Book Review: The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

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★ ★ ★ ★

This was phenomenal! I would have finished reading this in one day, but had a lot going on–still, I carried it with me everywhere to squeeze in a few more chapters whenever I had a free minute. Any chance I had, I let people know about this book because I was enjoying it so much. Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. When she begins to experience dreams and flashbacks to the last few years of her life, she learns that her life isn’t what her husband, Jacob, has made it out to be. It turns into a terrifying nightmare with a rocky marriage, broken promises, and secrets that are unraveled as she starts to remember and question her surroundings. Set on a fictional island located near the San Juan Islands in Washington, isolated from the mainland and the life she remembers, Kyra can sense that deep down, it isn’t what it seems.

The Twilight Wife sets the atmosphere for a engrossing thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. I flew right through this story, and had to take a few days to let my thoughts process because I could not stop thinking about it even after I put it down. A.J. Banner wrote a page-turner, that at times left me feeling claustrophobic because I felt I was in Kyra’s head throughout the story, as she discovers the horrifying truth, and how unnerving that was for her as a character. Imagine not knowing things are not right, but people will not be honest, and you just can’t remember despite living through it–it is frustrating and makes you feel despair. Banner’s story-telling is rich with world-building that brings the Pacific Northwest out of the pages, characters that are complex and at times surprising, but realistic and relatable.

Often times I tried to figure out what was going to happen as I read along, and by the end, I was stunned–and completely wrong! Banner adds twists and turners at every point you think you are about to figure out what is going on. You may think you know, but you have no idea, and that is refreshing for a thriller like this. The Twilight Wife is an engaging story, that will have you feeling the desperation and anxiety that Kyra feels while she is pieces the clues of her past life together.

Synopsis 

Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.

But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.

As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 27th 2016 by Touchstone

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I received a copy in exchange for an unbiased review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Book Review: Shelter in Place by Alexander Maksik

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★ ★ ★

Happy New Year! It has been a few weeks since my last post, both due to the holidays, and being in a reading slump, but I am back with another review.

I went into reading this one with no expectations, but being intrigued by the synopsis and relating to the mental illness aspect. I finally got around to finishing Shelter in Place by Alexander Maksik, and it was a fascinating story. It was a slow burn for me. It started off strong, but dwindled midway through. It did take me a little longer to get through this because Maksik’s writing style and narrative, and at times it wasn’t the smoothest story-telling–other times, I just lost patience. It was a complex and demanding read, but it was also intense and engaging. When it comes to the mental illness aspect of this novel, it was written carefully and thought-provoking. There was so much more to this novel that was touched on, and done well, that being living with mental illness, the consequences to actions, violence, coping, and family. It certainly is not for everyone, and it is a challenging read, but it is a powerful one.

Synopsis

Joseph March, a twenty-one-year-old working class kid from Seattle, is on top of the world. He has just graduated college and his future beckons, unencumbered, limitless, magnificent. Joe’s life implodes when he starts to suffer the symptoms of bipolar disorder, and, not long after, his mother kills a man she’s never met with a hammer.

Joe moves to White Pine, Washington, where his mother is serving time and his father has set up house. He is followed by Tess Wolff, a fiercely independent woman with whom he has fallen in love. The lives of Joe, Tess, and Joe’s father fall into the slow rhythm of daily prison visits followed by beer and pizza at a local bar. Meanwhile, Anne-Marie March, Joe’s mother, is gradually becoming a local heroine as many see her crime as a furious, exasperated act of righteous rebellion. Tess, too, has fallen under her spell. Spurred on by Anne-Marie’s example, Tess enlists Joe in a secret, violent plan that will forever change their lives.

Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Europa Editions

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I received a copy in exchange for an unbiased review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.