EXCERPT: Lost in my thoughts, at first I don’t notice the footsteps behind me.
‘Excuse me . . .’
The voice is unfamiliar. I hesitate, unsure if it’s directed at me, then as the footsteps come closer, I turn around to find myself staring at a stranger.
‘I need to talk to you.’ As the woman speaks, I feel myself freeze. She looks older than her voice sounds, her grey hair wispy, her face strangely unlined. But it’s the colour of her eyes, a transparent ice-blue, that is hypnotic. For a moment I’m mesmerised then, as a van speeds past, her hand grips my arm, pulling me away from the road. ‘I have to talk to you.’ There’s an unmistakable urgency in her voice.
‘Someone’s watching you. They know where you go, everything you do.’
As she speaks, my blood runs cold. ‘Who are you?’
Without telling me, she goes on. ‘You think you’re meant to be together.’ Each word both softly spoken and crystal clear, her eyes fixed on mine so that I can’t look away. ‘You think he’s the love of your life.’ She pauses for a moment. ‘He isn’t who you think he is.’ Then a strange look crosses her face. ‘You’re in danger.’
ABOUT THE VOW: Everything was perfect. And then her fiance disappeared…
Two weeks before her wedding, a stranger stops Amy in the street and warns her she’s in danger. Then that night, Matt, her fiancé, doesn’t come home. Desperate, Amy calls the police – but when Matt fails to emerge, she’s forced to call off her wedding day.
Then another man is reported missing, by a woman called Fiona – a man meeting Matt’s description, who was about to leave his fiancée for her. He was supposed to be moving in with her – but instead, he’s vanished.
Amy refuses to believe Fiona’s lover can be her Matt – but photos prove otherwise, and it soon becomes clear that Matt has been leading a double life. As the police dig deeper, two conflicting, yet equally plausible stories emerge from two women who allegedly have never met.
The wedding day never happened. But the funeral might
MY THOUGHTS: Starting with something positive:I love the cover. And the flowers were a brilliant touch.
But the book? Repetitive and contrived. There are a lot of things that I would like to say, but it would create spoilers so I won’t.
I prefer the second half of the book, starting from where we get Fiona’s narration. I didn’t like Amy at all. I didn’t enjoy Jess’s input in the first half of the book because I think it gave too much away, but she really comes into her own in the second half.
Even then, I found myself skimming large tracts of text. This totally failed to keep my interest. I adored two other novels by this author, The Bones of You, and The Beauty of the End. After them, The Vow is a big disappointment.
Many other readers love this book. Reading is a very personal subjective experience, and not every book is for every reader. So, if you enjoyed the extract, and the plot summary interests you, please do read The Vow by Debbie Howells. I hope that you are one of the many who enjoy this read.
Improbable, implausible, contrived and repetitive (at the risk of repeating myself)
There are two sides to every story. But there’s only one truth.
THE AUTHOR: After a number of career changes, Debbie now writes full time, inspired by the peacefulness of the countryside she lives in with her partner Martin, Bean the rescued cat and a rather elderly golden retriever called Bernard.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Avon Books UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Vow by Debbie Howells. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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