Jack and Grace - the perfect couple, recently married, in the flush of a new relationship, it's hardly surprising that they're so devoted to each other. At first I observed the relationship as others see it, their friends attending dinner parties Grace has carefully and lovingly prepared. They probably envy her - her handsome, successful and very attentive husband. She's so in love with him, she's happily given up her career to make sure he's content. She spends her days caring for their lovely designer home and looking forward to the time in the not too distant future when her younger sister Millie comes to live with them. Their guests certainly want to include her in their social lives, invitations to lunch and offers of friendship are made, despite Grace having let them down by not turning up before.
I then began to see behind the closed doors, once the guests have gone, catching glimpses of Grace's life, both when she first met Jack and in the present. There is something very off kilter but quite what it is I had yet to work out .... and that's when my blood began to run very, very, cold. From small tinkling alarm bells grow huge clangs of disbelief and as teeth clenching realisation dawns to why Grace is like she is, I couldn't put this book down. It switches between now and before with ease, painting a detailed picture of a doomed relationship that is unlike any I've come across before.
Grace is in a situation I can only pray I never end up in. At first I began to think why on earth does she put up with the things she does, but the author very cleverly covers all bases in assuring us that escaping is pretty darned impossible. Jack is evil and manipulates her effortlessly, and I kept thinking "No, for heavens sake, how far can my incredulity stretch" yet, I did end up believing this story and warmed to Grace, especially towards the latter part of the book.
I really can't say too much about this book without giving too much away. It's obvious it's about some form of abusive relationship and I went into it expecting some kind of battered wife story - Oh but this is SO much more than that. It's extremely twisty and so clever it's a work of genius.
That I loved reading this wonderful book from a talented new author is not in doubt. That Jack will haunt my nightmares for some time to come is also assured!
My gratitude goes to the folks at Netgalley for offering this advance copy for review purposes and to the publisher for granting me access to it.
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.
He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.