Thank you to William Collins for sending me a copy of this book! All opinions are my own and are honest!
So, I went into this not really knowing what to expect; it said it was a contemporary, but it also mentioned an online stalker, so I wasn’t sure how serious it was going to be and whether it would have a slight thriller element in it (maybe that’s just me and all my thriller novels!).
This was a debut fiction novel from Paula Byrne as she has written many non-fiction novels on the Austens and other topics. I did feel that some of her non-fiction writing did creep through in this novel however. This book is split into different parts and the first part is following Lisa and her Husband as they meet and ultimately how they ended up where they are in the main story. This definitely read more like a biography of their lives and less like a story which was a shame. I didn’t feel like it followed through the book too much but there were parts of the story that did read like a non-fiction biography and a factual telling of events.
This was a fast enjoyable read and I loved how it included actual transcripts of the tweets and the letters that were being sent. One of my favourite things in recent novels is the inclusion of tweets and media in order to help tell a story and this ticked all the boxes. I enjoyed how the other characters in this book weren’t just mentioned in passing either, they each had their own back story or something that made them unique and identifiable. I fin that sometimes in stories when it’s a standalone and there are characters that are just put into the story to help flesh it out, they can blend into the background a bit and they can become forgettable or you can start mixing them up, but I didn’t find that in this novel. I remembered each side character because she’d given them a back story and made them more memorable.
I did struggle in some places with the dialogue and trying to figure out who was saying what as it wasn’t always that clear. The story was fast paced but I did feel like the ending was just rushed; I think it was maybe meant to be a big ‘reveal’ moment but it fell a bit flat and I’d sort of figured out who it was earlier on in the story and thought it was quite easy to deduce.
I did enjoy this overall and would recommend this if you’re wanting a fast paced, enjoyable contemporary!