Saturday, January 21, 2017

Book review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Title: Behind Her Eyes
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Release date: 26th January 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Thriller (supernatural)
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Description: Louise: Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets...
David: Young, successful and charming - Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife... 
Adele:  Beautiful, elegant and sweet - Louise's new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her. But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks...Is David really the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears? Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?

My thoughts: Going in to this book, I wasn't sure what to think. I'd heard the first couple of pages at an event and didn't want to read another thriller centred around an unhappy or abusive relationship. Then I heard there was a slight 'weird' or fantasy element to it - a very subtle one, but enough to make it not just a normal thriller. If you're familiar with Ms. Pinborough's work, this shouldn't surprise you, as it's sort of her calling card. I decided to give the book a try.

It's an awkward book to review, because so much of the impact comes from the little twists, and I don't want to give anything away. There were a few times where the pace didn't quite go fast enough for me, but just as I was on the verge of giving up, something would be revealed, sometimes a thing which changed my perception of events so far, and I'd be hooked again.

Adele and David were childhood sweethearts from very different backgrounds, and Sarah Pinborough uses flashbacks and diary entries to show how happy their relationship was at that time. It contrasts dramatically with the present, where something is (or in fact several somethings are) wrong with their relationship. As Louise tries to puzzle out what's going on, the amount of manipulation going on between the three of them seems to get deeper and deeper. It's not a happy story. Told across several different points of view, you never quite know which narrator to trust, or if what they are guessing at is true. With Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough has redefined the unreliable narrator, and it's great.

The hashtag for Behind Her Eyes is a bold #WTFthatending, which is what caught my attention, and when I finally got to the end, I think my eyes were as wide as saucers as I read. I loved it - it was a twist that I completely didn't guess and I do want to reread the whole book knowing the full story. Overall, I did very much enjoy the book, so I'm giving it 7 out of 10. If you're looking for a thriller and are prepared for a tiny fantastical twist, this is absolutely the book for you.



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