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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 19 June 2016
Very interesting psychological thriller. Tempts you to read more and more and cannot put down the book - Couldn't stop reading it. In some places is quite predictable but i could not predict such an ending! Mystery, thrill was leading while reading this book.

As always book is far better than movie. I was so impressed after reading this book so hen i heard that movie will be in cinemas i was really excited. But sadly was very dissapointed after watching it. I recommend everybody who saw movie to read the book as it is far more better.
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on 4 February 2015
This is a book I could not put down once I started reading. The premise is intriguing: What if when you woke up every morning, you could not remember anything of the day before or any day before that. You wake up beside an unknown man, who says he is Ben; your husband. He becomes your only sense of understanding your life by gently and lovingly explaining everything, as much as he seems able, each and every day.....curious for more aren't you, so reas the book!!
This has Echoes of the film Memento for me, that film is one of my favourites and messes with your mind as much as this book does.

This is Christine’s story only, hers is the only pov you get and I found it to be scarily realistic, horrifying and brutally day to day. Full of every day, common, relatable events that slowly begin to unravel and reveal the real truth of Christine’s life. S J Watson did extensive research for this book and it shows throughout, I can't tell you more than I have as it would spoil the twists and turns the author uses as you're left as confused, frustrated and angry at her memory loss as much as Christine is throughout this book. All I can say is read this book it's way better than the film as this is exactly how the author meant the story to be told!!
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on 29 March 2012
I definitely liked this book - but not as much as I expected to when I eagerly pre-ordered it in January. I think this was mostly because of the word 'thriller' emblazoned across it; for me that conjures expectations of a taut, suspenseful page-turner, when in fact it was more of a slow-burning literary novel that just happened to have a crime driving it forwards. It was a great book, just not in the way I expected when I started reading, and I think that dented my overall enjoyment somewhat.

It opens as Christine wakes up. She has no idea where she is or who is lying beside her. Fumbling her way to the bathroom, she is horrified to find a fifty-something woman staring back at her in the mirror. Around her reflection are photos that she has no recollection of posing for, and the man in her bed introduces himself as her husband Ben. Before he goes to work he explains that she had an accident and now has amnesia, waking up every morning unable to remember where she is, sometimes feeling like a twenty-something woman, sometimes even feeling like she is still a child. A little while later Christine gets a call from her doctor, who meets her for coffee and hands her a journal that she has been writing for the past few weeks. Back home she opens it and is confronted by a scrawl across the front page: 'Do not trust Ben.' She reads on, determined to piece together her history... Who is telling her the truth, and who is lying - and why?

Much of the book is made up of this journal, which is simultaneously a great device and a slightly irritating one. It contributes quite heavily towards the slower pace of the novel, because Christine repeats herself so much, particularly earlier on. You could argue that this is made necessary by the subject matter - she has amnesia, after all - but as a reader I admit I found it a little dull at times. At the same time, it did mean that as each piece of the puzzle fell into place, it had quite an impact. Like Christine, I had to read between the lines as the daily entries built up, trying to work out how her returning memories fit together, who she could trust and what might really have happened to her. It was a good mental workout!

I'd certainly say that this is a thought-provoking novel. It really makes you think about how an individual's identity and sense of self is tied to memory, to a personal history filled with experiences and people and places, and how bewildering it would be to have to start afresh every day. There are little moments scattered through the book that really hammer home how carefully Watson must have had to consider each and every page, and how impossible a linear narrative would have been without the journal. Christine doesn't know about 9/11 and the war on terror, for example. She's never seen a mobile phone before, has no knowledge of her own middle-aged body, and has no real feeling of love for Ben because to all intents and purposes, she's meeting him for the first time each morning. This would be a great novel for a book club, because there's just so much potential for discussion - in fact, there are a set of questions at the end of the book for that purpose. I'd definitely recommend it - just don't make the mistake of expecting a fast and frenetic read like I did!
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on 6 August 2017
I really loved this page from the first page. It had me utterly captivated. I just had to keep reading to find out what was happening to poor Christine.
I loved SJ Watson's skilled writing and was looking forward to reading more by him.
I sadly did not enjoy SJ Watson's second book, 'Second Life' due to an annoying plot.
But I cannot wait for his third 'Blackwood Bay' which due to be released June 2018 and hope he is back on form.
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on 22 February 2015
The book is about a woman suffering from a condition following a horrific attack in which each morning she awakes to find she has lost all her memory and thinks she is in her late twenties still. She doesn't recognise the man who she wakes beside each morning and who claims to be her husband Ben. She gets strange calls from a doctor who asks her to check her journal in her wardrobe each morning. She isn't sure what and who to believe and the story gets more frightening as it goes on

Absolutely fantastic debut thriller. Yes as stated in earlier reviews it is definitely unputdownable. Loved the references to Crouch End and Ally Pally which is where the book is based. The film itself which is quite disappointing does not do justice to this book so don't be put off if you saw the movie first. Give the book a chance.
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on 20 June 2012
Before I go to sleep, I must write in my journal what happened today. Otherwise I'll wake up tomorrow and I won't remember a single thing. I'll look at myself in the bathroom mirror and see an older woman, one with wrinkles staring back at me and I'll wonder where twenty years have gone.

