you are a divorced women with a little boy, a possible drinking
problem, a part-time job, and few friends. When a beautiful, rich woman
decides to take you under her wing, would you return the friendship?
Suppose the woman needed a respite from her controlling husband, who
just happens to be your handsome new boss? Louise finds herself in just
this situation: drawn to her boss and his wife, hiding their secrets and
maybe a few of her own.
Pinch myself and say I AM AWAKE once an hour.—Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (Flatiron, 2016, p. 3 [ARC])
Look at my hands. Count my fingers.
Look at clock (or watch), look away, look back.
Stay calm and focused.
Think of a door.
- Setting: Contemporary times; London (with flashbacks to Scotland)
- Circumstances: Louise, a single, divorced mother, meets a handsome man at a local pub. The next morning, she discovers he's her new (married) boss. The following day, she literary bumps into a woman on the street, who then suggests they have a coffee together. The two hit it off, but Louise knows this is her boss's wife. The more Louise gets enmeshed in the couple's lives, the harder it is for her to keep a grip on what's best for her, her son, and their future.
- Genre: psychological thriller
- Characters: Louise, a secretary; Adele, her new friend; David, her new boss; Louise's son, ex-husband, and his girlfriend; a boy from Adele's past
- What I liked: Pinborough sure can draw a reader in. I may not have had much in common with the characters, but the women won my sympathies, and I wanted to know how their odd tangled relationships were going to play out. Louise is a little naive and lonely, and she finds both David and Adele hard to resist, though for different reasons. The more secrets Louise keeps, the deeper she's caught up in the couple's world. I kept thinking: something bad is going to happen . . . I just know it.
- Polarizing issue: So, I'm there, I'm fully invested, I can barely put the novel down. But then I come to the end. The last couple of chapters and . . . I want to throw the book across the room. The ending is love it or hate it. I don't think there's any gray area. I was in the "Argh, you have to be kidding me" camp. You'll have to read the book to see where you belong. If you're a love it kind of person, you're in great company (Harlan Coben, Joe Hill). I want to emphasize that I loved this book until the very end, so no matter how you react to the finale, it's worth your while to read.
- More thoughts: This is a Flatiron book, which means that editor/publisher Amy Einhorn had a hand in bringing the novel to print. I'm not sure I've ever had a miss with Einhorn, but I guess there is a first time for everything. It makes me sad to not love every bit of this book, but I have to be honest.
- Recommendation: Despite my reaction to the ending, I still say Behind Her Eyes is worth reading. The writing is good, and Sarah Pinborough knows how to build tension and create a foreboding atmosphere. Plus I'd love to know what you think. I agree with many others: this book will be talked about.