Published: 26th January 2017 (HarperCollins)
Don’t Trust This Book
Don’t Trust These People
Don’t Trust Yourself
And whatever you do, DON’T give away that ending…
Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets…
Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife…
Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise’s new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her.
But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks… Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears?
Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?
I wonder, after she’s left and I’m cleaning up the debris of our evening, if maybe Jay was the one who cheated ﬁrst. Maybe that’s Sophie’s secret at the heart of her hotel-room trysts. Maybe it’s all done to make herself feel better or to quietly get even. Who knows? I’m probably over-thinking it. Over-thinking is my speciality. Each to their own, I remind myself. She seems happy and that’s good enough for me.
It’s only a little past ten thirty, but I’m exhausted, and I peer in at Adam for a minute, a soothing comfort to be found in watching his peaceful sleep, curled up tiny on his side under his Star Wars duvet, Paddington tucked under one arm, and then close the door and leave him to it.
It’s dark when I wake up in the bathroom, standing in front of the mirror, and before I’ve really registered where I am, I feel the sharp throb in my shin where I’ve walked into the small laundry basket in the corner. My heart races, and sweat clings to my hairline. As reality settles around me, the night terror shatters, leaving only fragments in my head. I know what it was though. Always the same dream. A vast building, like an old hospital or orphanage. Abandoned. Adam is trapped somewhere inside it, and I know, I just know, that if I can’t get to him, then he’s going to die. He’s calling out for me, afraid. Something bad is coming for him. I’m running through corridors trying to reach him, and from the walls and ceilings the shadows stretch, as if they’re part of some terrible evil alive in the building, and wrap themselves around me, trapping me. All I can hear is Adam crying as I try to escape the dark, sticky strands determined to keep me from him, to choke me and drag me into the endless darkness. It’s a horrible dream. It clings to me like the shadows do in the nightmare itself. The details may change slightly from night to night, but the narrative is always the same. However many times I have it, I’ll never get used to it. The night terrors didn’t start when Adam was born – I’ve always had them, but before him I would be fighting for my own survival. Looking back, that was better, even if I didn’t know it at the time. They’re the bane of my life. They kill my chances of a decent night’s sleep when being a single mum tires me out enough.
This time I’ve walked more than I’ve done in a while. Normally I wake up, confused, standing either by my own bed or Adam’s, often in the middle of a nonsensical, terrified sentence. It happens so often it doesn’t even bother him if he wakes up any more. But then he’s got his father’s practicality. Thankfully, he’s my sense of humour. I put the light on, look into the mirror, and groan. Dark circles drag the skin under my eyes down, and I know foundation isn’t going to cover them. Not in full daylight. Oh good. I remind myself that it doesn’t matter what the-manfrom-the-bar aka oh-crap-he’s-my-new-married-boss thinks of me. Hopefully, he’ll be feeling embarrassed enough to ignore me all day. My stomach still clenches though, and my head thumps from too much wine and too many cigarettes. Woman up, I tell myself. It’ll all be forgotten in a day or so. Just go in and do your job. It’s only four in the morning, and I drink some water, then turn the light out and creep back to my own bed hoping at least to doze until the alarm goes off at six. I refuse to think about the way his mouth felt on mine and how good it was, if only briefly, to have that surge of desire. To feel that connection with someone. I stare at the wall and contemplate counting sheep, and then I realise that under my nerves I’m also excited to see him again. I grit my teeth and curse myself as an idiot. I am not that woman.
So this book is everywhere with the hashtag #WTFthatending…..and WTF THAT ENDING indeed!!!
Now this is a peculiar book in that I was completely engrossed but had absolute no idea as to what was going on – but just had to keep reading, so gripped by the narratives of single mum, Louise and housewife to a successful psychologist, Adele. This book is absolutely compelling and addictive right from the very start.
Louise is working part-time as a secretary in a psychologists private practice, whilst she enjoys her life with her son, Adam, she’s lonely. Louise meets a charming man in chance meeting in a bar but it all comes crashing down when she realises he is her new (and married!) boss. Louise doesn’t agree with being someone’s ‘bit on the side’ so is ready to be professional and brush it all aside.
Adele is also lonely, seemingly has it all with David and their shared lifestyle but from the outset the reader knows that something isn’t right – but no idea why, how or on who’s side. Adele orchestrates a chance meeting with Louise and befriends her. Louise then finds herself in the middle of their relationship and fearing the worst.
Pinborough has created wonderfully damaged characters, all carrying their own baggage (some more than others!) which is having varying impact on their lives. Adele is just awful, so manipulative of others and situations. David is a man very much on edge, drowning in his baggage and unravelling at the seams – Louise was very clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time meeting these two and getting involved in their marriage! Told from the alternating narratives of Louise and Adele, both in the present and past, this is more than just unreliable narrators! At times I didn’t know what or who I believed.
It is so hard to attempt to review this book as I don’t want to give away even a smidgen of a spoiler but rest assured this book is fantastic – and I’m sure at the end I was sat, not breathing with my mouth wide open in amazement as everything unravelled.
Behind Her Eyes is one of those books that you have to let yourself get fully immersed in and go with the flow – you’ll then reap the rewards when it all starts to come together.
About Sarah Pinborough
Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed, award-winning, adult and YA author. She is also a screenwriter who has written for the BBC and has several original television projects in development.
Her next novel, Behind Her Eyes, coming for HarperFiction in the UK and Flatiron in the US (January 2017) has sold in nearly 20 territories worldwide and is a dark thriller about relationships with a kicker of a twist.