3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Before We Met (Paperback)
Hannah had always been determined not to follow in the footsteps of her bitterly divorced mother, by being independent, headstrong and avoiding commitment. But then one New York summer whilst visiting friends, she meets fellow Brit Mark Reilly. Despite everything, Hannah finds herself swept up in a love affair that changes all her ideas about what marriage might mean.
After getting married and living in their elegant, expensive London townhouse, as well as being adored by her fantastically successful husband, she knows she was right to let down her guard and take a chance on happy ever after.
But when Mark does not return from a business trip to the States, the foundations of Hannah’s certainty begins to crack. Why do Mark's colleagues believe he has gone to Paris not America? Why is there no record of him at his hotel? And who is the mysterious woman who has been telephoning him over the last few weeks?
I am not a stranger to the author Lucie Whitehouse, having read ( and very much enjoyed) one of her earlier offerings 'The Bed I Made' a couple of years back. I had been meaning to get around to reading her other book 'The House At Midnight' at some point, but then I spotted this new novel in the airport before going on holiday recently and decided to buy it.
I like Lucie Whitehouse's writing style. It is very easy to digest, whilst being intriguing and interesting without any boring descriptive sections or waffle. I enjoyed The Bed I Made and whilst this one wasn't quite as good a story for me personally, it was still an enjoyable book.
Having read a couple of 'disappearing husband' novels recently I am wondering if there is a new trend for this sort of thing, but as long as there is intrigue and mystery with a twist or two then I will always be interested, whatever the premise.
Here we have Hannah, who is quite a level-headed likeable character, who despite all her 'rules to live life by' finds herself in a whirlwind romance and ultimately ends up married to this amazing man, Mark.
Well pretty soon you realise that maybe Mark isn't quite all he seemed to be and their marriage seems to be based on a web of lies and deceit. Hannah has to face up to the fact that Mark suddenly doesn't seem to be the man she thought he was.
After giving up her life in New York and a job she loved to be with her husband in London, Hannah has a right to feel angry when Mark doesn't get off a flight home he was meant to be on, as Hannah stands waiting to meet him. Hannah waits a while, making rational excuses in her head, but Mark doesn't arrive on any of the flights that night; nor is she able to contact him. What was happening? Where was he?
As time ticks by, Hannah starts to call people who might be able to help her and she soon realises things aren't quite right about Mark's' business trip. Why lie about where you are? What is he hiding?
Even when Mark does finally make contact, Hannah can't help but question herself – how well does she know Mark? The secrets are becoming obvious and faced with fear, uncertainty and no job or money of her own, Hannah realises the honeymoon is most certainly over.
To say anything more about the actual story here would give too much away, but I did find it a fairly interesting read throughout, with a sinister twist along the way too.
I enjoyed the characters of Hannah and Mark and found them well developed. I also liked the character of Hannah's brother Tom and also Mark's brother Nick. There was nobody who irked me in this book, which was a bonus.
I couldn't guess at how the story was going to end, which is another bonus, and whilst I enjoyed it, I did feel a little more time could have been spent on the aftermath, but overall it didn't take away my enjoyment of the story.
I read this book in two days whilst I was on holiday, but had I been at home, I may even have managed it in just one sitting as it does have a certain 'unputdownable' quality.
There have been comparisons between this book and Gillian Flynn's 'Gone Girl', which herald this new type of 'secrets within a marriage' type of thriller I referred to earlier, which seems to be increasing in popularity right now, but having read both of these books, I can say that in my opinion both this one, whilst not quite worthy of five stars, certainly exceeds the dullness and confusion of Gone Girl for me personally. Therefore I am happy to recommend!
As Hannah begins to dig into her husband’s life, uncovering revelations that throw into doubt everything she has ever believed about him and her investigation leads her away from their fairytale romance into a place of violence and fear, she must decide whether the secrets Mark has been keeping are designed to protect him, or protect her …