Inside The Lives of The Roanoke Girls.

Wow, that’s a lot of dead girls.

If there is one line that summarises this book, then this would be it. The Roanoke Girls, much like the historic colony are shrouded in mystery. However, unlike the colony, Amy Engel’s Gothic narrative tells a dark and deeply twisted tale of the teenage girls of Roanoke. This book is certainly a page-turner, and is definitely not for the squeamish, or weak willed.

Engel’s narrative focuses on Lane Roanoke, who tells her story from both the past and present. The past focuses on the summer after her mother’s inevitable death, when Lane is invited to live with her grandparents and cousin, Allegra at the intriguing Roanoke. The present begins with Lane returning to Roanoke for the first time since fleeing 10 years previously, to discover what has happened to her missing cousin. This narrative technique creates a grand contrast between past and present, whilst highlighting similarities in the characters, and how events surrounding Roanoke are destined to repeat themselves.

The characters are developed naturally, with Lane and Allegra discovering and succumbing to their dark sides at various points, offering extra dimensions to their personalities which makes the reader continue. I personally felt that, while the reader is given their background, the Gran and Grandad’s personalities are never fully explored by Engel. It is never explained why the girls’ grandad proceeds with his actions, and is unwilling to stop, except his own narcissism and self-love. I felt that there needed to be more explanation as to how he wound up the way he did. I felt similarly about the girls’ Gran throughout until the end of the book, where she explained to Lane why she loves their Grandad so much.

Cooper and Tommy, Lane and Allegra’s respective love interests in the book are also well-developed. They are the opposite of one another, while Lane and Allegra are more alike than first appearances show. Cooper begins as a representative of Lane’s darkest desires, while Tommy begins as the moral compass for Allegra’s devious and cheeky character. By the end of the book, however, Cooper is Lane’s knight in shining armour, while Tommy actually proved to be Allegra’s downfall.

My main criticism of this book is the writing style. Although it is very easy to follow, Engel constantly inserts Lane’s graphic sexual encounters, often unnecessarily to fill points when the story needed a break from the hard-hitting content. She also writes as though she is writing for teenagers, or young adults, a market which is inappropriate for the content. However, it is the ideal read for those who prefer a simplistic style of story-telling, yet are also interested in dark, gothic stories.

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My Absolute Darling – Dare you read it?

Gabriel Tallent has shown us his true talent with debut novel, My Absolute Darling. This novel is literally un-put-downable, and will have you on the edge of your seat for all the wrong reasons.

The story follows Turtle, a teenage girl who is cared for solely by her abusive father. Right off the bat, this novel is extremely disturbing, depicting violent acts of abuse; this book is not for the light-hearted. The book follows Turtle as she goes on a journey of self-discovery, learning what it means to be herself, what it means to be free, and what it means to be her father’s ‘darling’. The narrative is adventurous, as Turtle befriends two teenage boys, yet still focuses on Turtle’s recognition that her home life is not ‘normal’ by any standard. Throughout, Turtle learns the true meaning of love, and realises what her father truly is, and why.

Tallent’s writing in My Absolute Darling is very mature, and although his voice is more masculine, he acknowledges this in his depiction of the lead female character. It is never questioned why she appears unfeminine and misogynistic. This novel is told in a first person stream of consciousness, which I thoroughly enjoy reading personally, and believe that it lends itself to this narrative, as it makes for a less predictable read. The characterisation is very strong, and I particularly enjoyed the charismatic charm of Turtle’s father, and the whimsical nature of Brett and Jacob. I did not particularly relate to Turtle as such, however admired her bravery and stubbornness. I liked how she never admitted defeat, and managed to get herself and others away from situations when most would have given up.

