Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Close to Me ~ Amanda Reynolds (earc) review [@amandareynoldsj @QuercusBooks @Wildfirebks]

Close to Me
July 17, 2017
384 pages
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Close To Me is a gripping debut psychological drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty's bestselling The Husband's Secret, Clare Mackintosh's I Let You Go, and Linda Green's While My Eyes Were Closed.

She can't remember the last year. Her husband wants to keep it that way.

When Jo Harding falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in hospital with partial amnesia-she's lost a whole year of memories. A lot can happen in a year. Was Jo having an affair? Lying to her family? Starting a new life?

She can't remember what she did-or what happened the night she fell. But she's beginning to realise she might not be as good a wife and mother as she thought.

Close to Me reminds you just how much you, as a reader, rely on the narrator. Whether or not you may realize it. I loved that author Amanda Reynolds kept readers just as in the dark - and sometimes even more so - as Jo.

The story is told alternating between the year that Jo has now forgotten and her life after her fall, trying to discover what all she has forgotten, how her family came to be so very different . . . and why she feels so unsettled around the husband she can only ever remember loving and trusting.

While it could be frustrating to be just on the cusp of discovering something, some informative truth or tidbit, only to have the timeline shift or Jo never quite mention it, it did definitely make for a better read. We were never ahead of either  past or present Jo when it came to any of the 'why's or the bigger pieces of the puzzle. Sometimes you knew what would happen but not why or when or, really, even if.

The way this story is told really keeps you just as engrossed in both of the timelines and anxious to find out what happens (or happened). At times, it's hard to even know if you like Jo and whether she -and what she did over that forgotten year - was in the right or the wrong.It was startling to realize just how much I was relying on Jo's interpretation of events, her memories, her impression of people and/or relationships to inform my understanding of things. I loved that it was not a third person narration; it left for a lot more questions and uncertainties. Sure Jo thought X was true or this person felt this way, but was it true?

There were a few more unanswered questions at the end of the novel than I would have liked. Things didn't need to be all tied up with a neat little bow or anything, but I was not sure enough about where or how certain characters were to even guess about their future. I will read more from this author, but I hope future books allow for more development of the characters' relationships.

digital review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

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