What’s it all about?:
Emma and James Hamilton have weathered lots of storms in their ten-year marriage. From the heartbreak of infertility, to the craziness of then becoming parents to two babies in one year, to coping with James losing his job, somehow they have always worked as a team.
However, the pressure of moving from Dublin to London for James’s new job – away from familiar surroundings and the family Emma loves – puts them under stress like never before. So when James starts getting texts from a stranger – texts that show startling insights into their lives – Emma is not sure what to think. She is far from home, isolated and before long finds herself questioning everything about their relationship.
Maybe those texts are telling her the truth and the life she believed to be solid and secure is just a mirage. Somehow she has to get a grip, but how can she do that when a stranger is set on driving Emma out of her home and her marriage?
What did WE think?:
CHRISSI: This book isn’t your usual sort of genre. Do you feel like you cleared your mind of all preconceptions about the genre before you read it?
BETH: I really tried to! I also try not to judge a book by its cover but sometimes it’s difficult not to. Although when I read the concept behind the story I admit I was intrigued. It reminded me of a book called Cuckoo by Julia Crouch which I know we both read and loved. I certainly haven’t read any of Sinead Moriarty’s work before and as it was a book chosen for the Richard and Judy Book Club, which I always follow I knew I was going to give it a good try.
BETH: How do you think this book compared to other books you have read in the genre?
I’ve actually read a book by Sinead Moriarty before (This Child Of Mine
) I remember liking it, but not particularly being blown away. Compared to other books in the genre I don’t think it necessarily stands out. It doesn’t really have anything that will make me remember it in the future.
CHRISSI: Discuss all aspects of trust – or lack of trust – in the novel.
BETH: The main problem where lack of trust occurs is in Emma and James’ marriage, more so from her not trusting him. Trying to see it from her point of view, she is uprooted from her native Ireland to move with her rugby-coach husband to London when he gets a new job. There have already been problems in their marriage prior to the move, and they have both struggled with infertility issues, finally adopting their first child Yuri from an orphanage before falling pregnant naturally with their daughter. She has her sister Babs, close by in London for support although she is very pre-occupied with her own issues at the time, so when James begins receiving texts on his phone from a woman claiming to have slept with James, you can understand why she would be a bit frantic. When things take a slightly sinister turn with packages arriving in the mail, although James denies all knowledge of any woman out to ruin them, Emma finds it difficult to trust him. Perhaps if they hadn’t already been having problems, Emma would feel stronger and more able to believe him – who knows?
BETH: What do you think about the relationship between Emma’s friends Lucy and Donal?
CHRISSI: I thought the relationship between Lucy and Donal was very intriguing but also incredibly sad. They really weren’t compatible with one another and to me, it seemed like a time bomb ready to explode. It definitely wasn’t a healthy relationship. I think relationships where one person isn’t around much only work if the relationship is on solid foundations and Lucy and Donal certainly weren’t. I think it was good that Sinead Moriarty portrayed a mother that wasn’t naturally maternal and more career focused. This does happen in real life and it’s good to highlight that so women that do feel the same way, don’t feel alone.
CHRISSI: Did you find the book at all predictable?
BETH: Oh dear. Unfortunately I did. I guessed what was going on from the very start, and was hoping she would prove me wrong but she didn’t. As a result, I think my enjoyment of the book suffered, as I love a book that can surprise me or sneakily take me in a different direction. Maybe there’s just been too many books with a similar plot-line?
BETH: Do you think this book offers a realistic portrayal of marriage?
CHRISSI: I think every marriage is different and nearly every marriage runs into some difficulty at times. So in that sense, the marriages in the book are realistic because both of them have problems. I don’t think that every marriage has so much paranoia as in Emma and James’ but as a reader you can understand why Emma gets so paranoid.
CHRISSI: How do you think Moriarty balances humour and tension in the novel?
BETH: I think there’s quite a nice balance between humour and tension in the story. The humour in my opinion comes from Babs, Emma’s sister who at times borders on the hilarious. Just when things become a little too serious or intense, in comes Babs with comments such as “sausage jockey” which did have me sniggering into my Kindle.
BETH: Do you see any hope for Emma and James in the future?
CHRISSI: The positive part of me wants to say that they could work on their problems and hopefully get through them, but so much has happened in their marriage. I’m not sure that they could get past it. Leaning towards the positive side though, if they were strong enough to get through what they went through then maybe their marriage will stand the test of time.
CHRISSI: Did you have any favourite characters?
BETH: Definitely Babs. She was one of the characters that kept me reading, for sure. She is the exact polar opposite to her sister Emma, and some of the comments she comes out with are truly outrageous like the comment in my answer above. What I did like about the story was that we did get to see a more vulnerable side of Babs when she had to deal with something difficult in her life, which made her a more realistic character for me.
BETH: Would you read any more books by this author?
CHRISSI: It really would depend on the subject. I don’t mind Sinead’s writing, but she’s not one of my favourites.
Would WE recommend it?:
BETH: It’s not my taste personally but fans of the genre will probably really enjoy it.
BETH’s Star Rating (out of 5):
CHRISSI’s Star Rating (out of 5):