i have now read four books by lucie whitehouse, and given three of them four
stars cats. (ack, no one said there would be math!!!) to contextualize the four stars cats given to this book, i liked it more than Before We Met but not as much as my memory of The House at Midnight.
no more numbers, i promise.
this is a solid psychological thriller with big dollops of romantic suspense to sauce it up.
it’s not trashy – in fact, the actual sex is elided so much that there were a couple of times i didn’t even realize the characters had had sex until it was referenced later. one time i thought to myself – “why is he so rudely leaving the sexxytime bed to get a glass of water??,” only to realize we had skimmed right over the main event and this was post-coital hydration.
but there are definitely romantic suspense elements in play – everyone is attractive, some are wealthy, some are attractive and wealthy and famous, there’s all sorts of potential love-triangles and squares and what have you’s teasing through the tale, and there’s a central character, recently deceased, of blinding charisma and all the aforementioned wealth/fame/beauty romanticized into someone too perfect for this world & etc:
In those days, though, she would never have spent the night in a guestroom; she’d slept on an airbed in Marianne’s room so they could talk in the dark. On clear nights, they’d left the blinds open so that the moon shone in and picked out the shapes of the furniture, their hands and faces, with its ethereal white light. Marianne’s idea, of course: she’d had a gift for that kind of alchemy, for transforming the everyday into something memorable, otherworldly.
there are also examples of those writerly observations that exist only in novels of this kind – where fleeting glimpses of another character’s expressions are observed, accurately interpreted, and acted on in the blink of an eye and about half a page of text, where even painted expressions convey more than they possibly could without a little authorial padding:
…in her face, he had captured a mix of hunger, drive and desperate need.
but it’s a fun read, for sure, and i got “gotchad” by the book TWO TIMES,* which is always always welcome. in fact the first turn came so unexpectedly in the middle of a paragraph – hell, in the middle of a sentence, that i thought i’d missed something and i’d already started rereading the page before i realized that i hadn’t missed anything at all; i’d just been gone girled. which i have just officially coined as a verb to denote a sudden reveal or unexpected plot twist.
the pleasure’s a little guilty, but it’s pleasure nonetheless.
*sorry, i know i said no more numbers