Quick synopsis: Samantha is a school-teacher from Bristol writing to an American man, Denis, on death row. He’s the star of a documentary pushing to prove his innocence and Samantha finds herself right in the thick of the campaign to free him. They get married while Denis is behind bars, then he’s acquitted. The pair can now spend the rest of their lives together: so why is Samantha so scared?
Review: The Innocent Wife was a disappointing read for me. The premise promised so much action, intrigue and suspense that I tore through the first quarter of the book, desperate for the action to begin and it just… didn’t. The characters were flat: Denis was dull, not very sinister, not very compelling. Samantha had a semi-interesting backstory but it never really came to anything, she showed absolutely no backbone, and her concerns about Denis just went on a never-ending loop. I did not care what happened to any of these characters at the end of the book.
The positives: Literally the only positives are the premise, the cover, and the set-up.
The negatives: The entire story.
Overall: 2 out of 5 stars.
Quick synopsis: Carrie is a successful TV producer who seemingly has it all, but when she falls pregnant her once-perfect husband, Adrian, begins to distance himself. Emma is a recent grad, desperate to make a mark for herself in the world of TV and, after a series of rejections and set backs, Emma finds herself in a position to cover Carrie’s maternity leave. But Carrie’s worried it’s not just her job Emma’s planning on taking…
Review: The Temp is a fun read. Arguably it starts a little slowly, but I found the insights into the glamorous world of TV production interesting to read about. The entire story preys on some primal fears that I think lots of women will probably relate to: a younger, more talented, prettier woman coming along at work and taking everything away from you! Can you think of anything worse than losing your family and your career in one fell swoop?!
The positives: I absolutely loved the latter stages of this book and, without giving away spoilers, when the tension and drama took hold I was utterly gripped. I also didn’t see the final twist coming and I love that!
The negatives: I’d have liked something a bit more dramatic to have happened in the middle of the novel and it wasn’t until the end that I was ripping through the pages.
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars.
Quick synopsis: Ashley is a fiercely ambitious events manager, prepared to go to great lengths to unsettle her boss Helena’s position at work. But when Helena falls pregnant, her problems with Ashley are suddenly put into harsh perspective and her world starts to fall apart without any help from her rival colleague.
Review: The Rival opens, and closes, with such promise but is rather slow-going between the two, and, in fact, didn’t pick up until about 75% of the way through. The author writes with such enthusiasm and knowledge about Helena’s unsettled mental state that I’m not sure why the story didn’t just focus on that – it was by far the most interesting part of the book, and the only point at which I was truly captivated by what I was reading.
The positives: I loved Helena’s “Now” character: a hauntingly detached and depressed woman who comes out with poignant lines such as: “death is only sad for the people you leave behind”. Her interactions with the accident black spot just outside her family home were chilling and so unique. I loved them, there just weren’t enough!
The negatives: Everything based in the office was relentlessly banal – and it didn’t necessarily have to be! I’d have liked Ashley or Helena to have been a bit more unhinged and to have caused some havoc in the office rather than reading about the way they passive aggressively spoke to, or emailed, one another. That’s just everyday life at work, isn’t it?!
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars.
To kick things off I’m going to be reading and reviewing the following books this month: The Rival and The Temp.
I’m into workplace thrillers at the moment and I loved the BBC’s The Replacement… so let’s see if they can deliver!