EXCERPT: Blood has a smell.
I look around me. I’m sitting on a bench.
It comes again.
It’s visceral, like meat.
I gaze down at my hands. I don’t recognize them; they lie upturned and curled in my scarlet-stained lap. Every crease is dark with what looks like rust. My palms open like flowers and I feel the skin stretch and tighten. A cold breeze skims the wet patches on my dress. The wool sticks unpleasantly to my skin and a chill slides down my spine.
I close my eyes.
Behind the lids the dying winter sunlight zigzags in orange and purple flashes. Somewhere behind the bushes I can hear the girls, giggling. I squint; I can’t see them now, but I know they’re there.
‘You can’t hide in here forever you know!’
There’s a woman’s voice. She’s getting closer.
‘I think it’s time we should be going though, don’t you? Come on.’
I squint. The viburnum bush trembles; its propeller-headed flowers nod and bounce in bright pink bells against the thicket of black. I imagine her reaction as she walks past. She’ll see the state of me and I’ll see her face: the shock at my matted hair and disheveled clothes. She doesn’t know who I am and I don’t want to scare her. ‘You don’t know me -‘ I’ll say. She’ll look at me, wary and unsure.
‘-But can I tell you what happened? I think you’ll understand when I explain.’ I’ll hold out my hands and she’ll see the state of them.
I know my story is also her story.
I’ve done this for her, for the children, for all of us… that’s why he’s dead.
ABOUT ‘THE MAN I MARRIED’: This is the story of Lucy and Paul.
They met. They fell deeply in love. They got married.
Lucy thought that she had everything she wanted.
Until she found the photograph from Paul’s past life, read the text messages he’s so desperately trying to hide. Until she uncovered Paul’s darkest secrets.
Now Lucy realizes she doesn’t really know her husband. She doesn’t know if she can trust her own mind. She doesn’t know the lengths Paul would go to keep his perfect life.
And worst of all, she doesn’t know that she’s in danger…
MY THOUGHTS: The character of Lucy both irritated me and intrigued me. I couldn’t understand why she married this man. I couldn’t understand why she continued to stay married to this man. I wanted to slap some sense into her. I wanted to watch the train wreck that I knew was coming.
Paul is a master manipulator. He plays Lucy like a virtuoso. He has a past that he continually lies about. Lucy is afraid that his past is colliding with her present. But how can she tell what is true and what isn’t?
Although there were things in The Man I Married that didn’t quite gel for me, and Lucy comes across as desperate and unhinged, I enjoyed it. This was due in part to the relentless pace of the plot, but also to the sterling narration by Colleen Prendergast.
My jury is still out on the ending. It’s quite a strange ending, and I am not totally convinced that this was the best possible outcome.
The Man I Married is Elena Wilkes debut novel, and I am excited to see what she writes next.
I: #elenawilkes #sagaegmont
#audiobook #contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #mystery #psychologicalthriller #romanticsuspense
THE AUTHOR: Elena Wilkes grew up in Walsall in the West Midlands and then worked for eighteen years in H.M Prison Service. The people she met there provided the basis for all her novels.
Many of the prisoners there came across as very ordinary people who had committed the most appalling crimes but would, one day, walk straight back on the streets.
This begged the question: how much do we know about anyone, really? The people who live amongst us may seem no different from us at all, but when you scratch a little deeper, you realise they hold some very dark secrets.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Saga Egmont Audio via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of The Man I Married written by Elena Wilkes and narrated by Colleen Prendergast for review.
All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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