This was a book that I picked up from the ‘Book Club’ section of my library. I’ve always liked the books I’ve picked up from there. The books normally have layers, and lots of elements to them, so if I am in a hurry, I just grab the first one that catches my eye. Thankfully, this one caught my eye.
From the Blurb
When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.
But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.
Cathy was once a carefree, the happy woman, who falls in love with Lee. The man who can’t do any wrong, the perfect boyfriend. Not just in her eyes, but also in her friends’ eyes. He is just the perfect man, loving, caring, and he even wants to get married. Her girlfriends, who long for a relationship like that, can’t understand why Cathy isn’t jumping with joy. Little do they know that for her, he is slowly turning into a very different, very scary person. Cathy’s life is not what she she signed up for, and she has no way of getting out. She is trapped. The way Lee’s character changes, was absolutely scary to read. It is so easily possible. You feel for Cathy, you feel her helplessness, her desperation. The way the story builds up, is very well done as well. We know a little, but not everything, but enough to keep us going, and wanting more.
Cathy, as the woman she is now, is again, beautifully portrayed. Her fears, her OCD, her constantly being on the edge, it just shows how a violent relationship can change a person, scar a person. The heights to which people can go, right from stalking to physically causing harm. Cathy is slowly getting help to overcome her fears, all thanks to her new neighbour Stuart and for the first time since her traumatic experience, she feels hope. Hope that she might lead a normal life, that she might not need to look over her shoulder all the time, when everything changes.
One of the saddest revelations was finding out what Lee did for a living. Although I have to say, I did have a slight inkling about that. But it just made things so much more disturbing.
This was a book that I couldn’t stop reading. Thankfully I was reading on a Saturday night, so I could read until late in the night, and believe me, it took a while before I went to sleep. I went downstairs to check my locks more than once. Every noise had me starting. The book had that much of an effect on me. I loved the way it ended. It was just brilliant, with right amount of everything. I wish I could say more but.. Well, just read it! You won’t regret it (if you like this sort of books, that is).
A book I would highly recommend. It could even be a cautionary tale. An immensely powerful book, powerful writing, strong, strong plot, beautifully thought out and very well-defined characters. But if you tend to get easily affected by books, I would say, be cautious, this might not be the book for you. It is a strong book, in the sense, that it could be unsettling. But for me, it was a 5/5 read. This is the first book that I have read of this author, but I’m sure this wouldn’t be my last.
About the Author
Elizabeth Haynes grew up in Seaford, Sussex and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University.
She currently works as a police intelligence analyst and lives in Kent with her husband and son.