What We Forgot to Bury was my Amazon First Reads selection this month and it was a difficult choice between two books on that list (both psych-thrillers) but the other seeming to lean towards a romance/love obsession and I was so in the mood for that. You know I love those!
And surprise surprise, this one actually had a touch of that, too!
Maryse: OMG three of them sound SO freaking good right now. Exactly the ones you love, I love!!! I can’t choose. Okay wait… for me it’s definitely between What We Forgot to Bury and Stories We Never Told…
But this one… gave me a bigger blurb jolt, I suppose. That insidious feeling of being a fearful recluse and someone (a stranger) coming to your door. The potential of what was about to happen just HAD me. So I chose it.
And I can tell you exactly what style (and story) this book reminds me of (you’ll have to scroll ALL THE WAY to the bottom of the post, past the book cover to know. BUT if you don’t like spoilers or having an idea of what you’re in for, DON’T LOOK! LOL!!).
Yep… reminds me of two of my absolute psych-thriller favorites, but to tell you right now, might either spoil it for you OR give you ideas in regards to where this one is going and you might not enjoy this book as much. Though if you’re looking for more books “like the one I loved” (I posted it below under spoiler alerts) this is definitely on that list, though I didn’t love it near as much.
It had so much potential, but it was long, drawn out, and it fooled me, but not necessarily in a good or exciting way.
Being in the head of two potentially unreliable narrators (both POVs, from the main heroine’s perspective – and that of her strange visitor) eventually had me feeling like maybe… neither was the villain, you know? And normally I LOVE that!! I love not knowing what’s going to happen, and being surprised with a clever twist, that in retrospect ends up making so much sense and was there right before my eyes the entire time, and yet the writing and story telling was so profound and sneaky that the reveal shocked me anyway.
THAT’S what I LOVE!!! That’s what I was anticipating with this one. But it didn’t work in that way, for me.
Okay so what’s it about?
Charlotte lives with her husband in a secluded and safe neighborhood in the suburbs.
It’s like its own city within a city, if that makes sense. A safe haven without crime.
It’s a slice of heaven, and I love it here.
When I’m not afraid.
And afraid… she is. With good reason. She has severe trust issues due to an abusive ex, is suffering from certain trauma, and she’s pretty much estranged from everyone (including her mom). The only one she loves, trusts and feels safe with is her husband, but he’s often away on business trips, leaving her alone in her big, scary house.
And then one night, during a HUGE thunderstorm, a teenage girl shows up at her door and she’s been caught in it and desperate to get in from the storm. Charlotte hesitates, but reluctantly lets her in. Temporarily at first…
I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t know this girl. I’m not particularly keen on offering my home to interlopers. What if it’s some type of a setup?
…but the two get caught up in each other’s lives, especially since “Elle” – the teen she let in, is desperate to stay connected to her. From Elle’s perspective:
The woman standing to the left of me is clearly wary of my presence. I’m unwanted, which I should be used to by now, but if I’d done what she did and had the kind of past she had, I wouldn’t want unexpected guests either.
It wasn’t hard to find her, even with the different last name she’s acquired.
I’ll let you discover the rest…
The next part of my review is going to be so hard to explain in regards to why this didn’t work for me, for the most part. And since I’m working through my thoughts in how I took this one in, I’m going to SPOILER ALERT HERE (even though I don’t actually spoil anything really in the grand scheme of things) just so you don’t go in knowing stuff you shouldn’t know (in case it was just me that took the reveals this way).
Okay so… both main characters – for the most part – seemed so sincere, not just in their actions towards one another at times, but in their own personal thought processes that only they (and we) were privy too. One certainly had nefarious intentions, but as they got to know each other, both began questioning the nature of their newfound friendship, and of their own life perceptions.
And here’s the thing: we were ALWAYS in their heads so we always knew when a certain one was up to no good, or when she was lying. And we always knew when each one was suspicious… even if outwardly things seemed “okay” inwardly, their secrets were ours for the “hearing”. No real need for interpretation. We were IN their heads.
Which had me wondering if this was going to be a feel-good story after all? Maybe that the one she believed was the true villain in her life, the other would eventually believe… and finally realize the truth… too. And tada!! Scary thriller with maybe a pivotal scary-dangerous scene, and maybe both come together and fight evil and find happiness and trust again.
After all, in the grand scheme of this story, there were MULTIPLE villains. So this was totally plausible and I was ready to enjoy it (since I didn’t know which “bad guy” was coming for us, and how). Holy moly at some point or another, and on various levels (super-evil to psycho-bad, to just plain vindictive) we had so many to ponder.
P.S. OMG how could two people be so surrounded by the worst of the worse in their personal entourage? Was I misunderstanding? I did’t think so. I was so sure of myself, and focused… elsewhere on what was going to happen just not sure… who? And I was good with that!
When all was said and done, there was definitely a villain, and like I said, actually… a few true villains – but one was predominantly the true villain (so don’t presume who the main one is just yet). But in my personal opinion, being in the two main character’s heads, I was not happy to learn the whole truth, because there is stuff we should have known the entire time, just being privy to their thoughts and intentions, these truths/thoughts and contemplations should have been there too.
Bu they weren’t. Surprise. 😑
THOUGH!!! They COULD have been explained away (making the twist a bit more clever) had we discovered something like, oh I dunno… a case of amnesia, or multiple personality disorder, or mental blocks of some sorts due to a mental health issue. Maybe even an evil twin! SOMETHING to explain why we were never privy to a main characters true thoughts and actions. —> So… I’m just going with a serious case of intermittent psychosis. 😏
I was faked out but not in an amazingly clever way. I feel like I was blatantly lied to by a main character even though I was in her head the entire time. And there’s no reason for it other than to keep me guessing and to surprise me, but the surprise should have come with a clever reason.
Maryse: My 425+ page book that I’ve been reading (and am about to be finished in 5%) is ending in farfetchedness which is normally absolutely fine as long as it’s clever but I’ve been played but not in a clever way.
Okay wait. that’s not entirely fair of me, because one of the main twist reveals was plausible and surprising and not something I saw coming (though far-fetched… I suppose it could happen), though I was not as excited about it.
But another huge reveal (a secondary villain if you will) showed itself around the same time (end of the book) and I, as the reader, was simply not privy to the truth of one of the main characters, so to me it felt like a cheap *surprise!!!* shot.
So that’s it. Interesting enough to keep me reading, but in the grand scheme of reveals and that ending… I was not elated, excited, or relieved.
Mostly everyone in my book was a psycho/super-psycho in various ways, and it’s up to us to guess the worst of the worse. Barely a redeeming character because despite what is redeeming, the bad is really bad.
Nope nope nope. *sigh* 😔
By the way… for those of you dying to know which two books I can compare this too (meaning you don’t mind having preconceived notions of what you’re in for on some level, and are just looking to read more books like the two I’m thinking of), I’ll tell you. SCROLL BELOW the book cover and then the spoiler alerts below to see: