Happy Thursday, a.k.a. “Yay! It’s Almost Friday” day! To celebrate the impending weekend, here’s a book review for a novel that you’ll want to tear through before returning to work on Monday.
As part of my Christmas present from my mother-in-law, I received a three month subscription to Book of the Month Club. I got my books in January, February and March and although I wish I could say I renewed my plan it just isn’t in the budget right now. I have yet to read my January or March picks, but I recently read my February Book of the Month Club selection. Today I will be reviewing that book, Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, without spoiling the plot (that way you can read it after and still be as shocked as I was).
Title – Behind Her Eyes Author – Sarah Pinborough
Genre – Psychological Thriller Publisher – Flatiron Books
Pub. Date – January 26, 2017
Why is everyone talking about the ending of Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes?
Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
My Rating: 4/5
I chose Behind Her Eyes on a whim. I wasn’t all that sure what it would be about or even what genre it fit into, but the fact that it was billed as having an entirely unexpected ending pulled me in right away. Even better, the ending was as unexpected as predicted. As I mentioned in The Sims Book Tag, I pride myself on figuring out the situations in books before they reveal themselves. Behind Her Eyes hurt my pride, but it was worth it.
Behind Her Eyes is primarily set in a small British town. It was while reading this novel that I realized I enjoy literature set in Britain in part because of the constant tea consumption (that’s also probably why I love Emma’s blog so much – check that cute logo).
Louise, a wine-loving single mom and psychiatric secretary, finds herself in a strange and dangerous love triangle with her alluring new boss David and his equally intriguing wife.
The plot progresses in a nonlinear way, with multiple narrators and timelines. Most of the story line takes place in the present day, with chapters alternately narrated by Louise and Adele, David’s wife. Every so often a chapter is written in third person narration and is set in David and Adele’s past. I liked this changing perspective and for the most part found it easy to follow. On only a few occasions did I find myself checking the name at the start of the chapter to make sure I knew which character’s thoughts I was reading.
Along with the shifting narrative perspective, uncertainty is introduced into the narrative through the narrators’ selective release of information. While Louise is pretty much an open book, David and Adele are mysterious and secretive, especially with regards to their past. Adele is an unreliable narrator because of her secrets, and Louise is quite oblivious. Everything the reader learns is suspect; the reader is never quite sure what they really know.
Besides Louise, David and Adele, the only supporting character that particularly interested me was Adele’s old friend Rob. The reader never encounters Rob during the present-day, but he is an almost constant presence in the chapters that focus on David and Adele’s past. Although he and Adele become quite close he is guarded and he shares very little about himself. This only serves to make him all the more interesting.
Another interesting element of Rob’s character is his connection not only to Adele, but also to Louise through their shared struggles with night terrors. Adele, who experienced night terrors as a child, helps Rob to escape them as young adults. During the present-day narrative, Adele helps Louise with the same thing.
It is helpful for potential readers to know that while Behind Her Eyes is billed as a psychological thriller, it’s unlike many psychological thrillers in that it also involves a paranormal element. For some readers this was a problem, for me it was just another part of the story to ponder and imagine. There’s much more to the novel than this one element, but if you take issue with the paranormal and the mystical, Behind Her Eyes might not be the psychological thriller for you.
I would highly recommend Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough to readers who enjoy psychological thrillers, and also to those who like books written from multiple perspectives. Fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl may connect with the familiar “there’s something wrong in this marriage” feeling that develops in their gut while reading Behind Her Eyes, and readers interested in dreams and lucid dreaming will find themselves pulled irresistibly into this story.
Although it’s not something I would usually read, I am glad that I received Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough through my Book of the Month Club subscription. There’s just nothing like a surprise ending.
Have you read Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough? If anyone has read this book already, please reach out to me because I’d really love to talk about the ending with someone else! If you haven’t read Behind Her Eyes yet, get on that and then message me so we can discuss.
Do you like reading books with paranormal elements? What’s your favorite psychological thriller? Let’s chat!