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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `Are you sure you're not imagining all of this?'
I won't reveal too much about the actual storyline to this novel, because it would ruin things; I'm glad I didn't know too much about it before I read it and I'd advise you don't read too many reviews or features about it until you've read the book in case any of them tip you off a bit. I've tried not to disclose anything that would spoil it. For now, think about this:...
Published 11 months ago by L. H. Healy

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2.0 out of 5 stars easy beach read but you will see the twists coming a mile off.
A very easy but not great read. Very predictable, I felt as if I was being treated as a bit of an idiot. From the authors explanation of the plot and writing style you would have expected a subtle read but this couldnt have been more blatantly signposted if it had tried.
There was mention of a homage to Rebecca, well I dont think Daphne du Maurier would be...
Published 10 days ago by lutonlass


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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `Are you sure you're not imagining all of this?', 11 Sep 2013
By 
L. H. Healy "Books are life, beauty and truth." (Cambridgeshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nearest Thing to Crazy (Paperback)
I won't reveal too much about the actual storyline to this novel, because it would ruin things; I'm glad I didn't know too much about it before I read it and I'd advise you don't read too many reviews or features about it until you've read the book in case any of them tip you off a bit. I've tried not to disclose anything that would spoil it. For now, think about this: have you ever had a conversation with someone and then they've later denied saying things to you that you distinctly remember them having said? Do you begin to question your own memory, your own sanity? Imagine this, writ large, and you have the crux of this chilling tale.

The author pays homage to Rebecca in the manner in which the main character's name is not revealed at first. A newcomer, Ellie, arrives to rent a place in a small close-knit countryside village. She's a novelist who hopes to work on her book there and also makes an effort befriend the locals. Dan and his wife Cass are part of that circle, and they, along with their affluent friends, all welcome Ellie. However, Cass soon comes to see a different side to Ellie, finding unsettling things out about her and feeling Ellie is excluding her from things in subtle ways, and Cass can't understand why no one else sees it or indeed believes what Cass tells them. When the doubting extends to her husband Dan and their daughter Laura, Cass's world begins to crumble around her and she is caused to question her own sanity.

A nightmarish situation develops for the central character, Cass. She begins to feel alienated from her friends and family, everyone she thought she could rely on and trust. It was frightening to think that this could happen, but the way Elizabeth Forbes tells it, I believed that it could.

'I stood for a moment, feeling alone and isolated, and yet here I was amongst my closest friends. Everyone was chatting, laughing, relaxing, having a happy time together without a care in the world, and then there was me. It was all so subtle, almost subliminal.'

Is it really happening to her as she thinks it is, or is it all imagined, in her head? It's cleverly written, and made me question what was true, who could be trusted? Through Cass, the author captures the terrifying struggle to retain your sanity when all around you there ostensibly seems to be proof that you are seriously losing your grip on it.

`It was a nasty, creepy feeling of something dark and insidious gathering around me, and because it had no face or name I didn't know how I was going to fight it.'

This tale was really well done, very cleverly told, I thought. Cass is the main narrator; written in her first person voice almost throughout, we are thrown into her mind and into the unsettling experiences and torment she goes through. From time to time, though, there is an interruption to Cass's narrative, and a passage in italics, when the voice of Ellie takes over, and this device leads us to question who we can trust and believe, what is the reality, how has it become distorted? I liked the additional complexity of Cass's difficult relationship with her mother too.

Sometimes books of this ilk don't work out as well as I hope they will, or are initially compelling but then fizzle out a little; but for me this one absolutely did hold up to it's promise and was utterly gripping, with a great build up of the suspense and tension and some nice twists in the tale.

The cover is appropriately unsettling; a hand seemingly losing grip despite the tension and strain to hold on that is visible, and the image being jagged and distorted.

This was a complete and utter page-turner of the best kind. A riveting, chilling, tense, psychological tale that grabbed hold of me and begged to not be put down until I had finished.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best psychological thriller I've read for a while, 4 Dec 2013
By 
Carroty Nell "Nell" (Alaska, USA (summer) Manchester, England (winter)) - See all my reviews
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The best psychological thriller I've read for a while.

Cass and Dan, living in a quiet backwater where nothing much ever happens, have a new neighbour - Ellie, a glamorous and mysterious novelist working on her new book. But with Ellie's arrival Cass's life begins to crumble. She's accused of misdeeds of which she has no memory. She believes Ellie told her things about herself which Ellie and the rest of Cass's friends flatly deny. And then Cass stumbles upon Ellie's manuscript - Ellie seems to have been using Cass's own life story as the basis for her plot! What is going on? Is Ellie manipulating Cass because she wants to ruin her life? If so, why? Or is Cass's mind truly going?

