Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy.
When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.
And then she makes a decision she can never take back.
Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?
But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.
- Author: Claire Allan
- Edition: Kindle Edition
- Published: June 28th, 2018
- Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense
- Star Rating: ★★★☆☆
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
An ordinary day goes horribly awry when Emily witnesses the murder of a young mother. A tragic hit and run accident occurs mere steps away from where she stood, an accident that easily could have made her the victim had she been a little less polite, and alters the course of her life.
Emily quickly becomes obsessed with the victim, Rose Grahame, and her seemingly picturesque life. Her death leaves a vacancy, one that Emily finds herself fitting into rather seamlessly. She replaces Emily at her receptionist job at the local dentistry and finds herself infatuated with the widowed Cian. One woman’s devastation becomes another’s fantasy.
I felt like this book had an interesting premise that it couldn’t quite deliver on. Emily was a frustrating protagonist. Her backstory should have informed her decisions in the present but it didn’t. In fact, I was unsure why her backstory was relevant at all in this book. I’m tip-toeing here to avoid spoilers to the best of my ability but it served as no more than a red herring in my opinion. Several plot threads panned out into nothing and left me a little confused as to why they were in the novel at all. Maud was another character I thought was pretty useless.
At times Emily was so painstakingly naive I wanted to drop the book all together. That said, I understood the burning desire she had to find some normalcy in her life. When the book begins she is at rock bottom and desperately seeking something to make herself happy. Her initial motivations make sense and even her willingness to turn a blind eye, but there were times she just acted with so little common sense, especially given her background, I found it hard to believe.
Plot-wise, I didn’t predict the final twist but I found it a little weak. It felt like a twist procured to shock rather than one that actually made sense for the story itself. I think I would have preferred the ending be the obvious one because it made more sense with the lineage of the story.
As far as psychological thrillers go, this wasn’t my favorite but I did think the first half of the novel was strong. The pacing begins slow but it unravels in a timely manner and there were several chapters where I had to immediately keep going because I needed to know what happened. Allan is a talented writer too so it was never a chore to read even if I wasn’t too impressed with the final product. I would still recommend the book to anyone looking for a slow-burning story to sink your teeth into.