by Harriet Lane
'You don't remember her --- but she remembers you.
On the face of it, Emma and Nina have very little in common. Isolated and exhausted by early motherhood, Emma finds her confidence is fading fast. Nina --- sophisticated, generous, effortlessly in control --- seems to have all the answers.
It's easy to see why Emma is drawn to Nina. But what does Nina see in her?
A seemingly innocent friendship slowly develops into a dangerous game of cat and mouse as Nina eases her way into Emma's life. Soon, it becomes clear that Nina wants something from the unwitting Emma --- something that just might destroy her.'
** I won an advance copy of this book on Goodreads, but I think it might have already been released (self published maybe?) earlier this year. The copy I have says it's being released Jan. 1, 2015.
*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
This was a quick read and I quite enjoyed that after the beastly books I've read recently. It kept a quick pace, almost too quick sometimes. The story does go back and forth from Emma's point of view to Nina's, and it's written in that style where it's like you're reading exactly as the characters see and think right as they see it and think it. (Is there a name for that style?) Several events are pretty much repeated, so we experience it from both points of view, and I've read some comments about that being annoying but I didn't see it that way because you do get two different views of the same events.
Although Nina is the evil one in this story, I had a hard time liking the character of Emma. She seemed rather whiny and floundering at times, an ongoing pity party, when there didn't really seem to be any reason for it. She seemed to always come off as 'My life is soooo hard and you can't do one little thing to help me?' when she was the one making it hard on herself. So it was easy to see how Nina weaseled her way into Emma's life.
I was glued to this story. As you read, you're constantly trying to figure out the connection. You're always trying to find the clues. You're trying to fit those pieces of the puzzle together, and then wondering if those pieces are even the clues you're meant to find. There are mentions of things along the way and you're like 'Did one sleep with the others husband?' or 'Ooh, are they half sisters?' or 'Did one maybe kill a family member of the other?' It very much reminded me of The Hand That Rocks The Cradle in the way Nina was the only one who knew what was going on, and was easing her way into Emma's life by being all nicey nicey and perfect, a life saver in many situations, when actually Nina was creating or instigating several of those situations to begin with. And all along the reader becomes more and more impatient, wondering just what the heck that past connection was. The mystery continues to build all the way through the book, until the last twenty pages or so. By then you're seeing how close to the end you're getting and you're quite frantic. LOL
Even when the connection is finally revealed, it's done in an almost casual way. You're kinda left wondering if that was it, or if more details are still to come. Then you see there are only about 5-10 pages left and now you're wondering what could possibly happen as a result in so little time. Well, let me tell you, this book pushes the climax right to the end and then leaves you on a huge cliffhanger. Holy crap. I seriously looked at the back cover, and re-examined the first 'legal stuff' pages, frantically trying to figure out if there is sequel coming out, or if maybe my advance copy was somehow incomplete. It totally leaves your brain screaming "WHAT HAPPENS?!?!"
I love that it ended with the reader left to make up their own mind how things turned out, but there is still a part that *needs* to know what the author intended to happen. For me though, looking back on the book after ending on that high drama note, there was a feeling of disappointment. Once I knew what the connection was, I was kinda like 'Really? All of this because of that?' In some ways, what happened back then seems so minor. Then I started wondering about all the unanswered questions. What was Nina hoping to gain by her actions? Obviously in her mind it was paybacks, a form of punishment, but what was she hoping to accomplish? Especially since Emma didn't even have a clue? Is there really any punishment when one doesn't know they're being punished?
Although I do think the actual connection these women share, what drives Nina's actions, was weak, I still think this was a great book. I liked that it was short and quick, and that it (hopefully) won't be part of a long drawn out series. I liked that so much of the story is left up to the reader to interpret, but I also wish I knew a bit more about how the author saw it. Overall though, well worth the read, and it won't take you long to do it. So glad I was given the chance to read this!