A Richard and Judy recommendation for the 2012 Summer Book Club, this is a brilliant Gothic novel in the vein of Daphne du Maurier.
A chance encounter: When Sarah meets dark, brooding Alex, she grasps his offer of a new life miles away from her own.
They've both recently escaped broken relationships, and need to start again.
Why not do it together? A perfect life: But when Sarah gets to the tiny village of Burrington Stoke, something doesn't add up.
Alex's beautiful wife Genevieve was charming, talented, and adored by all who knew her. And apparently, she and Alex had a successful marriage complete with a gorgeous son, Jamie.
Why would Genevieve walk out on her perfect life? And why has no one heard from her since she did so? A web of lies: Genevieve's family and all her friends think that Alex knows more about her disappearance than he's letting on.
But Sarah's fallen in love with him and just knows he couldn't have anything to hide. Or could he?
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 544 pages
- Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
- Publication Date: 24/05/2012
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780552777339
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by hashford
After the trauma of losing her first baby to stillbirth followed by the discovery that her partner has been having an affair with her best friend and colleague, Sarah goes on holiday to Sicily with her sister and brother in law. There she meets Alexander and his 6 year old son Jamie, and learns that Alexander's wife Genevieve has recently left him. Sarah is immediately smitten with Alexander, and by the end of the holiday she has agreed to go and live with him in a small Somerset village, in the role of housekeeper and nanny to Jamie - much to the concern of her family.When she gets there, Sarah finds all is not quite as she had imagined. The whole village is only too eager to blame Alexander for his wife's disappearance and are judgmental and suspicious about Sarah's arrival on the scene; Genevieve's family are overbearing and openly hostile. Alexander wants her to maintain a front of being just housekeeper and nanny, and Sarah has doubts about whether her really cares for her. As time goes on, Sarah becomes more and more obsessed with Genevieve - what has happened to her? how could she bear to leave her son? does Alexander know more about her disappearance than he is letting on? and why is he so secretive about his past?When the family officially reports Genevieve missing things hot up as the police investigation draws inexorably nearer, and Sarah starts to wonder if she was right to place her trust in Alexander.This book has many strong points. Certainly there is a good story line with enough changes in direction to keep the reader interested, and an interesting range of (mostly) believable characters. The feeling of tension ramps up nicely as the action progresses through the second half of the book.On the down side, the first half of the book seems overly drawn out and slow to progress. The book does seem to hover between love story, ghost story and thriller, and as a result loses focus. In the last 1/4 however, Douglas finally plumps for thriller, and brings it to quite an exciting finish. Definitely worth a read.I have read and reviewed this novel as part of the Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge.
Review by Carolinejyoung
I enjoyed the book although the beginning was a little odd and I'm still not quite sure what was actually meant to have happened when she was seeing and hearing what she thought was Genevieve's ghost. Was it that she was mentally fraught at the time? I enjoyed the ending though.