Above all, I believe that if you can handle very disturbing and triggering events in a book, and enjoy a serious read with an adventurous side, then pick up My Absolute Darling. This book is not for everyone, so I would only recommend it to those with similar reading tastes to my own. (Stephen King, Hurley, M.G. Lewis)

 

Review of The Quiet Man by James Carol

This week, I have read The Quiet Man by James Carol, the fourth in his detective series surrounding the cases dealt with by private investigator, Jefferson Winter. I did not realise until after I had read it that it was part of a series. This presents a good foundation, as it means that the story works as a stand-alone novel, however it is a shorter text, therefore this explains why.

I enjoyed the beginning of the novel; Carol sets the scene well, with the reader being presented with the situation. Three women have been murdered on the same date over the past three years – August 5th. They have all been tied to a chair in their kitchen with a bomb strapped to their chest, with the trigger being wired to the kitchen door. When their husbands have opened the door, their wives have been exploded by the bomb. There is currently no evidence of who may have conducted this murder, and it is coming up to August 5th again, so Winter joins Anderton in Vancouver to help her solve these crimes.

Winter’s character is the best, most relatable character presented by James; he does a brilliant job of painting him in context. You are shown throughout the novel why Winter is a detective, and how he can get into the minds of the different people involved in murders, including the perpetrator, victim, and the family members. This provides Winter with interesting character development throughout, and makes the reader enjoy his methodical ways of thinking. He is similar to a modern day Sherlock, yet preferring to deal with the psychology of a murderer, rather than physical clues; although he does focus on these sometimes. Winter’s thought process is the main focus of the novel, which at times falls a little flat. The middle of the narrative is often filled with Winter rehashing every little detail of the case thus far, every time he discovers a new detail which may help. Once or twice, this would have been a very effective method of progressing the plot-line, but once it has been used three, or more times, it becomes a bit dull. This, I feel would have been better filled with more background on Anderton, or the victims. I feel less connected to Anderton, because the only real information given about her is the information known by Winter. I feel as though Winter may have missed a trick with using his third-person narrative voice to give further background. On the other hand, it could be argued that this is effective as the reader is then seeing all events through Winter’s eyes, who is the main character within the narrative.

One of my favourite things about the plot is how Carol sets up the mystery. He has obviously gone through and meticulously plotted every detail, so there are no narrative holes, and this makes for smooth reading of the story. There are many rather surprising revelations, and will keep readers guessing, even if they are used to reading crime novels. This is because Carol brilliantly sets out the plot, so that the reader is wondering about each husband involved, and when the revelations are made about the killer, they come smoothly and naturally, but not so quickly that the narrative stumbles. Carol has written fluently and effectively to describe Winter’s case and the ways the other characters fit into it. He provides effective characters who propel the plot, which means that the reader is not swinging between theories, but can be floated along with the rest of the narrative.

Overall, The Quiet Man is an excellently written detective novel, surrounding a well-written murder mystery. The novel boasts great character and plot development, but sometimes falls short in terms of repeating information unnecessarily. Carol has presented a great mystery, with a brilliant solution, and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Would recommend to anybody looking to read an easy-going piece of detective fiction, coupled with some graphic descriptions of the murders, and some effective character progression.

How Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions’ Could Shape Today’s Society.

Today, I have read an incredible non-fiction, short book by Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie entitled Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.

This book is, in its most basic form, a modern-day explanation of feminism. In her fifteen points, Adichie explains how gender roles are constructed from day one. Not only does this include how adults talk to young girls, or how their clothes are separated, but it explains the difference in how parents speak to their baby girls compared with boys. This aspect focuses slightly more on the parenting side, as she is explaining to her sister how to raise her daughter feminist, however it is important to consider these things, and interesting to know in case you need anecdotes for feminist debates.

One of the best things about the way Adichie writes is that she is completely unapologetic. She sees no need to shroud the truth of what she is saying; she has a point, and she makes it, if you do not like it, take it up with her. This is the way girls and boys alike should be raised. They should be given all the possible information to make the best decisions possible about the ways they behave. Girls should know from being young, that being bossy is not a bad thing, and that for a man, they are being authoritative and taking control. Therefore, bossiness should be encouraged in all children, as long as they are not rude. These lessons are so important, and a lot of people still do not understand them. ‘Acting like a girl’, for example, still seems to imply that we are expected to cross our legs, fold our hands, and smile and nod politely. Adichie addresses the concerns surrounding these things, and shares anecdotes of people who have been forced to act girlier in order to conform to society’s expectations.

