Published: 5th April 2018
Shortly after Christmas, a message arrives at Sophie’s house, scrawled across her own round robin newsletter: HE’S GOING TO LEAVE YOU. LET’S SEE HOW SMUG YOU ARE THEN, YOU STUPID BITCH. Perhaps she should ignore it, but she ignored the last one. And the one before that. Now it’s time to take action. But when a simple plan to identify and confront the other woman goes drastically and violently wrong, Sophie must go to extreme lengths to keep her life and her family together – while never letting on her devastating secret.
Sophie has nothing to worry about; her life is as perfect as the little girl she once was imagined it to be all those years ago. Her husband Leo has a wonderful job with a large income, her children are doing well in school (or at least one of them is), her shop is slowly yet surely taking off and yet those mystery letters are about to destroy it all. When the plot first opened with Sophie writing her tradition Christmas letters, boasting about her family, I actually didn’t like her – I thought she was snobby, she came across as if she was better than everyone else and quite frankly, I don’t like that as a characteristic. Yet when she received the letter about Leo’s affair, her personality changed and I saw a vulnerable, softer sider to her which I really liked. After a few weeks of hunting for clues, searching the house and London flat – Sophie worked it out as to who the mystery woman was and somehow, things went from bad to very, very bad quite quickly.
“This troll wasn’t that stupid though – he or she obviously knew where to put an apostrophe.”
Once Sophie invites the secret woman into her home, she thinks she knows exactly what will happened next: a friendly chat, a gentle reminder about her marriage to Leo and before readers can blink, all hell breaks loose including the side table. The plot quickens rather quickly as the atmosphere became very tense between the two women and although Sophie believed that the situation was in her control, it actually wasn’t. What happens next is a quite the spoiler as you can probably imagine but as the narrative progresses, life got in the way big time for Sophie and it seemed to take her months to get rid of the problem.
“The dog wants his dinner, she thought in amazement. The world carries on.”
Alongside Sophie’s attempt to solve the problem, a lot of family on goings occur in the background of her life – her son smoking, her daughter worrying about her, her other son being abroad, her mother who is too frail to live by herself, the nosy dog walker, her best friend Melissa, the vicar who accidentally deletes the CCTV footage and her husband. Every moment that Sophie had to herself in order to formulate a plan, a curve ball would be thrown in her way and soon enough, the avalanche would collapse on top of her, her family and her life.
“You have no idea what life is like for most people. You live in this, this bubble and you think the rest of us want to hear about how well you’re doing.”
Towards the end of the book, two big elements of the affair are revealed – one in which I really liked and one which I thought could have used a bit more of a back story but nevertheless, I did wonder how the plot would end now that the other woman had been revealed. Laura writes mystery quite well – her chapters are full of detail, her main character of Sophie was brilliant and yet, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending and I have to be completely honest about that. I found that the ending wasn’t overly creative, that it was an easy way of finishing the book whereas I wanted to see justice done, I wanted the children to see what their parents were really like and most of all, I wanted the loose ends to be tied up neatly in a bow. Sadly, that’s not how I expected the plot to end which was slightly disappointing but nevertheless, I thought it was a brilliant book – fast paced with wonderful characters and shocking revelations.
Disclaimer: This book was purchased with my own money but I have an ongoing working relationship with the publisher.