The perfect daughter…
Jess Harper has spent her whole life trying to make her mum, Abigail happy and proud. And everything Jess does, from the clothes she wears, the job she has, the men she dates, are all approved by Abigail first.
The perfect boyfriend…
So when Jess announces that she has a new man in her life – plumber Adam – Abigail is less than impressed. ‘A plumber? Really, Jessica….’ Adam encourages Jess to break free from her mum’s manipulation, can’t she see what’s happening?
The perfect mother….
But Abigail is only doing these things to keep Jess safe, to protect her from getting hurt again…isn’t she?
Or the perfect liar?
Jess, caught in the middle, doesn’t know who to believe or trust. And then Adam vanishes without trace.
Now Jess is the police’s prime suspect and they want to know if Jess really is as perfect as she seems….
three and a half stars.
as i was reading this book, i thought it would be a definite four star read but when i reached the end, i decided to give it three and a half stars instead for reasons i will mention in this review.
the plot is from the perspective of jessica, a twenty-something year old woman and alternates between the past and the present during which adam, her boyfriend is missing, possibly murdered. jessica’s childhood and even adulthood involves constantly being controlled by mother who manipulates her into believing that she has lapses in her memory about horrible things she has done to others. because of this, she does not have lasting friendships and relationships as according to her mother, she inevitably has done something terrible to screw them up and cannot remember what. her mother’s actions always target towards breaking jessica’s confidence on herself and even goes to length of blaming her father’s departure on her to prove to her the extent to which she is capable of hurting people.
“You choose to forget the bad things, jessica.”
“you always block out the bad things; the things that you don’t want to think about; things you don’t want to deal with. you have ever since dad left.”
because of her mother’s constant intereference in her life and need to keep jessica dependent on her, she loses her best friend from high school, is tricked into going to a college near home and even manipulated into moving into an apartment paid by her mother instead of the one she picks out for herself when she decides to move out. the book deals with how this everpresent self-doubt puts a strain on her relationship with adam in the past as she grapples with the belief that she is probably responsible for his murder in the present, an idea put into her head by her mother.
“she really thought i had done it, my own mother believed i had killed my boyfriend.”
i loved the way the author presented jessica’s thoughts in the form of constant contemplations. they conveyed the dilemma she was always in about her actions, her likes and her personality due to the images about her conflicting what she believed herself to be had been fed into her mind since she was a child.
what if there were two sides to my character? the one i knew; the one i saw each day in the mirror. quiet. compliant. and another… rebellious. vengeful. yet her existence was an enigma. i never saw her. never felt her. the only trace of her were the repercussions she left in the wake.
i could connect with jessica and empathize with her, which made the book so much more interesting to read. i cannot talk more about the book without revealing too much but the book is full of twists and left me at the edge of my seat. the reason for this book being a three-and-a-half star read is because i felt that the book ended quite abruptly without resolving many of the plot points brought up in the book. it did end on a positive note but i felt it did not provide sufficient closure to the various psychological issues the book hints at. overall, i enjoyed the read and highly recommend to fans of thrillers!
**e-arc provided by netgalley in exchange of an honest review. thank you to netgalley and publisher for this opportunity!**
is this book on your tbr list? what is you favourite psychological thriller?