When I saw this one was coming out, I initially couldn’t fit it on my calendar for review but then COVID happened and a lot of my summer releases got moved to fall by the publishers so summer opened up and I was able to squeeze this one in!
I am so glad that it worked out because I would have hated to miss another book by Lapena!
In upstate New York, Stephanie and Patrick are adjusting to life with their colicky twin babies. The girls are a handful, but Stephanie doesn’t mind being a stay-at-home mom, taking care of them while Patrick does the nine to five to pay the bills.
When a woman from Patrick’s past drops in on them unexpectedly, raising questions about his late first wife, Stephanie supports her husband wholeheartedly. She knows the car accident all those many years ago was just that–an accident. But Erica is persistent, and now she’s threatening to go to the police.
Patrick is afraid his job–and his reputation–will be at risk if he doesn’t put an end to Erica’s questioning immediately. And when the police start digging, Stephanie’s trust in her husband begins to falter and Patrick is primed to lose everything he loves. As their marriage crumbles, Stephanie feels herself coming unglued, and soon she isn’t sure what–or who–to believe. Now the most important thing is to protect her girls, but at what cost? (summary from Goodreads)
Lapena is great at creating a captivating story and building up characters and destroying them at the same time but the thing that always seems to fall flat for me is the endings. The endings aren’t bad necessarily, but they just done pack the punch that the rest of her books always seem to have. I was hoping that this book would bring a stronger ending.
As expected, the story and the characters—-Erica I am looking at you!—are strong, interesting, and twisted. Erica was the character I loved to hate. She was a great femme fatale and I loved her in this book. There was so much to enjoy in the story—-secrets, lies, scandals, infidelity—-and I loved reading most of the book. I was really into this one even more so than the other books she has written. It was well done and a detailed, twisty story that I had a hard time putting down.
Then came the ending. It just fell flat for me and I can’t even say why, it just didn’t pack the punch that I was hoping for. As I said before, it isn’t that Lapena writes terrible endings or that the endings are bad, but I just had a hard time accepting it if that makes sense. Her story telling is so strong and so are her characters that I just expect that to carry through till the end but it just seems to lose a little power going into the ending.
But that said, I ended up giving this one four stars easily. It was a great book and I really enjoyed all the twists and all the secrets and lies spread throughout the book. I also loved the characters, especially Erica, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I will gladly continue reading books by Lapena because I enjoy her solid writing, I just wish the endings brought a little more to the table.