Overall, Adichie’s book addresses some topics which everybody should understand, or at least people who class themselves as ‘feminists’. Her section discussing ‘Feminism Lite’ is interesting to see how many people try to justify themselves as feminists when they are not fighting for equality. She discusses how to speak to your daughter about sex in a way which makes sure they understand that sex is not just for men. Finally, she speaks about the social norms which all boil down to gender roles, such as taking your husband’s name upon marriage. Her anecdotes are put into context within her own cultures; America and Nigeria, and it is interesting to see how similar their viewpoints are on these topics, while they may like to think otherwise. I would recommend this book to anybody who does not quite understand feminism, and how it works, or as a way to explain it to an older or younger family member. It definitely lends itself to female and male readers alike, and truly represents the true nature of feminism; equality for all.

Review of Needful Things by Stephen King

Needful Things by Stephen King is an incredible narrative which delves deep into the psyche of individual people, yet reaches out generally also. While commenting on the materialistic nature of today’s society, King creates a completely new world. While at first seeming mundane, the supernatural elements within the story separate this town from the outside world in the reader’s mind, transporting them, as great writing does, into a new world.

Needful Things focuses on a town created by Stephen King. In this town, there are murmurs about a new man coming to town to open a shop. Needful Things, it is called. They are intrigued, and from their general interest in the new shop, the characters are outlined. There are the curious and young, who will endeavour into the shop without a worry. There are the curious but shy, who will eventually enter either with a friend, or on a dare. Then, there are the sceptics, who do not believe that this town needs another new shop. While the characters in King’s novel are typically cast in their base gender roles, their materialistic desires break them free of their conformity, however not in a positive way.

The town is suddenly overwrought with its neighbours playing tricks on one another, which sure enough become deadly. King shows this characterisation in such a way that it makes you question your own nature, and which possessions you would do almost anything for. This is because none of his characters are inherently good, something I have always admired about King’s writing; they are gritty, raw, and real. They all have something in life that they are not proud of, and even the younger characters throughout the story have their own personal issues. The focal character of Needful Things, Leland Gaunt is painted wonderfully, and also develops with the rest of the town. He gradually transforms before people’s eyes into what he truly is, but they cannot see past their shiny new objects which he has given to them.

When the novel reaches its ‘chaos’ point, as there always is in Stephen King’s fiction, you see just how truly materialistic we are as a society. If you take a moment when reading this novel, when you think things have reached the boiling point, you will see how true this story could be if people could actually get hold of their prized possession. If all they had to do was complete some ‘simple’ tasks. It bizarrely shows just how crazed a certain object, or feeling can make a person. In the end, with what is left, it is important to analyse the picture; who survived, and who did not? Why did certain people have to die to make this story more compelling, and why did certain people have to live? When answered, you can understand how Needful Things is attempting to portray humanity.

 

Review of Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land.

Good Me, Bad Me is a psychological exploration into the mind of a teenage girl who has been brought up, and continually abused by her mother. She has just turned her mother into the police, who happens to be a serial killer. The basic plot of this book follows Milly (Annie), as she tries to start a new life with a foster family, while dealing with testifying at her mother’s trial, and the nightmares which haunt her. She is fighting against her good side, and bad side.

The book has been cleverly written so that, even if you do not particularly like Milly as a character, she makes you root for her. Land has done an excellent job of presenting a character who is having an internal battle, yet does not feel as though she can discuss it with anybody. Following Milly in school, watching her respond to classmates, teachers, and bullies was a brilliant way of showing a mentally damaged individual in a normal environment. This meant that we could be in her mind in a situation we have all been in before; high school. She suffers through similar problems to most young girls, therefore the reader can tell that her view on the situation may be different to how they, or another, less psychologically damaged individual would react. The high school atmosphere makes the story accessible for teenagers and young adults, while the trial and darker aspects still make it attractive for an older audience.

