Rachel Teller and her husband David appear happy, prosperous and fulfilled. The big house, the successful business . . . They have everything.
However, control, not love, fuels their relationship and David has no idea his wife indulges in drunken indiscretions. When Rachel kills a man in a hit and run, the meticulously maintained veneer over their life begins to crack.
Destroying all evidence of the accident, David insists they continue as normal. Rachel though is racked with guilt and as her behaviour becomes increasingly self-destructive she not only inflames David’s darker side, but also uncovers her own long-suppressed memories of shame. Can Rachel confront her past and atone for her terrible crime? Not if her husband has anything to do with it . . .
Having recently read Keep Quiet which is also about a hit and run it was inevitable that comparisons would be made with this book. However, the hit and run in this book isn’t the over-riding plotline in this book – it’s sort of a catalyst to the undoing of the protagonist – Rachel.
In Keep Quiet, a relationship had been established with the reader so we knew whether we wanted to sympathise and understand their motives for leaving the scene but we didn’t get this here, literally a couple of pages and it’s happened, our feelings towards Rachel only coming after the accident.
And that brings me on to the characters, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where all the characters are so flawed as this. Actually, not just flawed they’re really not very nice people. David is one of the most unlikeable characters I’ve ever read, controlling and manipulative, just plain bloody nasty and if I’m honest I think this is why I didn’t rate the book higher than 3/5. If you can’t connect with the characters then how do you have any interest in what happens to them?
Although I appreciate and empathise with Rachel and understand why she does the things she does: the car park activities, the pills, trying to find out the victim’s identity and about his life all whilst coming to terms with her guilt but why she put up with David’s behaviour is beyond me, I couldn’t get my head round why she didn’t just leave and take him for half of everything. This was frustrating!
I’m not sure I entirely understand the relevance of the flashbacks to Rachel’s childhood, I assume it’s so we can understand the place she’s at in her head but I felt her current situation gave her enough to deal with in the present.
Overall, it’s not a badly written novel, it’s well constructed but just not what I was expecting which isn’t the author’s fault.
I also noticed a couple of Americanisms; the use of faucet for instance. As I read the ARC this may well have been corrected.
Thanks to the publishers Pan Macmillan for the ARC I received via a competition.
Connect with the author Rebecca Whitney via