The story is superbly well done. The reader is kept wondering who is in the right here, Ellie or Cass. The characters leap off the page and the psychology is frightening and truly plausible. I thought the beginning of the book was a little pedestrian, but it got better and better as the story unfolded. My only quibble is that Forbes might have chosen a LESS apposite name for the main narrator - for readers with a Classical background it's a bit of a giveaway.

Excellent read, however, and thoroughly recommended.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind Bending - Amazing!, 27 Jun 2013
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nearest Thing to Crazy (Paperback)
Sometimes a book comes along that totally blows the mind. Nearest Thing To Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes has done just that, my head is spinning, my heart has been beating so fast that I thought it was going to burst out of my chest. I've been so angry with the characters that I've actually shouted at them - out loud.

Published by Cutting Edge Press on 27 June 2013, there is no doubt that this is going to be one of my Top Ten Books of the year. There were times when I was actually a little bit scared of turning over the page, this is a mind-bending psychological head-f*** of the highest order. I loved it!

Set in a small Worcestershire village - a group of middle-class families are happy to welcome novelist Ellie into their tight-knit group. Glamorous Ellie fits nicely into their glossy lives, with their fancy houses, smart cars and perfect gardens. She tells them that she is here to write her next book, she's rented a cottage for a few months and is looking forward to getting some inspiration for her story.

Cass and Dan have been married for years, their only child Laura has gone off to university and Cass is happy to potter around the garden, growing vegetables, collecting eggs and making chutney. Everyone seems to love Ellie - except Cass, she is the only one who feels uncomfortable around her. And for very good reason. Slowly and gradually, Cass sees her life unravel - her past insecurities come back to haunt her, but nobody else can see that this is all because of Ellie. First her husband, then her friends and finally her daughter - all of them - beginning to doubt her, believing in Ellie, slowly driving her mad.

Elizabeth Forbes is an excellent author who has written a story that has twists and turns on every page, not once did I guess how this was going to end. The suspense builds until at times, it is almost unbearable. Cleverly weaved into the main story of Cass is Ellie's point of view - who do you believe?

Gripping, clever, tense and thrilling. This really is a fantastic read that I could hardly bear to put down and the story is going to haunt me for quite a while.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A CRACKING GOOD READ!, 24 July 2013
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This review is from: Nearest Thing to Crazy (Paperback)
I started reading Nearest Thing to Crazy on a train journey and was unusually disappointed to reach my destination, thereby having to stop reading this gripping tale of marriage, friendship, lies and deception! Prior to starting the novel I read the author's inspiration notes and immediately felt connected to the themes of the story. I think there must be many women who will have experienced some of the 'gaslighting' techniques in their personal relationships and I confess that I sometimes get irrationally jealous and become paranoid that I've been left out of friends' activities and wonder where my husband is when he says he's working late!! The characters were truly flawed which meant they were credible and you were swept along wondering what the consequences might be from each twist and turn. I have recommended the book to my friends and hope to read more from Elizabeth Forbes.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book and this woman, 27 Jun 2013
This review is from: Nearest Thing to Crazy (Paperback)
Since starting this book blogging and reviewing shizz, you may have noticed that I am a MASSIVE fan of all things CEP! And now I have another book to add to the list of reasons why I LOVE CEP. I also love MS Forbes.

NTTC is nothing at all like I expected. I imagined I dunno, something a bit more deranged and on the edge. The actual book was a wonderful surprise. From the first page I was totally hooked. The italics sections suck you in more than anything as they sound like a statement, a telling of a story that you don't want to believe is true!! The mundane life of people of a certain age with lots of dosh was made so, so, so intriguing.

As the story progresses and you develop your relationship with Cass everything becomes so intensely scary that you don't know what to do! You don't want to read on as you want Cass to be ok, you want someone to help her and look after her. Yet, you have to read on to make sure that things are ok....I'm not going to tell you if they are or not, you have to read the book.

