Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Close to Me by Amanda Reynolds

Reviewer: Catriona Troth

What We Thought:

A woman wakes up, lying at the bottom of the stairs, her husband crouching beside her. And the only memories she has of the past twelve months come in a few tantalising flashes that cause her to doubt everything she knows about her life.

Jo and Rob have been married 24 years. They have two grown up children. They are happy, aren’t they? So why does she keep thinking, “I don’t want him near me!”

As Jo starts to piece together her fragments of memory and to chase down what happened during that lost year, the narrative unfolds in two parallel timelines – one starting the day of the fall and the other one year earlier, on the day they dropped their son off at university. In between, something fractured their marriage. Something Rob doesn’t want her to remember.

With Rob mediating everything she is told about the past, the familiar details of their lives take on a sinister cast and their dream home – a converted barn on top of a windswept hill – begins to feel like a prison. Is Rob caring and concerned? Or controlling and dangerous? And which one of them is responsible for poisoning their marriage? The glimpses Jo has of her own behaviour seem far from innocent. Reynolds skilfully manages the balance of doubt, right to the very end.

It’s refreshing to find a powerful psychological thriller whose lead character is a woman in her fifties. Reynolds creates an entirely believable portrait of a marriage and the pitfalls of ‘empty nest syndrome,’ when the cracks in a relationship are ruthlessly exposed.

A taut and thoroughly enjoyable debut.

You’ll Enjoy This If You Loved: Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Avoid If You Dislike: Narratives split over two timelines

Perfect Accompaniment:
Vodka and tonic

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Available on Amazon

No comments:

Post a Comment