Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.
Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?
And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?
The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie? (Goodreads)
I must admit this is a well-written psychological thriller. Very engrossing, immersive page turner.
But I also admit that I was slightly disappointed by how it ends.
Okay, I think what I’m going to say from here onwards will cast a shadow of doubt on my conscience and sense of justice. I’m actually sticking my head above the parapet here. Please do note that I’m merely talking from a hypothetical, fictional point of view. Please don’t hate me for saying what I have to say. I want to believe I’m not such a diabolical human being as what I’m going to say might make me out to be. And mild spoilers coming. Please take note of that too. (which means, if you don’t want to be spoiled, you might want to leave here and come back after you’ve read the book.)
First and foremost, it’s really weird; intellectually, I know I shouldn’t take sides of villains. The protagonist in this book, Grace is severely abused by her psychotic husband, almost a psychopath who savors the taste of fear and despair of his prey.
As I read on and on and on what Grace has experienced through her monologue, I began to take sides of Jack. No, most certainly not taking sides, but I was at least very curious to see what more he has up his sleeve.. he’s got all the exits covered, every single angle that Grace could possibly fathom. If Jack is as horrendous a psychopath as the author makes him out to be, I cannot help expecting to see more of that side of him, can I? (Oh, gosh, I’m horrible…)
As I go deeper in the book, it started to seem like a power game between Grace and Jack. As I said, I was very curious to know what more cards he’s got up his sleeve, but I was also intrigued to see how Grace eventually outmaneuvers Jack (Because we all know justice will prevail in the end, don’t we?) and gets Millie and herself out of this horrible, hopeless situation.
It was kind of painful to witness how harsh the abuse and the punishment from Jack become and what little freedom she has left each time she disobeys Jack. I was that harsh and painful to the level in which I wrongly wondered if it would be easier for Grace to give in.
But then again, when I put myself in her shoes long and hard – I cannot even begin to imagine how terrifying and maddening it is… this is another book can be a trigger to those who are sensitive to abuse.
As for the plot, it is well-contemplated and executed. This is certainly absorbing and a great read to lose yourself into.
The spine-chilling moments and suspense are definitely palpable from the writing, and the narrator did a stellar job in the audiobook – she certainly sent shivers down my spine!!
The last several chapters describing the crucial moments in Grace’s last attempt made my heart pounding hard against my rib cage. My heart was literally in my mouth. It was totally breathtaking.
Although I got a bit confused, in other words, lost track of where I was between the two time frames – present and past – I thought the narration style is cleverly done. Those two time frames are wide apart in the beginning, but as the story progresses those time frames begin to align with only a matter of hours (days? Either way, very close) left between and that was the point I got a bit lost as I was listening to this audiobook over the span of three days.
I was not sure about Esther either. To be more precise, I was tricked by her in a way. I mean, I thought the author passes her off as sort of a jealous, inquisitive type; envious of Grace having it all. So I was mildly surprised when I reached the end and found out what she really is. It was hinted that Esther could be more attentive, conscientious than she seems to be in the book, but with Jack’s shrewdness, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of her to be honest.
Overall, this is certainly a glorious, fantastically thrilling psychological thriller.
I’ve heard some readers favor this book over the next book, ‘The Breakdown’ and I definitely second that opinion.
This is no doubt a deliciously written page-turner and I should have given 5 stars to this book but I will settle with 4.5 stars at the moment.
My Rating: ★★★★.5