Welcome to three mini-reviews (summaries will be linked, only to keep this well-mini). Two are salty reviews (of which I’m in the minority, whatever), and one is a solid psychological thriller. The three books are No One Can Know by Kate Alice Marshall, The Woman On The Ledge by Ruth Mancini, and The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins. How about we start with the good, eh?
Kate Alice Mashall’s No One Can Know is a solid psychological thriller with a great structure. Told from the point of view of all three sisters, both past and present timelines, No One Can Know focuses on three sisters who come back together after not talking for over a decade. I have to say there were some severe twists in No One Can Know that really threw me. There was one in particular that made me jump up and gasp. Kate Alice Marshall does a brilliant job setting up the plotting and then unleashing the Kraken (not the hockey team- the suck).
All three sisters are well-built with their own personalities and dynamics within each other. Having each sister tell pieces of the story from the past and present really builds tension as you try to connect both timelines and solve the mystery. Emma is a sympathetic character, with the entire town making assumptions about what she has and hasn’t done, not just around the death of her parents. As the truth unfolds, danger abounds; not everyone will survive.
God. Ok, the thing about The Woman on the Ledge is that it had me for the first half of the book. It was building up to a place where I really thought it would live up to the hype. Then Ruth Mancini went right off the rails. It became so convoluted and confusing that Google Maps couldn’t keep me from getting lost.
The characters are well-developed, especially looking at their past traumas. The plot is engaging. But none of that could save how the second half of The Woman on the Ledge wrecks itself. It never even checked itself… it just wrecked.
Let’s start off with the good. Because, to be honest, there is some good. The way Rachel Hawkins deals with life at the hands of an abusive alcoholic is absolutely spot on. It completely applies to children coping with abusive alcoholic parents, as well. One of the most vital points was the feeling of everlasting hope that is so hard to break from. You keep praying. Today is the day. Today is the day he/she doesn’t drink too much. Today is the day you don’t say the wrong thing (when the truth is it is NEVER your fault). The other strong point is around what happens when the abuse starts. You start to grieve for the person you thought you knew and for the future that will never come to fruition.
Thank you to Macmillan Audio, Harper Audio, St. Martin’s Press, Flat Iron Books, And Penguin for advance copies.
The other positive about the Heiress is the structure. Think Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is almost a memoir told through letters Ruby writes to her heir. They cover each of her husbands and the truth about each of them. The structure really worked.
So, now you are wondering. Why so salty? BECAUSE ON NO PLANET IS THIS A THRILLER! I’m so tired of Literary Fiction being marketed as a thriller. It wasn’t until the last ten or even 5 percent that The Heiress gets to any thriller, and then Rachel Hawkins writes it comes fast and furious. But the book, on the whole, is a slow literary fiction book.
Maybe YMMV with The Heiress, but my miles went out fast. It was highly disappointing. Perhaps if I’d known it wasn’t a thriller, I’d feel different. But I expected a thriller and got literary.