Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic, spontaneous - Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But there is a darker side to Lee. His erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, and trusting no one, she plans a meticulous escape. Four years later, struggling to overcome her demons, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe from harm. Until one phone call changes everything. This is an edgy and powerful first novel, utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, and a tour de force of suspense.
Paperback, 403 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Myriad
ISBN 0956251579 (ISBN13: 9780956251572)
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Part of this story takes place in present day London, and part takes place some years before in Lancaster.
Stuart is the upstairs neighbor. Being a therapist, he seems to see beyond all of the compulsions to the woman that lies beneath, and he is drawn to the woman she was and he knows she can be again.
I found this gritty and emotional story quite fascinating. When looking at Catherine "today", you see a broken woman, weak, out-of-control, totally irrational in her behavior. Yet the way that the book is written, shifting quickly from the past to the present and back again, you get to slowly walk through her past relationship, watching it build little-by-little. As you do, you find that the present-day actions and behaviors that previously seemed irrational begin to make total sense. She isn't crazy at all. Her obsessive behaviors seem almost "right" in light of the past.
A note of warning: This book can be quite graphic, violent and vulgar. But it is real, believable, and not exploitative.
My final word: Guttural, this story reaches deep within, leaving you a little uneasy as you think perhaps "There but by the grace of God go I." How a person can enter your life so innocuously and damage it so irreparably. How you could be taken from a strong and powerful woman, and left shattered and fearful. And mixed in amidst the twisted fears and terror is a touching romantic story. Frightening but intriguing and, in the end, utterly fascinating.
My rating: 8.5 out of 10
I received an ARC of this book to review through TLC Book Tours, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.
Check out the full book tour schedule:
Tuesday, May 22nd: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Wednesday, May 23rd: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, May 24th: StephTheBookworm
Monday, May 28th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Tuesday, May 29th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, May 30th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, June 1st: A Worn Path
Monday, June 4th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, June 5th: Book Reviews by Molly
Wednesday, June 6th: Book Addict Katie
Thursday, June 7th: Paperback Princess
Monday, June 11th: Mary’s Cup of Tea
Thursday, June 14th: Twisting the Lens
Friday, June 15th: “That’s Swell!”
Monday, June 18th: Book Hooked Blog
Tuesday, June 19th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, June 25th: Reviews By Lola
Tuesday, June 26th: Life In Review
Wednesday, June 27th: A Bookworm’s World
Friday, June 29th: Proud Book Nerd
Wednesday, July 4th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Thursday, July 5th: Veronica M.D.
Monday, July 9th: Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, July 12th: MariReads
Friday, July 13th: My Life in Not So Many Words