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on 28 August 2013
SPOILERS CONTAINED HEREIN! My mum lent me this book because I'd just returned from a holiday in the lovely Isle of Wight (a most beautiful place) and I've got to say that the main thing I enjoyed in the book was revisiting the locations I am now familiar with through Whitehouse's prose; particularly being as we stayed in some eerily similar cottages (and encountered an equally eerily similar cat as the one in Whitehouse's novel) during our hols, in Yarmouth. (It made me question if the author had stayed there too whilst writing her book!)

Sadly, for me, that's where the charm of the book began and ended. The main character is introspective, self-pitying, carping and basically deserves everything she gets. If there ever was a singularly appropriate title for a novel, it's the one for this book, because the heroine in it, has definitely made her own bed and brought all of her misfortunes upon herself.

So the slightly unlikely premise is as follows: Kate (a woman prone to drinking too much, over self-analysing, dread of being alone and overreacting, as we are told during the first few pages) meets Richard, an arrogant, confident man who I couldn't make a clear picture of in my mind from the author's description, but a great deal of her account of him is based around his eyebrows, so I kind of just pictured a dark bloke with satanic eyebrows (picture him with me if you will...) and goes home to bed with him on the first night of meeting. A slightly strange relationship then develops between the pair, whereby anyone with one iota of sense can see that Richard is a power-hungry psychopath intent on controlling Katie's every move, and Katie believes she's in love with him.

Despite Katie assuring us that she is really really much cleverer than anyone else (including you poor brain-cell deprived reader!), she falls completely under his spell and even falls for such old chestnuts as "my wife doesn't understand me..." when she finds out he's married; and, "NO! I haven't got any children... oh, apart from that one.. Oh, and the other woman I got pregnant whilst I was in a relationship with you..."

Finally, Katie wakes up and smells the coffee and flees (for her life by this stage after discovering much too late that Richard is not the rich single charmer she thought he was, but a married, fraudulent psychopath with violent tendencies, who comes complete with a battered wife, a (probably terrified) son, in addition to satanic eyebrows. So where does she go? (Now ask yourself, where would you go if you were in this situation? The Police station? Somewhere where you have no previous connections and not tell ANYONE where you are so there's no chance of being tracked down? Or a small island where you used to go on holiday and everyone knows everyone and is probably very happy to point out the location of the latest newby on the island to any passing psychopath with satanic eyebrows who happens to chance by?) And perhaps, to help things along, you could broadcast where you are going to a few family and friends as well.

Yes, that's right, clever Katie flees to the Isle of Wight; so not only is she within easy driving distance of London (where said psychopath lives) but is also marooned on an island when he inevitably catches up with her.

What follows is according to the blurb "a game of cat and mouse", but what I interpreted as a stream of whingeing from our heroine who then builds upon earlier mistakes by getting involved with a man who she initially suspects of murdering his wife, or at least driving her to suicide. (Oh yes, she's got a taste for psychopaths by this stage).

The reader doesn't have to be a genius to work out what will happen. Said Psychopath arrives (with a gun). Fortunately when he arrives Katie is safe in a pub. But oh no! She decides to leave with him ALONE, fails to call for help, thus leaving herself open to being shot.

In short, I found that despite Katie's assurances that she is very, very clever, she was, in my opinion, not the sharpest tool in the box. Similarly, thanks to all the carping and complaining endured by myself during the previous three hundred pages, I didn't really care if she got shot or not. In fact, by page 283, I've got to admit, I was rooting for the psychopath.

The Independent on Sunday reviewed this as "Gripping, believable and unnerving". I found it irritating, far-fetched and just a bit silly really. The plot was muddled with far too many extraneous bits in it which didn't tie up at the end (it would have been so much better if Richard has just shot them all, excluding the cat, and burned the yachts before heading back to the mainland), the characters were undeveloped, annoying and unengaging. I enjoyed seeing the cat again though, so it wasn't all bad.
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on 2 March 2010
The Bed I Made is just as tense and atmospheric as Lucie's previous book but I would say that this one has a much darker and more dangerous edge to it.