This is the dilemma of amnesia sufferer Christine . The naked man in the bed next to her isn't actually a one-night stand stranger but her husband. The photographs lined along the bathroom wall are carefully placed to remind her every single morning of who she is. Her husband has become matter of fact about it; showing her the noticeboard in the kitchen, giving her jobs to do, letting her see a scrapbook of her life, and then he goes off to work.

So what does she do when he goes to work? She receives a phone-call from a doctor, who encourages her to write a journal and the next thing she's writing a day-by-day account, placing her life together like a jigsaw puzzle, trying to find out who she really is.

I'm not normally a fan of thrillers. I'm far too much of a scaredy cat, opting for chick-lit instead. However, this book pulled me in. There was the hint that something was going to go wrong but nothing too drastic to make me switch the kindle off in trepidation. Just the creak of a stair; the hand gripping the arm a bit too much; subtle hints the whole way through. And then there was the unravelling of her story. I'm not going to give anything away, I will just say that as each day went on, Christine discovered a little more about her difficult past, making this an absolute page turner.
I felt that this book wasn't just about loss of memory. I felt that the author was tackling issues about marriage, infidelity, domestic violence, a sense of identity, age, accomplishments, motherhood, the list goes on.

It's a joy to find a book that you become engrossed in; one that makes you get up early so that you can squeeze in a bit more reading time before work; a book that I gobbled up in just a few days. I couldn't wait to get to the last chapter to find out what happened, yet at the same time, I didn't want the book to end.

This is a debut novel from S J Watson and I can't wait to read his next.

This book is being made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman.
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VINE VOICEon 2 January 2012
Whilst this novel starts off reasonably slow, it is subtly building up the story and just when you think you know it all, it picks up pace and really starts to mess with your mind.

Chrissie has amnesia. When she wakes up each day, it's like a new beginning. She doesn't recognise her husband, and has no recollection of her life. Each day she must rely on her husband to tell her who she is and how she came to lose her memories.
With the help of Dr Nash, she begins to journal any memory flashbacks has, building up a journal of her life.
But it seems that the memories don't match the story that she has been told is true...

This is a cracking read with a few juicy twists and turns to keep you guessing, and successfully manages to keep you in the same state of confusion that Chrissie is in.

When I came to the last half of the book, I had to finish it in one sitting - which meant staying up half the night because I HAD to know how it ended.
Excellent, and deserved of 5 stars.
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Oooh, this is GOOD. A psychological thriller that grips you early on and becomes almost impossible to put down. It's about a woman called Christine who wakes up every day with no idea who she is or where she is. When she looks in the mirror she sees someone who's much older than she should be. Her husband, Ben, has to explain to her who she is - and who he is - every morning. An accident many years ago has left her with the ability to retain any short term memories, so every night the slate gets wiped clean and she starts again.

Then Christine gets a phone call from a Dr Nash who claims to be treating her. He returns to her a journal in which she has been writing an account of what she does everyday. On the first page she has written "Don't Trust Ben".

This is a terrific novel. It's riveting and full of suspense. We are restricted to Christine's perspective and so there's always the delicious sense of confusion - baffling events that appear sinister may have innocent explanations (and some of them do). There were elements that I figured out but other parts kept me guessing until the end. While not perfect, this is a very original and entertaining thriller.
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on 23 August 2015
I truly enjoyed this book. The thought of awakening every day with nothing familiar utterly terrified me. A stranger in your bed and not recognising even your own face in the mirror, just seeing an older version. This novel though is much more than that. Slowly Christine begins to piece together her past with the help of Dr. Nasch. She receives a phone call every day from him and he instructs her to her diary.
The story is repetitive progressing a little each day but totally compelling and a brilliant unexpected ending.
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VINE VOICEon 12 January 2012
No spoilers, I promise! I thought this was a fab book, especially when I found out it was written by a bloke. Totally convincing first half, you get into the swing of Christine's life, the waking, the puzzle, the photos around the mirror, the phone call from Dr Nash, the search in the wardrobe, the writing of the journal. "Don't trust Ben!"

Puzzles are carefully positioned throughout the story - Brighton, Adam, the best friend, etc. The build up is SO GOOD, so well done, you end up absolutely DESPERATE to find out what it's all about, because you just can't guess - which way is it going to go?

More and more layers build up on Christine's life story, until you begin to get a glimmer of what might have happened...... but you will probably be wrong....

For me, the only let-down was in the final 20 pages, when the story returns to Brighton. I felt at times the author was writing a script for a film, some of the scenario seemed a little unlikely..... (Please comment below if you agree!)

Ultimately though, I loved it, and would definitely recommend this one to people of all ages!
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