when she brings it up, no one else seems to be worried. On top of all of that Steph is apparently doing things that she has no recollection of doing and having conversations she doesn’t remember having.
Is someone out to get Steph? Or is she making a big deal out of nothing? The people around her just want to be kind and helpful and have only good intentions….right?
Steph is constantly trying to make sure that people don’t think she’s “losing it” again. We are given a glimpse into her past and what Steph refers to as “bad stuff” that happened when she was in her teens. She also had some difficulties after Henry was born. Difficulties that she believes led to the problems in her marriage.
I was really frustrated with how Steph was constantly doubting herself and how people talked to her in such a patronizing way. Telling her she was being paranoid and overreacting. But then she would seem oblivious to what was happening right in front of her. One moment angry at her husband (understandably) but then blaming herself for everything that’s gone wrong in their marriage.
“I’ll say all the right things, behave the right way and then none of them can say I’m paranoid, or ill”
I was really tense! But I was hooked… I couldn’t stop reading.
I think most readers will figure out who is behind things. But part of the suspense is waiting to see how it will all turn out and the other twists and turns that come along the way.
When things come to a head I was really interested in finding out what was going to happen. Finally! This stress I’m feeling is going to subside! But then….
WHAT? You can’t do that! How can it end like that?
It was both gripping and thrilling with some great twists but that ending! It could just be me. Some readers may LOVE it!
Honestly, I loved Lisa Hall’s first book but this one I definitely had a hard time with. However, if there is a follow-up to this book I want to read it!
Thank you NetGalley, Carina UK, and Lisa Hall for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.