*I was sent a copy of this book for review*
Tony Sharp has lost his wife. He doesn’t know where she’s gone. He doesn’t know why she’s gone. But he’s determined to find her.
She may run away from him – but can you ever run away from yourself?
Set once again on the Sussex coast, Julie Round’s latest novel is the story of a marriage in crisis and a house with a secret.
This book is told from multiple perspectives, the main ones being Tony’s, and his wife, Barbara’s. I didn’t really enjoy reading from Tony’s perspective, mainly because I hated him. I found him to be very rude, constantly losing his temper and yelling at strangers for the silliest things. I also found him to be sexist, his first thought when she left being along the lines of ‘who’s going to cook my dinner?’ and when he went to the police station to report Barbara missing, this was his charming reaction to seeing a female receptionist: “No wonder there were no jobs for men. They were all taken by females. He felt the bile rise in his throat and swallowed quickly.” He also seemed to view his wife as a possession, at one point referring to her as “something that belonged to him.” Throughout the book he would have thoughts that, to me, implied that he didn’t really think of his wife as her own person, but rather as someone who was there purely to please him, for example “how could she dare to go off and leave him with no note, no meal and the prospect of sleeping alone?”
While Tony tried to find Barbara, he asked people she had regular contact with if they had any idea where she might be. Before he talked to someone he would wonder to himself how he would get them to tell him anything and his answer to that was always to “play the desperate husband concerned for his wife’s safety.” He would PRETEND to be concerned, while all the time he was filled with rage at her. He also clearly thought he should have been more controlling of her, “He would knock some sense into her when he found her. He’d been much too trusting.” There was even one moment where he decided he wanted to punish her.
Tony was at times worried that Barbara had left him to run away with another man, and he wasn’t particularly happy about the thought, which is understandable, but his reaction to the idea annoyed me a lot: “if there was a new man involved, he would find a way to get rid of him,” and saying he would be happy to beat him up. No. Just no.
The books summary had me thinking it would be about Tony’s journey to find Barbara, but most of the book was told from Barbara’s perspective, as she tried to make a new life for herself. I liked Barbara a lot more than I liked Tony. I thought she was way to over cautious in trying to get away from Tony, at one point even deciding to lie about her old job to a new friend that Tony didn’t know, as if that would make any difference to whether or not Tony found her. She also had one or two rather odd thoughts, such as when she went on a date, and the guy she was with wore a bow tie, and she thought to herself: “She had never dated a man who wore bow ties. What had she let herself in for?” HE’S WEARING A BOW TIE, HE’S NOT A SERIAL KILLER. But apart from that I actually quite liked reading Barbara’s perspective, following as she made a new life for herself.
I don’t think I will read the second book.
My rating: ★★☆☆☆