HarperCollins | 31 March 2022 | 352 pgs
Source: Library 

I was impressed by Sarah Pinborough's past novel, Behind Her Eyes, as I thought the plot was refreshing and twisty. However, I'd lukewarm feelings about this book and I'll get to that shortly. 

Emma Averell is a successful lawyer who balances her career and family life well but is afraid of her 40th birthday approaching. She has her reasons since her mother has gotten mad towards reaching forty and due to this and her estrangement with her mother due to a traumatic past, she's left quite haunted by the emotional turmoil and all these exacerbate her insomnia issue coming her 40th birthday. In addition, her relationship with her sister Phoebe hasn't been good and her sudden arrival leads her wondering if she has an agenda. What follows is Emma's bout of anxiety and in between her paranoia and her insomnia problems you began to wonder if she's really gone mad or if she (or the reader) is being gaslight. 

So here are my thoughts about the good and the not-so-good. To begin with, Sarah Pinborough has a way of writing that sucks you in. Her characters are usually complex yet intriguing and even if they aren't reliable, the reader is attracted by their narratives. Also, the subject matter in this book is a common issue in today's society so it makes the reader feel relatable and empathy towards Emma. As for the not-so-good part, it was slow and repetitive at times. Emma could get on one's nerves with her constant whining (about hitting the big 4-0) and truth be told, I found it lacking in the thrill department until the last third of the book; and by then it didn't help with how I felt about the overall story. That said, I still find the premise interesting and that it'd be an even more intriguing read with better execution. 
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12 Responses
  1. Lark Says:

    Whiny characters are never a good thing, especially when the rest of the plot feels slow and repetitive. Sorry this one wasn't better.

  2. This sounds disappointing.

  3. Melody Says:

    Lark - It'd be better if the plot was faster given the whiny character. Hope her next book will be better.

  4. Melody Says:

    Wendy - It was disappointing; I guess I expected too much since I loved her previous novel.

  5. Greg Says:

    Ooh that cover- that screams psycholgical thriller, doesn't it?? But sorry to hear this was a little lacking. I've been curious about this author since seeing behind Her Eyes adapted on, Netflix, I think? Maybe that one is the place to start if I ever get around to trying her.

  6. Melody Says:

    Greg - Behind Her Eyes was phenomenon, at least that's what I thought. I think that's a great one to start should you want to try out her book.

  7. Harvee Says:

    For the life of me, I can't go back to sleep after I wake up in the early hours of the morning. Does this cound as Insomnia? Your book looks thrilling.

  8. Melody Says:

    Harvee - I've that same issue, too. Always take me a while to fall asleep after waking up in the middle of the night. Not sure if this is insomnia (probably not). Anyways, I hope Sarah's next book will be better since I love her writing.

  9. I agree with you about Insomnia. I was sooo repetitive! I loved Behind Her Eyes, but Cross Her Heart and this one were underwhelming.

  10. Melody Says:

    Diana - I think Behind Her Eyes is her best book so far. I DNF'd Cross Her Heart as I couldn't connect with the story.

  11. Iliana Says:

    I thought Behind Her Eyes was really unique so it's a bit disappointing to hear this one falls short. I think it's an interesting premise for sure as I think it probably is more common than we think that there is anxiety towards reaching a certain age for various reasons.

  12. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Indeed. Hopefully her next book will be better.

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