EXCERPT: Simone is sitting at a table, dressed casually in jeans and a lemon tunic top. The women at Bronzefield are permitted to wear their own clothes. Her brown hair is tied back in a loose ponytail and I’m struck by her ordinariness. She looks like your mum, your aunt . . . a random woman you might see shopping in the supermarket.
Yet the majority of the British public detests her. This woman who faced her abusive husband and said, ‘No more.’
ABOUT ‘THE EVIDENCE’: Everyone’s heard of Simone Fischer. The young mother accused of killing her husband in cold blood, one sunny afternoon, while their son played in the room next door.
So when journalist Esme secures an exclusive interview with her it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. Simone has remained silent since her husband’s death but after a decade in prison, she is willing to talk to Esme. And Esme, recently freed from her own toxic marriage, is confident she can get Simone to open up.
At their first meeting, when Esme sees Simone sitting across the table from her in jeans and a lemon tunic top, she is stuck by her ordinariness. Then Simone begins to tell her story of an abusive relationship where she was a prisoner in her own home, and Esme decides that the truth needs to come out.
But not everyone is pleased that Esme is telling Simone’s story. And when Esme’s beloved sister is left for dead in a nearby wood, Esme’s life begins to unravel. Forced to question what Simone has told her, she can’t help but wonder if murder was the only way out of Simone’s marriage. Why has it taken Simone so long to tell the world the truth? And will the consequences be devastating for Esme?
MY THOUGHTS: For the first two thirds of this read, I was thinking it was nothing special. But then . . . Then Slater started working the magic she had insidiously been building up to. All of a sudden the things I thought were facts, weren’t. The ‘truth’ wasn’t, and I was bombarded with new suspicions and finally, revelations.
I had an inkling about one of the twists, but my imaginings fell far short of where Slater was taking me. It was like getting on a train intending to get off at the next stop, then finding myself at the other end of the island.
The characters are not at all likeable. Esme seemed ‘cold’, except with Zachary with whom she was overprotective. But, in the circumstances that, at least, is understandable. I didn’t like her husband, Owen, at all. He made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up in a most unpleasant way. Then, when his mother, Esme’s mother-in-law, is introduced into the story, I understood why. She is an absolute nightmare.
One thing that really had me wondering was the lack of support for Simone. This is a woman who was convicted of murdering her abusive husband, a man who had systematically cut her off from friends and family, who belittled and bullied her. And she was despised. Where were the women’s support groups?
Slater addresses a whole raft of subjects in The Evidence. Particularly interesting is the relationship between Esme and her sister Michelle, who not only work together, but live together. Each of the sisters sees their relationship very differently. There is marital breakdown, sibling bonds and rivalry, family relationships, spousal abuse, murder, fraud, and more . . .
I: @KLSlaterAuthor @bookouture
T: @KimLSlater @Bookouture
#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #crime #mystery #suspense
THE AUTHOR: For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected an impressive stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.
Before graduating in 2012, she gained literary agent representation and a book deal. As Kim says, ‘it was a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’
Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottinghamshire with her husband.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Evidence by K.L. Slater 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
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