Hi friends! I’m here with a really spur-of-the-moment review, because I picked this book up one day and finished it very quickly over vacation. It was hard to put down, okay. I have quite a few thoughts on it, so let’s do this!
I’d recommend going into this book as blind as possible!! But if you don’t mind having a little knowledge going in, please read on!
TW/CW: abuse, murder of animals/people, mention of miscarriage, general thriller trigger warnings
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.
Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim? And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?
The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?
I never read thrillers. Not because I don’t want to, but because I hardly ever get around to picking them up. So I went into this with my own preconceived notions of what a “thriller” is supposed to be (aka a super high-stakes, intense mystery type thingamajig) and that’s not quite what this book is. It’s quiet in a way, and that’s part of what makes it so haunting. I literally put this book down, thought “eh, that wasn’t so bad for a thriller” and promptly burst into tears ten minutes later. I kid you not.
The atmosphere and pacing was spot-on! The first half of the book had a sense of eeriness, of not-quite-rightness, while the second was a desperate race against the clock. I loved how we had the chapters divided into Present and Past, because when all is revealed in the past, the tension of the present is already set up.
*ahem*. I think we should talk about the characters…
Grace is an amazing main character. Her love for her sister, he wit, her tenacity, it’s all so admirable. I mean, I was screaming at her for some rather idiotic decisions but let’s be real: it’s not like i could have done much better*.
*i’m pretty ignorant, not going to lie. i would probably trip and fall out an open window trying to escape.
Millie is Grace’s little sister and she has Down’s Syndrome! The sister relationship was so strong. One thing I loved was how clever Millie was, because she was so often underestimated. Grace described her as someone people underestimate due to her communication skills, yet Millie is a lot smarter than people think.
THAT SON OF A WITCH.
He’s sick. And I mean, you figure that out pretty quickly but still. I was continually shocked by how awful he was, from his backstory to his utter lack of remorse. Part of that shock was just me being me because I’m the type to believe there’s a little good in everyone* but part of it was so horrifying. He was clever but used his brains in a way to set Grace up in a situation impossible to escape from, a situation most would never dream of.
*not that i’d excuse him! but his sheer inhumanity was so utterly appalling, sickening, and disheartening, i was shaken to my core.
Which leads me to my last point: this book is one of the most haunting I’ve ever read. The sheer hopelessness of Grace’s situation, coupled with the perfect facade that Jack forces Grace to appear as, grabs your heart and doesn’t let it go. The other characters in this story don’t realize that anything is wrong, how can they? And that’s part of what makes this so terrifying. The idea that something so monstrous could be hidden so easily really makes you think.
And on that note, the last few lines. I reread them several times, trying to wrap my mind around what I’d just read. When they finally sunk in a few minutes later I couldn’t stop crying.
I’m going to be real for a second: I’m sixteen. This kind of domestic thriller wasn’t written to appeal to people my age, which is okay! But I think that it doesn’t quite hit so hard when your circumstances are so far away from the ones in this book. Hopefully that made some sense lol.
That’s it! Have you read this? Do you read a lot of thrillers?