I finally read this book that I had been wanting to since last year. I almost read it too but then some other book took my interest but here am on a Friday night typing this review.
The plot begins with introductions to all the lead characters. James Whitehouse – an MP in the U.K parliament, his wife Sophie and the prosecutor – Kate Woodcroft and James’s ex-lover and colleague, Olivia. It’s said partly in alternating timeline and multiple POVs. One where they spend time in Oxford and one in the present.
James has been accused of raping Olivia, with whom he had a five month long affair. The prosecutor Kate Woodcroft is not all that meets the eye. She has a secret that could affect the case but nevertheless continues on. Sophie on the other hand is torn between supporting her husband and facing the truth. But what is the truth? Did James really commit a crime or is it the case of a woman scorned?
The blurb is pretty weird with this one and I just happened to come across this while I was searching for another thriller. But I felt compelled to read it once I heard an excerpt. But I am disappointed.
The main flaw in the book is its structure. There are three lead characters but there’s no purpose or clarity in the way it’s written. The characters are very one dimensional, perhaps that’s intentional but comes across as dull and not worth investing in. It could also be so because it’s pretty realistic in it’s portrayal. There’s no fictional gloss over these characters.
They come across as very real especially Sophie, the wife who has lost her identity after marriage and who has no purpose in life and wanting to believe James is innocent despite knowing he can be arrogant about his charm. She is that quintessential homemaker who is expected to be by her husband’s side no matter what the truth is yet vilified behind the scenes as the perpetrator’s wife. Where as James represents that institutionalised male privilege who only sees the truth as he finds convenient.
Despite having the potential to be a gripping court room drama it fails to engage the reader on a visceral level. The characters too seem lacklustre but where it shines is in its ability to make the reader feel what they are going through emotionally. The essence has been captured well.
Pros: Realistic, character arcs, writing
Cons: plot structure, unnecessarily long, pace.
Bibliogyan verdict – Tests your patience but perhaps worth a read.