31 January 2017

Today's Read: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah PinboroughImagine 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.
Look at my hands. Count my fingers.
Look at clock (or watch), look away, look back.
Stay calm and focused.
Think of a door.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (Flatiron, 2016, p. 3 [ARC])

Quick Facts
  • 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.


Tina 1/31/17, 6:33 AM  

Very intriguing. Now I have to read it, I will let you know I toss this book at the end.

Sarah's Book Shelves 1/31/17, 7:36 AM  

I've been hearing lots of buzz about this one...the obligatory this year's "Gone Girl", etc. Glad you liked it despite the ending. Though I've been staying away from thrillers lately, I might have to give this one a shot.

Kay 1/31/17, 7:41 AM  

I preordered this one for audio and got the notice that it's now available. It will be my next listen. And, I love how you whetted our appetites (mine anyway) for the ending. Noting the 2 authors who loved it, I suspect I might be in the love category, but we shall see.

collettakay 1/31/17, 8:26 AM  

I'm not sure about this one but I hope you enjoy!


Unknown 1/31/17, 8:35 AM  

I'm imagining all kinds of things will go wrong. Sounds good.

My TT from The Dog

Unknown 1/31/17, 8:38 AM  

Interesting premise for the book. Sounds from the teaser like the character is suffering from PTSD or BPD.

Mine this week is from Gone Girl https://wp.me/p3Nz8P-1ca

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 1/31/17, 10:24 AM  

Makes me reminded of my restless nights of late. LOL Curious for more for sure.

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 1/31/17, 10:32 AM  

This sounds like my kind of read. From the snippets you shared, I get the feeling there is a set up involved--the couple know enough about this woman to pursue her for their own reasons. Still, I want to read it, and appreciate the thoughts you shared.

Laurel-Rain Snow 1/31/17, 10:32 AM  

I have been ogling this one for a while, now, and yay! I downloaded it today. I can't wait to read it.

Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

rhapsodyinbooks 1/31/17, 10:37 AM  

I hate it when the last few pages inspire the throwing-across-the-room feeling!

Literary Feline 1/31/17, 11:17 AM  

Now you have me wondering about that ending! You have me curious about this one, Beth, although I admit at first I was too sure about it from the description. I do like your teaser though. I want to know what's going on right away.

Becky LeJeune 1/31/17, 11:25 AM  

I loved it, 100%! That said, I've been reading Pinborough for years so while I didn't see the ending coming, it didn't surprise me that she went that direction.

Nise' 1/31/17, 11:43 AM  

The love it or hate it ending hooked me. Going to look for this book.

Irving Media Center 1/31/17, 12:12 PM  

I keep hearing about the ending of this book....I have it on reserve at the library. Can't wait to finally get to it!

Margot 1/31/17, 1:58 PM  

If love the opening paragraph. It's very creative and makes me think/hope the rest of the book is the same way.

Anonymous,  1/31/17, 2:01 PM  

I've sworn off thrillers. Stop tempting me!

Unknown 1/31/17, 4:34 PM  

I just finished it and rushed to your post. I didn't like the ending either. I loved it so much prior to that. Ugh. Not sure how I'll review.

Anonymous,  1/31/17, 4:38 PM  

Sounds like the woman's in a sort of catch-22 — I'd keep reading. This week, my intro and teaser are from Mr. Churchill's Secretary: http://wp.me/p4DMf0-1ti

Iliana 1/31/17, 9:20 PM  

What a great premise for a good thriller and of course now I'm curious about the ending!

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine 2/1/17, 12:00 AM  

That's exactly how I felt about the movie La La Land - loved it right up until the end and now I can't understand why everyone loves it.

Cleopatra Loves Books 2/1/17, 1:03 AM  

A great review and I still can't quite believe I still loved it at the end, but I did. One of the most memorable of books I've read in this genre but I'm sure that there will be plenty more readers like you, who hate the ending.

Daryl 2/1/17, 7:54 AM  

oh now i need to at least read the end .. kidding .. putting it on my TBR list .. thanks!

Lit Addicted Brit 2/1/17, 4:47 PM  

I feel exactly the same as you about the ending. I still want to recommend the book to people because it's a good read but the ending was just not for me.

Deb in Hawaii 2/4/17, 12:07 PM  

I have this one coming through Book of the Month and I am looking forward to reading it. (And now you have me especially curious about that ending!) ;-)

Sarah's Book Shelves 2/7/17, 5:35 PM  

Just finished it...and I DESPISED the ending! You took the words right out of my mouth with "wanted to throw the book across the room." UGH!!

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