When I started reading this, I wasn’t so sure I was going to be able to continue. I was doubtful about my ability to deal with two mature (?) adults – one of which had left his wife and teenage daughter – who constantly craved each other’s bodies and behaved like sex-starved prisoners who’d been released from numerous months in solitary confinement, and who were both so thrilled that the other was mutually attracted to them! It was started to get a bit ridiculous, especially as David actually seemed like an OK guy.
But then … da da da dum … came the turnaround!!
The plot, which up until now had been rather doubtful, suddenly takes a turn for the serious and starts to take on a lot more depth. Maybe the author was just testing her readers; feeling them out to see who’d stick around for the long haul. Well, I was still there, and I got stuck in!
After thinking that Erin, David’s new wife (well – they’ve been married for two years now, so I guess ‘new-ish) was only being superficial in encouraging him to pursue a new job that would remove them from the village where they currently lived (same village where his ex-wife, Beth and daughter, Sally still lived … along with loads of people who knew him while he was still living with them), it turns out that wasn’t actually the case. In true ‘small village’ style, Erin had experienced rather nasty vitriol from people who would always consider her an unwelcome outsider. And it did become evident that she truly did have David’s best interests at heart and wanted him to further his career too.
However, what should be a new start for the couple turns out quite differently when she discovers a diary that her mother had written in the year leading up to taking her life when Erin was just seven years old. She knows she shouldn’t read it – that the past should remain just that: the past, but she can’t help herself.
David is surprised to find that his apprehension about moving away from quiet country life was unfounded. He flourishes in his new job and enjoys meeting and befriending his new colleagues, realising how he’d been stagnating in his long-held old, safe position. But he can’t understand Erin’s sudden lack of excitement and her strange aggression towards him.
From what started out as a teen romp, this became a riveting, dark psychological drama dealing with themes of sexual identity, predatory roles, self-awareness and abuse. Well played Susan Willis, for luring the reader into what they think will be a light, easy read, and which becomes a tense, extremely sharp and clever exploration into the heart and mind of a seriously damaged soul who doesn’t even realise the extent of her ravages until they are unexpectedly triggered. Is it the same for all of us? Or do some of us just have a tiny hidden switch, unique to only a broken few? How will we ever know.
This is a highly recommended 4-star read.
Susan Willis is a published author of four novels and five novellas. She lives in Co-Durham surrounded by a big family and dear friends. Susan works as a food technologist developing new recipes and weaves the different aspects of her job into stories.
Her last two novels are psychological suspense. Readers who have left reviews on Amazon love the books because they are realistic with everyday people in situations that can happen.
She has a collection of Fun-Size Tales of Love & Family which are available in Ebook and paperback.
Susan is now writing Cozy Crime Short Reads and incorporating up to date issues of poor mental health in a kidnap scene, the perils of social media, and an intruder on Skype. Next year she hopes to publish these stories into a collection.
Social Media Links:
Thank you so much to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources Blog Tours for inviting me along for this one. See what other bloggers are saying about His Wife’s Secret …