“We’re all hiding something” – that was the tagline on the cover. Not to mention a recommendation by Clare Mackintosh – “perfection. Intriguing and compelling. An exceptional debut“. I was already keen on reading it, anticipating all the secrets that a good author would slowly give away in layers, not unlike peeling an onion.
Rachel has know her boyfriend Jack for slightly over a year. She’s pregnant with his child and their relationship has never been better. One day, as they were waking up from bed, she spies an email from his phone which was very intriguingly titled. From then on, secrets from his past are slowly revealed as Rachel investigates. Until she realizes she doesn’t really know him at all.
Now, I must say I was kind of expecting a little more from this book with such a promising premise. However, as I continued reading, I realized I just didn’t get the shock of a deep mind-expanding, eyes-widening feeling I was greedily anticipating. A big part of the narration in the earlier part of the book was focused on Rachel’s feelings, as well as non consequential issues, e.g. how she was feeling, her interactions with her friends (which just kinda felt like meat fillers – they didn’t do much to move the plot). The secret that was finally revealed didn’t seem to turn out to be one I really cared for, which I must say was disappointing.
I also felt that the other half of the story from Rachel (yes she also has a side!) could have been set up to intertwine together with Jack’s in some way to tie up nicely together at the end. However, they just felt like two separate issues, almost inserted at the end like an afterthought. Be warned, the beginning is really slow moving – the beginning lasts till 3/4 way into the novel, took me a really long time to read. Absolutely put-down-able.
The ending did do the book some justice, but by then I was so weary i just wanted to get it over with. Perhaps good for readers who are milder, not into shock therapy and intends to get a good sleep at night.