I have just put Need to Know by Karen Cleveland down and already I am itching for more of it. I have read this in just over 24 hours; the quickest I’ve read anything but teen fiction in years! I am truly impressed with Cleveland’s storytelling abilities, character development and use of flashbacks. This is a stunning novel, and I’m already begging to be put on the list for an ARC of the sequel!
Need to Know by Karen Cleveland is out TODAY – RIGHT NOW!!!
What would you do if you had just discovered that your husband is a Russian spy? Vivian, a CIA agent battles with her morals throughout this novel as she comes to terms with this revelation and deals with it tremendously. Throughout, she is the only person the reader can fully trust and you really fall for her, living through the flashbacks of her and her husband, Matt’s lives together; how they met, their engagement, to pregnancy announcements and their children’s upbringing. Cleveland has done an impeccable job of intricately weaving characters through this story to create a seamless plot.
First off, I LOVE the story. I wish I could relay it all here now, but want to wait and see other people’s genuine reactions, so strictly no spoilers. It is such an easy book to read; everything flows together, as the prose is not clumsy, and all the actions and thoughts flow smoothly into one another. This is a book for many kinds of readers, as, while it is a bit of a thriller and there are quite a few tense chapters, there is an underlying theme of deception and family. The question going through Vivian’s mind constantly is “what would be the best choice for my family?”, even if it means Matt going to jail, or her losing her job. As well as this, Cleveland does an excellent job of diving into manipulation and vulnerability. Throughout their marriage, Vivian has repeatedly done things because her husband suggests them by playing on her emotions and making her care about things she may not have before this, even so far as saying that her ambition is one of the things that made him love her -ER GET OUT NOW!
I also enjoyed the way the children were real characters in the story; they were not just plot devices, which made the family dynamic even more heart-wrenching. Seeing Vivian’s love for her children, partnered with their love for their dad, who is the more active parent in the family really makes the reader feel for them all. The only elements of characterisation I did not like as much was that of Vivian’s colleagues; they are only mentioned in relation to the main plot and are conveniently not in the office a lot, which confused me a little in terms of how many people she worked with. Peter was a well-developed character, though, and I love how Cleveland wove his wife, Katherine into the plot. Omar, on the other hand, I felt needed more depth. I will not say more about him, as I do hope that there will be a second novel which will explore more of Omar’s character.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I would recommend it to all readers who love a good mystery, but can handle being taken down many different routes ending up a little confused as to how you got there until the rest is explained. This is a 5* book. I received an advance review copy of this book from Bantam Press in exchange for an honest review.