My thanks go out to Sarah, representing publisher Bookouture, for saving me a place on this lovely ‘Books On Tour’ schedule.
I also need to thank the great NetGalley team, for always making life so easy when downloading review copies.
THE TRAPPED WIFE
My family gathers around the large oak table in our beautifully renovated home. I’ve put on a dress and lit candles, and there’s a wonderful aroma coming from the dinner you’ve so lovingly prepared. I feel your hand squeeze mine as you top up my glass and ask about my day as a doctor in our small town.
It’s the perfect domestic scene, except for one tiny fact: I think my husband is dead, and you are just another patient of mine…
I had no choice but to let you in. If I laugh at your jokes and run my fingers through your hair, maybe I can delete the photos on your phone and find the truth about the night I can’t remember, just before my husband left on the trip he never returned from.
Perhaps my son and I will have a chance at a normal life again.
But as I carefully piece together the shards of what really happened that fateful night, only one thing can possibly be true: everyone is lying, even me…
Her mother’s side of the family were all creative people, so Monday to Friday her life was all starving, angst-ridden bohemian artists, a tiny, tumble-down cottage with every surface covered with tubes of paint and canvases, no heating and often not much money for food. The weekends were different, however, when she would spend time with her father, a successful businessman. Living the high-life in his grand house complete with butler, and flying off to Europe in his private plane or taking holidays on his Caribbean yacht was quite a contrast for a kid to deal with.
To make sense of it all, she wrote and she can’t ever remember not wanting to be an author. From a very young age, she handwrote stories and made them into little books for her friends. She pestered for her first typewriter when she was ten and, when she got one for Christmas, she was glued to it from the moment she woke up, bashing out stories across multiple genres.
Samantha has travelled extensively and held down a multitude of various jobs along the way, alongside having three children and renovating several old houses back here in the UK.
Her first (tiny) ‘break’ came in 2003 when she won a short story competition. On the back of this, a novel she’d written was published by a small independent press. This led to an editor at a bigger publishing house contacting her and commissioning several novels and a number of short stories for their romance imprint, which she wrote under another name. But meantime she was working away on a crime/thriller novel, even though she didn’t realise that’s what it was at the time – She was just writing the kind of book she loved to read.
When not writing, Samantha loves to cook, go to the gym, see friends and drink nice wine. She is also studying for a degree in psychotherapy.
Keep up to date with all Samantha’s news at her website
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“As a kid, people ask what you want to be when you grow up. ‘I want to be an author’ wasn’t taken very seriously in the early eighties, and I was uninspired by the leaflets in my school’s career office. It certainly wasn’t the easy clear-cut path to publication I’d imagined and took me another couple of decades to see even a glimmer of my work published. But along the way I had many experiences, met a host of intriguing people, lived in several continents, and raised my three children”
“The boy sits on the tarmac, knees drawn up to his chin, his feet crammed into scuffed black school shoes as he stares at the ground between them. Across the playground he hears the whoops and cries of the other kids at break time – charging about inanely as they shriek and scream in a steam-releasing chorus. He doesn’t need to let off steam. What a waste that would be…”
NOW – JEN
“I stare at the pregnancy test strip, waiting for the results. My cheeks still smart from the dank February air outside, even though it’s warm in my office. Too warm, I think, making a mental note to ask Peggy to turn the heating down. I glance at my watch. Fifteen minutes until clinic starts – my first day back at work since… since the accident six weeks ago”
“Stress, grief and anxiety will do that – transform sense and logic into a bubbling pot of catastrophe”
“Evil seeping amongst the innocent yet again”
“When someone dies, it’s not just one hole they leave behind”
“It was as though his body wasn’t a big enough place for his mind to live, as though he felt trapped, frustrated, unfulfilled”
“Whatever you think you know – You’re wrong”
Oh! My Word! That tagline is so right on the mark, I don’t really need to write any more of a review than that!
In fact, to write too much of an in depth review at all might prove to be a fatal mistake, as it will be all too easy to give a vital clue away and I really wouldn’t want to do that, as you definitely need to read this one for yourself – very carefully, or you might blink and miss something!!
The Trapped Wife was billed as a domestic/psychological thriller, but believe me – there is nothing ‘domestic’ about this storyline, it messed with my head and tied me up in knots. Narrated in multiple voices and dual timelines, the short chapters are well signposted and kept me on track, and boy, did I need it. The first lines had the story set in motion and hitting the ground running. The multiple strands of the intense and ever-changing plot, meant that there was never a dull moment, as one mind-blowing twist followed another and I needed to keep my wits about me, although to be fair, the pace was never frenetic. The clues were all there and I came close to predicting the ending; ‘close but no cigar’ as the saying goes, when Samantha threw in that one last curved ball which I just wasn’t expecting.
There were two more or less separate storylines, but each was multi-layered and not at all what they seemed at first glance, especially not as they began to be drawn together in the ever-decreasing circle of sanity and reality (mine that is, not the characters!). The story concerning Rhonda’s daughter, Caitlin, was probably a little weak, if I am being really picky! If I had been Rhonda, who is a teacher, or her second husband Chris, who is a policeman, the incident definitely wouldn’t have been brushed under the carpet, as neatly as it was! However, this was just too good a read to get pernickety over, as the many layers just kept peeling away, to reveal something even more unexpected and destructive underneath.
This slowly unfolding, neatly structured, unconventional and evolving storyline; was dark and highly textured; claustrophobic and immersive; rich in detail, atmosphere and tension. The gripping narrative was confidently written, with an assured almost desperate intensity, yet with complete confidence and assurance in the storyline, both in the way and at the speed it needed to unravel., which it did to perfection.
Samantha created a cast of characters, which although well developed and drawn, were not authentic or likable, just as she had, I suspect, intended. There was little natural synergy or dynamism between them, in which to invest. Multi-faceted, duplicitous, manipulative and self-centred definitely; emotionally complex, with a raw passion maybe; but never genuine or totally believable. They were definitely given free rein to command and control this storyline, which they did assuredly and completely. At times it was really difficult not to get drawn into their downward spiral of selfish retribution and payback. ‘The apple never falls far from the tree’ and that is certainly true in this story, where feuds, grudges and secrets from the school playground come back to haunt a generation.
Ultimately, some of the miscreants got their comeuppance, which I have to say I heartily cheered – The past will always find you out, and revenge is definitely a dish best served cold, especially when it is served by a deadly female who has been scorned. This story puts a visit to the GP into an entirely new perspective. I’ll definitely be watching my back in future!
Samantha Hayes was a new to me author, but I shall most definitely be making time to catch up with some of her previous books and make sure I grab any new releases in the future.
The Trapped Wife took me on a rollercoaster of a journey, so why not read it for yourself and see where it leads you?
A complimentary download of this book for review purposes, was made available by Bookouture and supplied by NetGalley
Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.
I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars!