Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Missing Wife by Sam Carrington

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Missing Wife by Sam CarringtonThe Missing Wife by Sam Carrington
Published on June 27, 2019
Genres: Thriller, Fiction
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 400
Format: ARC

Source: NetGalley

Imagine turning up to your own party, and recognising no one. Your best friend has just created your worst nightmare.

Louisa is an exhausted, sleep-deprived new mother and, approaching her fortieth birthday, the very last thing she wants to do is celebrate.

But when her best friend Tiff organises a surprise party, inviting the entire list of Lou’s Facebook friends, she’s faced with a new source of anxiety altogether: a room full of old college classmates who she hasn’t spoken to in twenty years. And one person in particular she never expected to see again is there – her ex-boyfriend from college, the handsome and charismatic Oliver Dunmore.

When Oliver’s wife Melissa goes missing after the party, everyone remembers what happened that night differently. It could be the alcohol, but it seems more than one person has something to hide.

Louisa is determined to find the truth about what happened to Melissa. But just how far does she need to look…?

The Missing Wife is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I have to say I’m pretty disappointed in it. I think my main issue is that I felt like I had read this book multiple times already. There seems to be a strange, growing trend in the psychological thriller genre that involves new mothers struggling to keep their sanity in the midst of having a newborn child. I understand that postpartum depression is a real thing, but it is overused and overdone in books and sometimes even a little insensitive to the real-life mothers experiencing it.

Louise is having serious issues with her newborn baby. She continually forgets to feed him! She has a type of amnesia that makes her forget large parts of her past. All this and yet none of her friends, or even her husband, seriously consider getting her help? Then her husband and supposed best friend think it’s a good idea to throw her a birthday party. The party is where the story’s central conflict kicks off. One of Louisa’s exes shows up. His name is Oliver, and he’s a creep.

Oliver’s wife, Melissa, goes missing during Louisa’s birthday party and Lou can’t seem to remember anything about it. It’s an exciting plot, but again, I’ve read this story before. I admit I checked out about halfway through the story and skimmed the rest to figure out what the ending would be.

I was hoping the ending would make up for the rest of the novel, but it doesn’t, sadly. It’s very over-the-top and nonsensical. For a book that was extremely slow-paced for the bulk of the story, the ending suddenly throws the novel into hyperspeed.

Overall, The Missing Wife was not my cup of tea.

Should you read The Missing Wife?

It’s not a book I would recommend. Two other 2019 releases, Little Darlings, and The Mother’s Mistake, both have similar storylines and have tighter-pacing and more inventive plotting. I’d recommend checking those out instead if you’re intrigued by the main plot of this one.

Thank you to NetGalley and AvonBooks UK for allowing me the chance to read an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: The Guilty Friend by Joanne Sefton

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Guilty Friend by Joanne SeftonThe Guilty Friend by Joanne Sefton
Published on June 24, 2019
Genres: Drama, Fiction, Literary
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 400
Format: ARC

Source: NetGalley

Cambridge, 1986. Alex, Karen, and Misty are an inseparable trio at Cambridge University – one can never be found far from the others. But when Alex dies suddenly, the remaining two friends can’t look one another in the eye – knowing they both had a part to play in her death.

Present day. Misty and Karen haven’t spoken in years, but, convinced she has seen a picture of Alex alive, Karen doesn’t know who else to turn to. She soon becomes obsessed with a past she thought she’d left behind her… and her life begins to spiral out of control.

Because, when you’re living in the past, who is keeping an eye on the present?

BOOK REVIEW

What I anticipated out of The Guilty Friend and what I ended up with are two completely different stories. Based on the novel synopsis, I assumed two best friends would carry dark secrets about what lead to their best friend’s demise – as would be the case with a typical thriller.

That’s not the case here. I do feel like The Guilty Friend fell prey to some false advertising. It’s not a thriller. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t suspenseful or isn’t worth reading, just that it isn’t the book you might anticipate by reading the summary alone.

Mild spoilers ahead.

The story focuses on three girls, Karen, Misty, and Alex, in the past and the present. In the present, Alex is supposedly dead. In the past, we see how the three girls became so close but also the darkness that loomed over them. Alex struggled with anorexia, and the disease became both a weapon and a wall.

In present-day 2019, Karen thinks she sees Alex on television, and it spawns the semi-mystery of whether or not Alex is alive. But if you’re expecting the book to become a sordid tale of Alex’s past, it doesn’t. The focus is really on Karen’s daughter, Tasha, who also succumbs to anorexia and her journey through it.

Misty has become a doctor who specializes in eating disorders as a way of making up for what happened to Alex. She blames herself for not being able to save her.

I understand what the author was trying to do. In her author’s note, she talks about wanting to alter the common thriller trope. Instead of a human antagonist or violence, she wanted the tension to stem from a disease. It does, but the book spends more time on the dramatic tension and relationships between characters than an overarching mystery or story.

There is more angst, sadness, and exploratory emotional beats than there is suspense.

That said, The Guilty Friend is still a compelling read. The author is tasteful and factual in her depiction of anorexia, and it’s nice to see someone tackle this disease without glamorizing it.

However, I did find the story too meandering for my taste. It failed to keep me engaged for large portions. Am I glad I read it? Yes. But it wasn’t always easy to get through and not just because of the heavy content.

Should you read The Guilty Friend?

It depends on your tastes. If you want to read an emotional story about women trying to help each other through intense grief and the terrible disease that is anorexia, then yes. Sefton is a competent writer. The characters are well-crafted, and even though the relationship-building sometimes falls short, there are some stunning scenes in this book.

If you’re expecting a more traditional thriller or suspense story, I advise skipping it. I don’t think you’ll be satisfied with whats offered here.

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