My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read in a while. It’s my first book from this author but I very much doubt it will be my last. It’s one of those books that you just can’t put down and I more or less finished the whole thing in one sitting.
A gripping novel of psychological suspense centered on two sisters whose lives have taken them apart, and the shocking family secrets that bind them together.
Twin sisters Robin and Sarah haven’t spoken in years.
Robin can’t leave her house. A complete shut-in, she spends her days spying on her neighbors, subtly meddling in their lives. But she can’t keep her demons out forever. Someone from her past has returned, and is desperate to get inside.
Sarah can’t go home. Her husband has kicked her out, forcibly denying her access to their toddler. Sarah will do anything to get her daughter back, but she’s unraveling under the mounting pressure of concealing the dark secrets of her past. And her lies are catching up to her.
The novel takes readers back in time to witness the complex family dynamics that formed Robin and Sarah into the emotionally damaged, estranged young women they’ve become. As the gripping and intricate layers of their shared past are slowly peeled away, the shocks and twists will keep readers breathless long after the final page.
The story is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of twin sisters Sarah and Robin in both the present day and their childhood. Now in their early thirties both are having serious issues. Sarah has a wonderful family but has been ejected from their lives after being accused of something terrible. Robin is severely agoraphobic and spends her time spying on her neighbours or hiding from whoever it is she thinks is out to get her.
I loved the dual points of view and the two time periods and thought it worked wonderfully well. It’s not a particularly action packed read but there’s something about it that just draws you into the story completely and I found myself more emotionally engaged than I ever thought I would be.
For me Robin was probably the more interesting of the characters. As a child/teen she’s wild, angry, impulsive, out of control and just speaks her mind but as a thirty year old adult she has completely transformed into someone who’s scared of their own shadow and tries to control everything around her. You can’t help but wonder what has caused such a dramatic shift. I also absolutely loved the Rear Window aspects of her life. Trapped within her home, watching the neighbours and occasionally interfering in their lives.
Sarah, while possibly not as likeable as Robin, is still a fascinating character to read. She’s the complete opposite of her twin, the good girl, the quiet one who is always on her best behaviour but there’s something a little disturbing about her. She claims to love her family and her child but as you gradually learn the accusations that have been made against her you begin to wonder just how truthful she is.
I thought that the way the author gradually revealed the events of the past was exceptionally well done and a lot of the time I found that more compelling than the present. Without spoilers lets just say their childhoods were troubled because of the complex relationship between their parents and their parents friends.
It ended up being a much more emotional read than I was expecting and yes it did make me cry on a couple of occasions. Often with psychological thrillers you find that it’s difficult to connect with the characters (I blame the whole unreliable/unlikeable narrator trend) but I could feel what they were feeling.
It’s not too difficult to guess what the twists and turns in this book will be, they are quite clearly signposted, but I found I wasn’t really trying to guess and was just going along with the story, waiting for the disaster you could tell was coming.
If I had one criticism of this book, I’m afraid it would have to be the ending. I’m obviously not going to tell you what it is but with the build up I expected more and it was just all over a little bit too quickly for my tastes.
Despite this, I would definitely recommend. Just don’t start it if you have somewhere you need to be as it’s almost impossible to stop reading.
I won a copy of this book in a giveaway on Readers First.