Published By: Pan Macmillan
Released On: 23/06/2022
I have held you every night for ten years and I didn’t even know your name. We have a child together. A dog, a house. Who are you?
Emma loves her husband Leo and their young daughter Ruby: she’d do anything for them. But almost everything she’s told them about herself is a lie.
And she might just have got away with it, if it weren’t for her husband’s job. Leo is an obituary writer and Emma is a well-known marine biologist, so, when she suffers a serious illness, Leo copes by doing what he knows best – reading and writing about her life. But as he starts to unravel her past, he discovers the woman he loves doesn’t really exist. Even her name is fictitious.
When the very darkest moments of Emma’s past life finally emerge, she must somehow prove to Leo that she really is the woman he always thought she was. But first, she must tell him about the love of her other life.
Thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.
I adored Rosie’s previous book “The Man Who Didn’t Call”, I thought it was so well accomplished and a joy to read. This sounded so different but I hoped it would still have shadows of what I liked about her writing.
And I was right. It is the total opposite in terms of genre and feeling but proves Rosie can successfully write over a multitude of genres.
It is unbearably beautiful, happy, sad, scary, truthful, human, stunning, joyful, gorgeous, loving, mind blowing, heartwarming and heartbreaking.
The exploration of mental health, especially postnatal depression, is handled so well. It’s cruel and raw and uncomfortable, which is exactly what it is. It might be hard for someone who has experienced it to read about, but as someone who has seen a loved one go through it, I actually found myself very moved. It’s not over the top or gory or embellished, it just is what it is, and sometimes that’s hard to accept.
The characterisation is so powerful. Each character is unbelievably well written, each given their own backstory, their own life and feelings, their own secrets; they’re so real and so identifiable. I especially loved the character of Leo. With so many stories and movies involving a man cheating on his wife and abandoning his family, it’s so refreshing to read about a man who truly loves his wife, through better and for worse.
It is full of twists and turns and secrets so well hidden you could never guess them. You never feel confident about what’s coming next or who to trust. It’s tense and uncomfortable, you’re left in suspense, questioning everything that is said.
There’s romance, some comedy, mystery and thriller – it’s a mish-mash of genres but that’s what makes it so great. It’s exhilarating to read and the only reason I put it down was to attend a hospital appointment, but you can bet I picked it up the moment I got home again.
There’s been a few less-than-positive reviews I’ve read, some 3 stars, and whilst I appreciate we all have different tastes and opinions, I seriously have difficulty understanding how anyone could think this was less than spectacular, how anyone could find anything in it to make it anything other than a 5 star superb piece of writing.
Honestly, I’m gutted I’ve come to the end, and I await with bated breath for whatever Rosie writes next.
This is definitely a clear candidate for the best book I’ve read so far this week. Look out for my end-of-year roundup to see if it kept that spot.