My favourite aspect of this book is Milly’s mother’s voice in her head, as this represents the character’s internalised struggle to stay good and do the right thing. Furthermore, the characterisation of Mike as the ‘doting father’, Saskia as the ‘vacant mother’, and Phoebe as the ‘teenage brat’ were played out well, with underlying circumstances behind each character. I felt that the relationship between Saskia and Milly could have been played out more towards the end, as she has had problems also. They could have helped each other out, and moved forwards together.

Another intriguing thing about Good Me, Bad Me is the fact that we never get told the mother’s name, and her face, and Milly’s, never get described within the narrative. This could have been done for many reasons, however I believe that it is partnered with Milly’s thought process whereby she does not want to look at herself, or her mother. Also, I think that if Milly had used her name, she would have spoilt that one part of the story which is kept to herself. Also, the actions of the mother are only suggested, using imagery, so as to appeal to a younger age range. However, I believe that it would be inspired if Land wrote a prequel to this book, detailing the actions of the mother. This could appeal to an even darker, more niche sector of the market, while improving the diversity in the demographics of the reader.

Finally, I would be interested to see how Milly’s character develops in the future. The open end left us with a finale to this particular story, however now she has chosen to embrace on side, it could be very interesting. I would like to see how different she really is to her mother, and what similarities remain.

 

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Review of The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley, published by Tartarus Press in 2014 truly deserves the title of the British Book Awards Book of the Year 2016. It is an amazing piece of Gothic fiction and Hurley has outdone himself by writing such a compelling first novel.

I loved the sound of The Loney when I received it from my brother as a 21st birthday present. Although I am usually not a fan of British literature, often preferring to be in a place where I do not know where I am, so I can lose myself easier in the words, I thoroughly enjoyed The Loney due to its disconnection from normal Northern England; the description of Morecambe Bay, where it is set appears other-worldly and yet very well fits into our ever developing world on Earth at the same time. Hurley himself admits his love of the Northern landscape, and his captivation with the obscurity of the North. He sees these places as alien and foreign as the reader does. When he spoke about writing this novel, he described that he wanted to write the stories hidden in the landscapes, not the stories of the characters; they are merely a group of people in the right setting at the right time in his perspective.

He achieves this, particularly in the sense that the importance of the settings and atmosphere take over from the characters’ lives right from the beginning. This is also the reader’s first very obvious hint that this is a Gothic novel. As a reader, the settings are more important to the story than what the readers actually say, and reading between the lines is key to understanding the full complexity of Hurley’s compelling narrative. The main content surrounding the characters is in what they do, rather than say, and the way they obviously feel due to what is around them and the overall atmosphere of a particular setting. In some ways, this links rather fluidly with Hanny, the character who is the main focus of the basic plot of the book, as he is mute, and so feelings and actions are the only ways in which he can express himself, so in a sense the reader feels that too.

Akin to the likes of Stephen King, Hurley’s characters in The Loney are all flawed in some way and none of them are fully redeemable by the end of the novel once you have discovered their full personalities. The characters are realistic and relatable if the reader allows themselves to admit their own personal flaws, as these characters do have very normal and real issues. Hanny is the one character with whom I do not resonate. I find him difficult to understand, yet enjoyable to read about. He was born mute, and there is nothing done to help him through his disability as his mother is too set on finding a cure. She believes that Hanny’s disability was a punishment from God, and so she takes Hanny and attempts to cure him. He is never accepted for himself as he was born, and cannot communicate his wants and needs so often lashes out in his frustration. Smith, his younger brother and the narrator of The Loney has spent his whole life anxiously watching over Hanny and so ends up annoyingly neurotic and over protective. The group of religious adults along with their priest have their own sub-plots and back stories which are all told through the spying eyes of Smith who hears and knows far too much for somebody his age, although he does not fully understand what he knows.