One fateful night, Kate meets Richard in a Soho bar and they begin a reckless and intense relationship. However, eighteen months later we follow Kate as she flees the familiarity of her London life for the obscurity of a rented cottage on the Isle of Wight. It is winter on this tiny island and Kate finds herself extremely isolated. She learns about the disappearance of local woman, Alice Frewin who many suggest has taken her own life. Kate is drawn to Alice's story, it almost provides a distraction yet she still cannot escape the clutches of Richard who has not given up on finding out where she has escaped to.

Lucie Whitehouse begins building the chilling atmosphere from the first page of the book. The story builds slowly like the fog that rolls in and envelops Kate's cottage on the island. We begin to gain an understanding of why she is so frightened of this man who she had once loved and admired. There were times when I did not want to read on as I was frightened as to what was lurking around the next corner but I could not stop myself from turning the pages.

Critics have compared Lucie Whitehouse to Daphne Du Maurier and I believe that this is a fair assertion, even more so after reading this second book. Through her clever use of language, Whitehouse creates a chilling and sinister atmosphere as she gradually builds up the suspense. Words carry a lot of power throughout the story. Other than Kate's memories, Richard's main presence is via text messages and emails that she receives whilst on the island. He uses few words but the power that they have over Kate is terrifying and you get a real sense of the oppressive fear that she is experiencing.

Lucie Whitehouse has created a perfect thriller. The Bed I Made grabs you from the very first chapter; it is not one to be missed but certainly not one that I would recommend reading just before you turn the lights off!
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VINE VOICEon 17 April 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the second novel form Lucie Whitehouse and in my opinion far better than her first. Whitehouse has managed to draw you into a tense and thrilling story of sheer jealously and fear so easily, that although it took a while for me to get into the book, once I was I was immediately hooked.

Kate has sought solace and seclusion in the Isle of Wight, running away from everything that she has created, and also running away from Richard, the man she met and fell in love with. However the weeping wound of Richard follows her to the Isle of Wight and here days are spent avoiding the memory of him and any contact with him but Richard is determined to seep right through to Kate's skin.

Slowly Kate starts to become part of island life, and upon her arrival, she is witness to a missing boat being returned without its skipper; Alice Frewin. Kate becomes involved in Alice's world by default, but all the time she is seemingly moving forward, Richard is coming up behind her to ensure that she never forgets him.

Whitehouse has created such a thrilling tale, with so much building tension and atmosphere, from describing the landscape, and swells of The Solent and the weather of the island but also the power that Richard seems to weave over others, almost always women. A page turner, that actually leaves you worrying if you put the book down, as what will Richard do next to infiltrate Kate's life and most of all her mind.

Worthy of a read, start with this one, and perhaps only then go to her debut novel The House at Midnight
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book grabbed my attention from the first page. I wanted to understand why Kate had moved to the Isle of Wight and why her relationship with Richard had broken up. I also wanted to know what had happened to the owner of the boat who went missing at the start of the book. Kate is an English/French translator and when her stormy relationship with Richard comes to an end she decides to move to the Isle of Wight because she had spent happy holidays there as a child. What follows is an atmospheric thriller in which Kate finds it is not as easy as she thought to say goodbye to Richard. Interspersed with her current life - working on her translations - becoming friendly with the islanders - working in a café, she is plagued by e-mails and phone messages from Richard which get more and more threatening and sinister.

Almost to take her mind off her own situation, Kate finds herself increasingly interested in finding out what happened to Alice Frewin - the lady whose abandoned boat was recovered at the start of the book. She gets to know Alice's husband, Peter Frewin and his friend Chris, who runs a second hand bookshop, and starts to feel as though she would like to stay on the island; but Richard has not finished with her yet and Kate needs to deal with the loose ends from her previous life before she can start to rebuild.

