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.The Divorce by Victoria Jenkins
Published on July 4, 2019
Genres: Thriller, Fiction
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
When Lydia and Josh Green walk into Karen’s office one rainy February morning, Karen sees a couple under stress, almost at breaking point. But working with struggling couples, finding out more about their problems, helping to save their marriages, is what Karen does.
But as Karen spends more time with Lydia and Josh, her sense of unease grows. Lydia is something more than just a woman whose marriage is in trouble. She seems frightened for her safety. Josh is angry, grief-stricken and seems to be hiding a dark secret.
And soon Karen herself is afraid – there is something about the behaviour of this couple that recalls traumatic incidents from her own past. There is something there that may be the key to saving them, if Karen can only unlock it in time.
It’s strange to me that so many publicity teams try to compare psychological thrillers to the heavyweights like Gone Girl. Mainly because most of the time, there are no similarities beyond the genre. Not every thriller is deserving of this comparison.
The Divorce is unique due to its narrative structure. Each chapter represents a different perspective of one of the three characters involved in marriage counseling.
The main character, Karen, is the counselor. The other two, Lydia and Josh Green, are the participants.
During each session, Karen gains further insight into the complicated relationship between the Greens. She suspects Josh may be hiding abusive tendencies given his rage issues and Lydia’s meek, fearful manner.
We are privy to how all three characters think and feel as the story bounces around each one, chapter by chapter. The idea of a psychological thriller playing out through various therapy sessions was an appealing idea to me. It reminds me of an old HBO show called In Treatment with a similar concept.
But The Divorce never delivers the same tension as In Treatment managed to. It is boring, tedious, and challenging to get through. The first half of the book goes in circles with every chapter retreading the same conversations and arguments again and again.
For a book that isn’t long, it drags. I wish the chapters had been shorter and more to the point. Then, by the time you get to the ending and the twist, it becomes ludicrous compared to the plodding story prefacing it. I predicted it early on, and it even intrigued me. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the way it panned out.
Should you read The Divorce?
I suggest you watch In Treatment instead. It’s full of more complex characters and intricate development. The Divorce is well-written, Jenkins has a talent for figurative and descriptive language.
I truly wanted to enjoy this book. For the first few chapters, I did. Then it became clear I would be in for much of the same for an extended period, and my interest slowly dwindled with every page.