Stunningly intelligent plot that scares the absolute shit out of you and makes you question your sanity (a tad of Catch 22 about it). It also makes you think about who your friends and family are and what exactly you know or don't about them. Read this book, read it now, it'll be appealing to all for so many different reasons and I really can't wait for Ms Forbes next delight to hit my face!!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth Forbes - Nearest Thing to Crazy, 17 Dec 2013
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I don't often write reviews as I read many, many books. 9 out of 10 of them may be good but are instantly forgettable. This book definitely falls into the other 10%. Without giving the game away I was torn between not being able to turn the pages over fast enough and thinking can I bear to turn the page over, I'm not sure I want to know! Absolutely fabulous read, highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was spell bound from start to finish!, 29 Aug 2013
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I had never heard the term"GASLIGHTING" before, but I certainly know how it feels to be on the receiving end of it. I found the authors accounts of the psychological abuse to the victim totally accurate. I wept in a few places as it related to similar episodes in my life, both in the past, and in the present. And yet, it almost seems unbelievable that one human being is capable of doing this to another.. I'm so pleased I came across this book, as I can find strength from inside its pages, and go on to better my own existence...... Maybe, you have to have experienced "GASLIGHTING" to truly appreciate the story, but I would thoroughly recommend you read it, because if you haven't experienced it, you will know of someone who has......
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An energetic page turner with a dark heart., 2 July 2013
This review is from: Nearest Thing to Crazy (Paperback)
Cassandra Burton, the narrator of Elizabeth Forbes' novel, has it all: a loving husband, a lovely home in a small, friendly village, a daughter at University, her own fledgling gardening business. Life is good. She soon finds her rural idyll shattered, however, by the newly arrived and glamorous Ellie, an author renting the house next door in which to supposedly finish her novel. Ellie wastes no time in manoeuvring herself into the heart of village life, and Cassandra soon begins to feel that there is something not quite right about this new member of the community.

Though she shrugs off her first suspicions of the woman, Cassandra's world is turned upside down with her discovery that Ellie's novel is a thinly veiled account of her life and that, in the fiction at least, the author has her sights set on Cassandra's husband, Dan. What's more it seems Ellie wants Cassandra to know this. Without evidence to back up her suspicions, and her friends and family so taken in by Ellie, Cassandra soon begins to doubt her very sanity. As Ellie's presence in the village impacts on every aspect of her life, she becomes isolated from her friends, distanced from her daughter, and Dan's behaviour swings between dismissive of her to borderline abusive.

The tension between what Cassandra believes and what those around her believe drives the novel and for much of the first half the reader is left unsure exactly how reliable a narrator Cassandra actually is. The reasonable explanations of suspicious events Ellie calmly provides in the intercut sections she narrates only serve to further complicate this dynamic as the reader becomes further embroiled in Cassandra's search for truth. As Cassandra struggles to hold on to what is hers, her husband, her daughter, her friends, her very sanity, the reader can't help but be swept along with her.

A distinctly dark heart beats at the centre of this story and it is when this darkness rises to the surface that it grabs the reader firmly the reader by the throat. As with any story of this type, it lives and dies by its plot and the twists and turns provided do not disappoint. Also, the author is not afraid to poke fun at her genre and herself in deliciously meta-fictional manner; Cassandra's description of the plot of Ellie's novel to her husband and his dismissal of it as far fetched is a key moment which spices up proceedings and elevates the narrative above more pedestrian examples of the genre. Nearest Thing To Crazy is an energetic page turner which grips the reader early on and refuses to let go.
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2.0 out of 5 stars easy beach read but you will see the twists coming a mile off., 19 Aug 2014
This review is from: Nearest Thing to Crazy (Paperback)
A very easy but not great read. Very predictable, I felt as if I was being treated as a bit of an idiot. From the authors explanation of the plot and writing style you would have expected a subtle read but this couldnt have been more blatantly signposted if it had tried.
There was mention of a homage to Rebecca, well I dont think Daphne du Maurier would be flattered by the comparision.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearest thing to brilliant, 18 July 2013
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This review is from: Nearest Thing to Crazy (Paperback)
I saw a recommendation for this novel on Facebook and I'm so glad I ordered a copy as it turned out to be one of the best things I've read this year. An all too believable situation, brilliantly played out. I was setting my alarm early every morning, which I only do when I've a book I don't want to put down! Gripping and twisty, at times I thought I knew what was going on and then I wasn't so sure. Fantastically well-written and cleverly put together, the story stayed with me long after I'd finished reading, which is always a good sign.

Can't wait to read more from this author.
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Nearest Thing to Crazy
Nearest Thing to Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes (Paperback - 27 Jun 2013)
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