I’m trying to review the titles I’m lucky enough to get access to through Net Galley closer to their publication date, and I’m happy to say I really succeeded with The Twilight Wife. The thriller was published today (December 27th, 2016) and is now available on Kindle or in Paperback.
I read this thriller in one day – it’s the perfect guilty pleasure book for a short flight or a leisurely holiday afternoon. The main character – Kyra – suffers from amnesia due to a diving accident in which she hit her head, and it’s through this amnesia that the author builds the mystery that surrounds Kyra’s past. Kyra and the reader are on the same level in that they both are missing key information needed to determine whether Kyra’s husband Jacob and the friends and neighbors that surround Kyra can be trusted.
I really enjoyed the book but I felt that because of how short it was, the character relationships and the plot itself could have been further developed, so I ultimately gave it 3 Rabbits (stars).
The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner
Published: December 27th 2016
Plot Teaser (From Goodreads)
Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.
But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends. As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.
What I Liked
The use of amnesia to keep both the protagonist and reader guessing. This was my first time reading a thriller (or really any novel that I can remember) in which the main character – Kyra – suffers from amnesia. It added a really interesting element to the plot, because the reader slowly gains more information about Kyra’s past at the same pace as she is able to recall it. The book is written in first person from Kyra’s perspective, and the reader is just as clueless as Kyra is about her accident, her marriage and the man she finds beside her. I felt like I was experiencing Kyra’s amnesia alongside her and it created a feeling of confusion and intrigue as I was reading.
The steadily building suspense. The book is short but the plot unrolls steadily page by page, with a balanced relentlessness. Each chapter, and often even each page provides new clues to the reader, but the final truth doesn’t really begin to take shape clearly until the final two or three chapters. In some ways, the book is quiet initially – Kyra is figuring out how to return to her normal life with Jacob after her accident so we see them cooking, meeting friends, going to stores and in general doing very mundane things. It’s Kyra’s thoughts and the little details which instinctively don’t seem to fit for her that build the feeling that something isn’t quite right.
The scientific detail. Kyra is a marine biologist and I was pleasanetly surprised at the abundant and accurate scientific details that the author provided that were relevant to Kyra’s profession. Kyra recalls the scientific names of crabs and seashells she encounters on her beach walks after her accident, though the rest of her memory is a jumbled mess. I appreciated the addition of these realistic scientific details because they helped to further flesh out Kyra’s character and also really tied the entire narrative to the sea setting in which it unfolds.
What I Didn’t Like
How short it was. I felt that the novel could have had a stronger impact on me if the author had taken the time to further develop Kyra’s confused thoughts and the contrast between her post-accident experiences and her pre-accident memories. If the book had been slightly longer, there would also have been the opportunity of further exploring Kyra’s relationships with some of the secondary characters she encounters on the island. I appreciated that I was able to get through the book quickly, and the story ultimately still felt satisfying, but I think there was a missed opportunity in the deeper ways in which the story could have been developed.
I struggled to decide whether to give The Twilight Wife 3 Rabbits or 4, but I ultimately settled for 3 because I felt that the book was a simplified (though still enjoyable) version of what it could potentially have been.
A fast-paced thriller that is a quick read in which the protagonist’s amnesia keeps her guessing as much as the reader about who to trust.
Other Books By The Author:
The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
Published: September 1st 2015
Plot Teaser (from Goodreads)
Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.
Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?
Have you read The Twilight Wife or other books by A.J. Banner? What did you think? Leave your opinion in the comments!
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