Written by Julia Crouch — A good story should always start with a bang and this one does… literally. You will be thrown straight into the thick of it as Louisa Williams tries desperately to escape her husband, Sam. The pair are driving recklessly along pitch black country roads.
It can only end in tears, and the aforementioned bang, as Louisa’s car is rammed from behind by her pursuing spouse, resulting in an almighty explosion and three deaths. Sadly, Louisa had her young son and daughter in the car with her.
Move to the present and ‘tragic Louisa’, as she has been dubbed by the press, is trying to salvage something from the shattered pieces of her former life. The recovery process is helped by the fact that Sam died intestate and was very rich, but there’s a fly in the ointment in the shape of Sophie, a former model with a chequered past who doesn’t believe a word of Louisa’s version of events. She is biased though, as she was Sam’s lover and is the mother of his baby daughter, Sami. There’s the book’s title explained.
Thus the sides are drawn and in truth it’s difficult to decide who to champion, which is one of the problems with this book. It is hard to connect with either Louisa or Sophie. Perhaps it comes with years of crime fiction reading, but I found both of them a little fishy and difficult to love. On the face of it, Louisa is in the right and Sophie in the wrong, but any crime fiction reader who takes things on face value is surely overdue a wake-up call.
Louisa, or Lou as she now likes to be called, sets off on a new life, leaving behind the rural idyll she shared with Sam and moving to London and a job as a hot-shot designer. She is desperately trying to leave behind the banner headlines and noteriety of the past and spins her new employer a line about having been living in New York for a time. Sophie is under a restraining order and out of the picture, so all is well, and things definitely are on the up when Lou finds a new love interest in the shape of dishy Adam.
But the course of true crime fiction never runs smooth and the vengeful Sophie is still on the prowl, dead set on wreaking revenge on the woman who besmirched the memory of the man she loved – if she can find her, that is.
Some of the plot seems a little iffy. In these days of fast internet searches and social media, it is very hard to drop off the radar, particularly when you keep your name and go back to your old line of work, so I was surprised that Louisa managed to hide from Sophie at all. Also, as a new mother and a former drug addict, you’d think Sophie would have been high on the list of social services’ priorities?
But the stark contrast between the two women – cool, collected Louisa and crazy, impulsive Sophie – makes for some animated scenes (particularly when they are in the same room) and the narrative ebbs and flows between the pair are enjoyable, pulling you deeper and deeper into murky secrets that have been kept hidden for years.
In a plot that takes its time to get up to speed, gradually, the truth is uncovered and the pages begin to fly by. I loved the final, shocking twist of this book and was ultimately glad I’d stayed for the long haul.
CFL Rating: 3 Stars