The plot of the story revolves around a religious group of adults taking the two sons, Hanny and Smith on their annual church holiday. When they were younger, the trip would always be to The Loney, yet they have not been in quite some time. Aside from natural dilapidation, the setting is how it has always been. The only difference lies in Smith now being old enough to understand more things, notice dodgy characters and strange occurrences which go avoided and unnoticed by the adults who are more concerned either with their grudge about visiting the countryside in the North of England, or with their rituals surrounding Hanny’s cure. As The Loney progresses, we learn of Hanny’s sweet nature and kind temperament, as well as his sense of knowing when something is wrong; it is almost as though he was gifted with this rather than being able to speak. Hurley presents Hanny as a boy caught between two personalities; the childish boy who cannot express himself properly, and a wise, good man who he could become without his disability. Smith, on the other hand is the almost-hero of this novel; he had the potential to become the hero as he appears on the surface as a loving, devoted brother, when he actually has a dark side which shows his obvious need for Hanny to be disabled as it gives him a purpose in life.

During the preparations for Hanny to be hopefully cured by some sort of miracle, we meet the local ruffians whose accent Hurley displays perfectly, which is fun and enjoyable and makes the setting more believable and reminds you that you are on Earth in the story. As they wreak havoc through the tale in various ways, which keeps the adults occupied, Smith and Hanny become increasingly concerned with what is going on beneath the pranks. After Hanny loses his watch on the beach, him and Smith stumble upon some disturbing goings on when they attempt to retrieve the watch. If discovered by an adult, these occurrences could easily have messed up the ruffians’ plans, however the boys cannot communicate fully or properly what they have seen, nor do they have a full understanding of it to be able to explain it to their parents who are too busy with their personal issues to listen to their children.

As the narration develops and concludes, it becomes eerier and spookier as the reader is led into the lions’ den with Hanny and Smith. Hurley plays author-trickery here to confuse the reader so they do not understand what is going on by utlising the narration of the older Smith to distort the happenings. The mystery of the final events at the loney itself can be mind-boggling and frustrating and, because of this, Hurley has done a superb job at writing a great novel. I do not particularly like the portrayal of Smith at the end of the book, as there is next to no character progression, but in this way it is realistic as not every person in real life progresses and develops, some never grow out of old habits. In the end, Hanny is the most interesting character in my opinion as he is rather mysterious, yet good in the sense that he will do what he has to to get better for his mother; he wants her to accept him – that much is clear.

While it cannot compare to Frankenstein, it definitely ranks highly and makes me reminisce about Jekyll and Hyde, as well as Dorian Grey. It definitely stands for itself up there among the best Gothic writers of all time, especially in a genre which is under-represented by authors in this generation. Hurley has done an incredible job and should be proud of himself.

Review of “Before I Go to Sleep” by S. J. Watson cont.

Finally, I have found the time to finish my review of this book!

In this final part of my review, I will be discussing the ending of the novel, summarising what I thought the whole way through.

For Part 3: Today of Before I Go To Sleep, I found it gripping and thrilling, with a little disappointment all tied into one. Here, she has woken and it is back to where the novel began; TODAY! She has read through her journal, yet has not found anything suspicious or to suggest that  Ben is not to be trusted and so, when he tells her to pack her bags, she obviously does without questioning it. At this point, she knows of Dr. Nash and certain things which she has remembered and occurred, yet the whole picture together is looking foggy. To the reader, this part of the book is very disappointing, as you begin to believe nothing suspicious is going to happen, yet obviously this is the end and so things must be explained. My personal thoughts here were that it is possible that Ben is about to explain everything to her; her attacker is going to kidnap her and make her relive the experience, or that Dr. Nash and Claire will come and explain everything. These explanations could be that any one of these characters did this to her, with Ben obviously being the top suspect, with Nash as a close second.

