EXCERPT: ‘Difficult, these cases. Unidentified remains.’ She gave me a half-smile. ‘They often get a good public response. They bring back so many memories, you see. So many questions from the past. What if it were my estranged mother or my long-lost sister or my first girlfriend? It makes people stop and think, doesn’t it? About the people who’ve really mattered in life.’
ABOUT THIS BOOK: What secrets lie behind this isolated house by the sea?
When Sophie’s life falls apart, she accepts an invitation from a childhood friend, Caroline, to visit her family’s beautiful beach house, situated at the mouth of an isolated cove, miles from the nearest town. The silence is broken only by the rhythmic crash of the waves against the jagged black rocks below.
But when Sophie arrives, she finds her friend much changed. Caroline – who used to be so warm and confident – is secretive and on-edge, spending long, unexplained hours away from her family. And then there’s Caroline’s little daughter Lucy – who stopped speaking soon after they moved in. Caroline assures Sophie that it’s only a phase, but Sophie thinks Lucy looks a little uncared for, a little afraid…
Then one night Sophie is woken by a scream and runs to find Lucy, out of bed and at the attic window, staring in terror at the view below. When Sophie goes to look, her blood runs cold…
MY THOUGHTS: When I first started reading The First Wife by Jill Childs, I thought it was a pretty ordinary sort of book. I have had a run of 2.5 – 3.5 star books, and I thought that this was another. I was WRONG! Very Wrong.
This is one of those books where the suspense creeps up on the reader insidiously. At just over 50%, I was reading along thinking, ‘Yeah, yeah, alright, nothing special,’ then only seconds later I am sitting bolt upright going ‘OMG! OMG! O! M! G!’ And then it just never let up.
Every time I thought I had things figured out, Childs threw in another twist, and I had to rethink things. Very clever writing, Ms Childs.
The story is told from two points of view: Sophie in the here and now; and Caroline in the past. I didn’t particularly like Caroline’s character to start with. I thought that she was a terrible mother, and that Sophie’s mother was correct in her assessment of her as a spoiled little rich girl. But then…I can’t say any more on that subject without giving away a major spoiler. So, Dom, Caroline’s husband. I really don’t know what to make of him, even after finishing this read. He is very focused, a bit of a player, and yet… he does have some redeeming features, like his love for Lucy. Sophie, Caroline’s oldest friend is grief-stricken following the death of her father and the break up of her own relationship. She has low self esteem, and is probably suffering from depression. Initially, it was really hard to like her. Pity, yes, but like, no. And Lucy, a three year old who has clearly been traumatised by something, but what?
I really enjoyed this book, and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a domestic mystery/thriller.
THE AUTHOR: Jill has always loved stories – real and imaginary. She’s spent 30 years travelling the world as a journalist, living overseas and reporting wherever the news took her. She’s now made her home in London with her husband and twin girls who love stories as much as she does.
Although she’s covered everything from earthquakes and floods, riots and wars, she’s found some of the most extraordinary stories right here at home – in the secrets and lies she imagines behind closed doors on ordinary streets, just like yours.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The First Wife by Jill Childs for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3202478265?type=review#rating_273380278