The writing is subtle and understated and all the more frightening because of it. The relationship with Richard is revealed gradually throughout the book as his e-mails become more sinister. I thought the way Richard was portrayed was very well done showing how his actions could always have more than one interpretation and how his charm worked its magic on Kate so that she believed everything he told her, to the extent that she almost destroyed her friendship with her best friend - Helen.

I also found the way Kate's growing friendships with people on the island were developed was convincing. The build-up of the tension to the frightening climax of the novel was superb and kept me reading. I wanted Kate to be all right and I wanted things to work out for her friends. I loved the way the Isle of Wight itself played such a part in the story. But this is not the benign summer holiday place that the tourists see; it is the island in winter with storms and high seas, where the life of anyone who tries to do battle with the elements is always at risk. This is a very satisfying novel and deserves to do well in my opinion.
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on 12 November 2010
This book turned out to be such a disappointment.I am only 60% through but I feel like I don't want to finish this and have started to skip pages just to see if finally an interesting plot emerges. I bought this book after having read some reviews and following some recommendations, but what a let down this is. The writing style is boring, amateurish and she spends far too much time describing in every little detail her surroundings and feelings etc but then totally seems to forgot to actually tell a story. I have kept reading as was hoping that eventually there must be some interesting and unexpected twist to the story but I think I might be waiting for ever...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 February 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I haven't read Lucy Whitehouse before and felt that this was an easy read which lacks any originality or anything to remember it by. It places itself in what has become a kind of sub-genre of the woman in jeopardy (Sophie Hannah, Nicci French, countless films) but without either the twisting plotting skills, characterisation or sheer creepy sense of the sinister which both authors, at their best, evoke.

Kate is another loner (a translator) with seemingly only one friend, who meets a man one night and starts an intense love affair. But things, of course, start to go horribly wrong and her attempt to escape (rather prosaically to the Isle of Wight) doesn't work out the way she expected.

The past and present narratives felt quite uneven to me, with all the interest being in the past. I found lots of the present story quite dull (cake shops in the Isle of Wight did nothing for me, I'm afraid). I also felt that the characterisation was very shallow and very `told': so, for example, we're told that Kate and Richard have a slightly competitive and combative bantering relationship but we never actually witness any of these conversation for ourselves. And, as another reviewer here has correctly pointed out, the villain is a very cardboard cut-out psychopath.

The end is definitely rushed and rather than being an emotional climax actually had me giggling a bit with the ridiculousness of it (I can't say why without giving away plot points which I think would be unfair).

So this is an easy and sometimes entertaining read, perfect for reading on the bus or tube, but there are far better plotted and written examples of this type of story, and the book is pretty forgettable. Average.
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on 12 July 2015
Very average. Far too many pages used to describe things - the streets, the roads, the shops, the island etc. Made it very boring to read. I needed more action as nothing really happens apart from a few emails from Richard. The concept of this story is good, I like the Richard character, but there was not nearly enough happening with him and her. There are far better books of this type around, this one is very boring in comparison.
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on 24 September 2010
If long descriptive passages are your sort of thing then you'll love this book, otherwise you'll think it tedious and long winded.
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on 25 February 2010
I also agree with one of the other reviews, this book really did bore me. I brought this book as i had read the authors first book and enjoyed it, it was original, exciting and unpredictable, this however was the complete opposite. There was far too much decription of the areas and places she visited, which took up most of the first few chapters and during all this i just wanted the book to get on with the story. I got to chapter ten and just had to give up because it became too much of a struggle for me as i felt the story still hadn't really started, it was just far to slow for me. Saying that i wont give up on this author just yet as her first book really did make up for this.
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on 5 February 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the sort of book you start reading at 6 and next look at the clock to discover a few hours have past - it is gripping and compelling reading, a combination of a love story mixed with just a bit of psychological thriller.

Although the book has few characters, each characters history is drawn upon and adds to the overall story, sometimes in subtle ways and as the end nears you kind of know what you are waiting for, but the big question is how it will happen!
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