What’s it all about?:
An apparently happy marriage. A beautiful son. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life to start all over again? Has she had a breakdown? Was it to escape her dysfunctional family – especially her flawed twin sister Caroline who always seemed to hate her? And what is the date that looms, threatening to force her to confront her past? No-one has ever guessed her secret. Will you?
What did I think?:
I was given an advanced readers copy of this novel by Net Galley so many thanks to them and also to the publishers at Kirk Parolles. The premise for the story is incredibly intriguing – Emily Coleman is leaving a husband, a young son and all her family and friends behind to start her life all over again. The strangest thing about Emily’s decision however, is that she chooses to tell absolutely no-one about the choice she has made, and leaves behind not only everyone she loves, but a good job as a lawyer to start all over again. Re-locating from Manchester to London, Emily calls herself by the name Cat (her first name has always been Catherine, and her second name Emily), and meets a girl called Angel, through whom she is able to get a room in a shared house before searching for work with an agency. The novel continues with Emily/Cat making a new life for herself whilst trying not to look back on what she has left behind. It is obvious to the reader that there is something terribly painful in her past that she is running away from, and I think the author does a good job of hiding the reasons for her decision from the reader while still teasing us with clues as to what precipitated this major life change. Indeed, it is not until the end of the novel when things appear to be falling apart for our main character, that we find out about the difficulties and tragedy in her past.
My feelings about this novel are quite mixed at some points, and to be honest I’m still struggling with how to rate it. The premise and the intrigue of the plot are fantastic, and it was definitely exciting enough to keep me reading until the end. As I mentioned, the author does a great job of hiding Cat’s secret from the reader, and I didn’t guess the reason behind her decision to up sticks and disappear. However, at some points I found myself getting slightly irritated for a few different reasons. Yes, there is a valid reason behind her disappearance, but I still couldn’t get by head round it, as it still appeared to be a completely selfish act, and I don’t think she gave enough consideration as to how her family would suffer through her actions. Cat also makes some terrible decisions in her new life, which just made me want to shake her and scream “Have you learned nothing?!.” Her new friend Angel, was also a slight irritant… urgh, how many times can you say “babe” in one book? Completely unnecessary! On a positive note, I did enjoy reading about Cat’s (evil/misunderstood) twin sister Caroline, and thought the character was drawn to perfection, I do enjoy a character with some problematic, meaty issues, and the author’s writing gave me plenty to feast upon. So, in general, an interesting novel, with a fantastic plot, fast paced action, some little twists and turns and some satisfying resolutions at the end. For a debut, it’s worth a read, and the author is one to look out for in the future.
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):