Trigger warnings are noted in the first paragraph.
We’re all of us, every day, just a hairbreadth away from evil. If I’ve learnt anything from fifteen years of reporting, it’s that. But I couldn’t expect these people to understand.
This is a really heavy read as it deals with some really dark and depressing subjects, such as the war and refugees in Syria, domestic & child abuse, rape, death, mental illness, alcoholism and miscarriages. Don’t read this if you’re having a low period in your life because this is not going to make you feel any better, throughout it’s a rather distressing and upsetting story.
Each character in this novel was well developed, no matter how small a part they played in the plot. Ellwood has done a fantastic job with her research into PTSD as Kate’s fears and anxieties seem so real to the reader. Though I’ve never experienced anything even close to PTSD, I can really imagine how terrifying and disturbing it would be, from reading this book. It’s definitely the best and most harrowing description of the condition I’ve ever read in a fiction novel.
This was a really well presented novel and I’m amazed that it’s a debut! It was excellently written and thought out. My only issue being that sometimes, the timings in this book felt a little off. When Kate and Paul were together, one minute they’d be serving dinner and the next, after a small 5 lined conversation, it would be midnight and time for Paul to leave and Kate to get into bed. It seemed like large chunks of the day would just disappear.
Maybe I shouldn’t have read some other people’s reviews on this beforehand, but because I was expecting all these super duper amazing twists, I kind of didn’t feel that they were super duper amazing. I also found some of them to be a little far fetched and silly, rather than surprising.
I can definitely see why this has gained so many 5 star ratings, but it’s all down to personal preference at the end of the day, and this one was just a little too dark for my liking. That’s not to say I didn’t like this…I enjoyed this a lot, hence the 4 stars. I found myself not wanting to put it down, even when my eyes were telling me it was definitely time for sleep. It was certainly a thrilling and page turning read, but I don’t know if I could recommend this to anyone because of all the dark subject matters. It seems like the sort of book some people are going to love for it’s dark realism and others are going to hate that and find it too distressing to read.
Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Books UK for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.