2019: Julianne is preparing a family dinner when her son comes to her and says he’s found something on his iPad. Something so terrible, it will turn Julianne’s world into a nightmare and make her question everything about her marriage and what type of man her husband is or is pretending to be.
1990: Holly is a fresher student at Oxford University. Out of her depth and nervous about her surroundings, she falls into an uneasy friendship with a group of older students from the upper echelons of society and begins to develop feelings for one in particular. He’s confident, quiet, attractive and seems to like her too. But as the year progresses, her friends’ behaviour grows steadily more disconcerting and Holly begins to realise she might just be a disposable pawn in a very sinister game.
A devastating secret has simmered beneath the surface for over twenty-five years. Now it’s time to discover the truth. But what if you’re afraid of what you might find?
I actually enjoyed this book. Although with it’s dark, twisted and often decidedly disturbing accounts this almost doesn’t feel the right thing to say. But I did.
This book covers sex, rape and abuse and at times I did find it slightly difficult to read, but it is the main thread of the story and is relevant to the book. It is also a character driven book, and a dual timeline story. There are a number of characters and we see their lives pan out within this dual timeline narrative between their adult lives, now mostly married and with children and back in 1991 as students at Oxford University.
Most of the characters come from upper class, wealthy backgrounds apart from Holly who not only feels out of place amongst these new friends at uni but also out of place in her own home life with her parents. The book opens with present day Julianne now married to James, with her son. He finds something on his computer that takes Julianne and the reader back to those years at Oxford and opens up a cavern of memories that are about to change her life completely. Its hard to give too much away without spoilers but this book was nothing like what I expected it to be, with some hard hitting but believable topics. A great debut novel however that I found I couldn’t put it down and needed to know how all this would eventually pan out for all those involved.
This book really coaxes you in then……wham! I was left slightly shocked but also so wanting to know what could happen next in this story and to what extent, if any, it affects the lives of all of the characters.
Have you read it? How did you find it?
Sarah at Babbage and Sweetcorn.
I received a copy of this e book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.