When it is revealed that they are going back to the place which she was found, the reader immediately knows that something is wrong; it is definite that we will meet the attacker and find out his reasons here. When Ben takes her up to the hotel room, I was obviously thinking one of two things, either that he would come back and re-enact the scene which he originally caused, or that the attacker followed them and would do it himself. When she begins to read the missing pages from the journal and realises that Ben is not who he says he is, I was so relieved that it would not be a completely happy ending. The style in which Watson executes this part is excellent, as he clearly leads you to believe that Ben is her husband and attacker at the same time throughout, however to have him as an ex-secret lover turned imposter husband is a stroke of genius. The fact that Adam is still alive is no shock, as Christine has said throughout the novel that she knows he is alive, yet the reader is led to believe that something bad happened between Ben and Adam to tear them apart. One of my personal theories was that Adam tried to treat Christine and Ben sent him away to stop it. However, none of that turns out to be the case. She reads the pages with the realisation that Ben wants her to know who he really is – Mike, the man she had an affair with, and the man who attacked her after she broke it off with him.

Her memories begin to shape properly around the incident, as she realises that her husband having to leave her after such a nice time together in their old home was actually because her real husband, Ben was coming home. The character of Mike here intrigues me, as he is very smart and calculative. Many ex-lovers would kill, or torture the person who they feel did them wrong, yet Mike knew exactly how to use the amnesia against her. He got what he wanted as he imposed for Ben after the doctors advised him to leave her, and he constructed their apparent 20-year marriage in a matter of months. He thought of an explanation for everything and knew that anything he did not think of today, he would have a second chance the next. While most men would see amnesia as a drawback, he saw it as an opportunity to get things right. Of course, by bringing her to the scene of the crime, he knows that she will remember and then will get the choice finally of him or nothing. When she chooses not to be with him and he goes crazy, I am terrified that nobody is ever going to find out the truth. Christine is in herself a very independently-minded woman as far as she can be, which I commend her for, as most people would be very weak-minded and wilful after that kind of situation, though she has attempted to take her life into her own hands.

After he creates the actual fire to burn any evidence that he was ever not her husband, or that he did anything wrong, she wakes up in hospital with saviour Nash to the rescue. He had phoned the police, her ex-husband, son and Claire in hopes of saving her. I am not quite sure how her journal survived the incident, since he used it to start the fire, but that is just one minor plot hole. She finally gets the life she wants with her memory, not fully but partially back in tact. She at least remembers who her husband and son are and who really attacked her.

Overall, I found the novel to be an excellent read. The entire time I was reading through her journal entries, I was hooked. I wanted to know exactly what, when, why, who and how everything had happened to her, and had many theories in my head. The disappointing part where you think there is never going to be any real terrifying suspense luckily comes at a point where the reader is so far into the book that they decide to read to the end even if it is not going to be that good, so that is a great narrative strategy from Watson, especially because it makes the reader even more impressed by the turnaround of events. The characterisation is good and, while you do not relate to Christine so easily, I found myself very readily relating to Nash and Ben in many ways in their patience and often their anxiety about her. The plot was very well written, and I felt that the book made itself an excellent gripping suspense novel.

Review of ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ by S. J. Watson cont.

This is part 2 of my review of S. J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep. In this section I will be reviewing Part 2: The Journal of Christine Lucas.

The journal begins with a brief summary of what the reader already knows, presumably to remind her every time she reads it. The first journal entry details her scepticism of the treatment and whether it will work, as well as carrying on her confusion, which the novel does very consistently and very well. Watson never misses a beat, making sure the reader knows when Christine remembers the journal herself, etc. While to some readers this may seem tedious, it assists in the understanding of just how brutal her condition is and so is a very clever narrative technique which I personally admire. She begins to remember vague shapes and colours in her head relating to places and events, showing that her mind is trying, yet clutching at straws at the same time. She quickly begins to remember older memories, like her father revealing his illness to her mother, however it is clear that more recent memories are harder for her to obtain. There is little consistency with when she remembers things and, because we are not told if she has ever remembered any of this before she began writing it down, the reader questions Watson’s knowledge of these kinds of mental problems and whether he knows how long treatment should take. For Christine, the treatment appears to work very quickly, especially as her journal is only set over 2 weeks. This could suggest that the treatment has simply worked wonders on her, yet also brings the legitimacy of her illness into question. However, her speedy recovery process does have the reader question Ben’s instincts and why he stopped her from being given any more treatment, as clearly the more modern treatments actually work.

