Book Number: N/A
Read this book for: domestic thriller, amateur detective, amnesia & missing memories, tight plotting
Quick Review: A taut domestic thriller with more than enough questions and surprising revelations to keep you turning pages — highly recommended!
Jo Harding can’t remember the last year of her life. And her husband wants to keep it that way.
When Jo falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in the hospital with partial amnesia. In fact, she finds that she’s lost an entire year of memories. She can’t remember what she did, or anything that happened the night she fell. A lot can happen in a year, and she begins to discover that she may have been leading a double life before the accident.
As she questions the details of the past year and why her family wants her to stay in the dark, she begins to realize she might not be as good a wife and mother as she might have hoped . . .
CLOSE TO ME is a stand-alone novel by Amanda Reynolds that deftly folds together two timelines to keep you guessing about what has occurred in the past. Narrator Jo Harding wakes up from her fall down the stairs in her home unable to remember the preceding year of her life, but immediately plagued with unease about her home life. As her memories return in pieces, she tries to reconstruct the secrets that her family is trying to keep from her.
While the amnesia narrative is not a new one, Reynolds does a refreshingly believable take on it with this novel. Jo’s memory comes back in bits and pieces that are not always reliable or meaningful to her. It’s deftly handled, and she manages to twist the plot on you every time that you think you have Jo’s situation figured out.
Jo herself is also a compelling character, which aids in the believability factor. The doubt and guilt that she feels over mistakes that she may or may not have committed really make her sympathetic and fascinating. Her interactions with her family and the way that they hide things from her (not to mention her lack of notice of their issues) feel intimately real, and actually make those character interactions intensely emotional.
This of course is furthered by the plot, which twists and turns on every page. The fact that Reynolds manages to surprise the reader with a new revelation after every time that you feel like you know the whole story is testament to that fact — but the fact that she manages to hold off revealing everything until the very last page is absolutely masterful.
CLOSE TO ME is something that will keep you awake, turning pages long into the night, needing to know what happens next. Absolutely pick up a copy and be prepared to lose yourself in a fresh, exciting and suspenseful take on a relatively well-known concept.