A late night call from her nephew brings Isla running. All she knows is that there was a fire, that her sister and her sister's new husband are dead, and that Callum needs her. Isla quickly realizes that she didn't know much at all about her sister's marriage or her new life. Things weren't as perfect as they appeared from a distance.
I loved this domestic thriller with its intriguing plot and fun little details that kept me immersed in the book. The story unfolds with Isla in the present and Annie's recent past leading up to the days just before the fire.
When Esther receives a text message from her husband that just reads "sorry" and comes home to find an empty house, she's panicked. Robin has stayed home to care for their daughter since her birth and, after an extremely difficult pregnancy, Esther was grateful that he did. Now he's left with their two-year-old and she's filled with questions.
This is one of those books where the narrator is deliberately withholding information from the reader. Almost immediately, we discover that Robin wasn't a perfect father or husband. The plot jumps between the past and present and chapters alternate between husband and wife. It was interesting, but everything important had happened long before that text message and I never felt a real sense of urgency or suspense.
When a researcher approaches her for an interview about her college roommate, Stephanie's husband advises her not to speak to him. He doesn't want her dredging up bad memories. It's been almost ten years. Allison's presumed murderer is behind bars even though her body was never found. There's an explanation for why Stephanie didn't ask more questions at the time, but it seems like at some point between then and now she would've started to wonder more about what happened.
I didn't love this one. It had me reaching for the dictionary twice in the first few chapters. I didn't have that reaction to The Visitors or The Influencer, so I'm guessing that it was supposed to be the protagonist's educated vocabulary. I didn't really warm up to Stephanie although until the plot started to unfold. Near the end of the book, things got much more interesting.
Disclosure - The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links.