When Ben gives Christine the account of their personal history, he appears to know every detail of how they met and what they did together, yet there are gaps in his story surrounding their life together. He knows little about friends and house-mates from the time, making the reader question what he really knows and if he is avoiding telling her certain things. Then of course, he tells her that she was hit by a car which was what caused her accident. While accidents like this can trigger neural problems, they often do not cause such strong amnesia, as this usually stems from some form of psychological damage. However, Watson will know that the readership will not consider that until much later. Because of this, the author makes the reader overlook the little details which Ben misses out, yet he is almost too deliberately setting Ben to be the bad husband. In one way, it makes reading the novel interesting, as you change your mind about him constantly yet, from other works of literature, the author appearing to make Ben the obvious evil character makes the reader actually question Dr. Nash. This is due to Ben being a realistic character, coming home moody and not always wanting to do everything their partner wants to do, and getting fed up with repeating everything to her everyday, which is completely natural. On the other hand, we have Nash who is young, attractive, and seemingly lovely. He does all he can for Christine and nothing less, making the reader like him, yet making him less personable, and therefore harder to trust all the time.

The inclusion of highly realistic marriage situations make the book so much more believable. Christine shows herself rejecting sex from Ben, as she feels she barely knows him, yet she then feels guilty and wonders if she does this to him every night and how he manages to cope with a woman like her around all the time. She also has the awkward moments when she is enjoying Nash’s company a little too much, yet this again is perfectly natural. To me, if Watson is writing a book where the woman who forgets everything only remembers being in her late teens, early twenties, then it actually makes perfect sense for her not wanting to have sex with her husband who, she feels is twice her age, and to have a crush on the young doctor who is taking care of her so well.

When Nash takes her to the old house Christine used to live in, she remembers her husband for the first time, giving legitimacy to his story finally and putting some of the reader’s faith in him. She remembers a sexual encounter and, when she describes things like his penis, the humour added into the memory really makes Ben seem trustworthy, as it is those little details that count, no matter how ridiculous; if she cannot remember the little details, he may as well have not existed. Watson conveys this memory very truthfully and powerfully with lighter aspects involved in the deeper realisation that she has finally remembered her husband. Her deciding to make love to him that night, is of course believable and very heart warming, as the reader is shown her love for Ben regardless of not having full memories. She of course then has the confusing memory of Ben having to leave to catch a train, which is not explained in this part. This once again is a technique used to plant the seed of doubt back in the reader’s brain. Her memories of her best friend Claire are a great addition to the book, as they really show that she is progressing, regardless of Ben keeping certain people from her. After this, she begins to have memories from the night she lost her memory; she remembers being attacked in a hotel room, yet the only name she can connect to the incident is Ed, which we learn is Dr. Nash’s first name. This fact could be used to put doubt in Nash as a character, as he has appeared more helpful than any usual doctor would, however she then realises that he is indeed too young to have been her attacker and so discards the idea immediately.

Towards the end of Part 2, she has remembered her friend, her husband, her son (although she is told he is dead), and has connected as much of her life back together as she can. She has realised that her husband kept all the horrible details of her life from her, including the fact that he once divorced her, so that she would not have to go through the pain of it, and he the pain of seeing her in pain. The book at this stage appears to be slightly disappointing, considering it is labelled a crime thriller, and not much thrilling stuff has happened within the book.

To be continued…

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