St. Martin’s Press | 2016
Filed Under: No one has this much time!
I am feeling pretty meh about this whole thing.
I don’t know if it was the hype, or my standards are at some level that not even I understand, but other readers seemed to fucking love this and for me, it fell short.
It got off to a slow start. There’s an obvious underlying thread of unease to Grace and Jack’s marriage – her, the beautiful housewife and him, the successful lawyer – that you are quick to pick up on, but it takes quite a while to get around to just how nefarious Jack actually is. And by the time his true self is revealed, the story has taken on a stagnant quality.
Oh, more threats about Millie? Great. Did you want to use the word “perfect” a few hundred more times? Excellent. Grace’s friends are going to continue to think nothing is fucking weird as all hell? Okie-dokie.
So much focus is put on the small interactions – the paranoia Grace experiences in trying to figure out just how to act, and just what to say, in order to “win” against Jack – that it becomes quite tedious to read. And the plausibility is laughable. A high-powered attorney who wins big and has his face splashed on the news, who probably works 60+ hour weeks, also has time to monitor every single thing Grace does, to intercept all interactions, to feed her and care for her like a pet? How would any regular person have the energy for this, let alone a successful, busy attorney?
…Even if he is a fucking Looney Toon.
Just exactly how Grace was going to get herself out of this situation was the real draw for me and kept me racing to the ending, which I hoped would serve up some cold-ass revenge.
There seemed to be limited opportunities for Grace to save herself. Jack had his psycho shit locked down. The suspense of knowing this had to end, one way or another, started to fill my veins with some adrenaline. I wanted that big twisty-twist, the comeuppance Jack so rightly deserved.
I wanted to see him ripped limb from limb; I couldn’t wait for Grace to take her life back and shit down his fucking creepy, abusive neck.
But the ending was lame and abrupt, not good enough for the level of bullshit the reader has to go through with Grace. It requires more suspended disbelief than I had in me at that point because it was clouded by my book nerd-sized disappointment.
After all of this – every terrible thing that was Grace’s life – Jack’s comeuppance is something that happens without the reader present for the good parts. It was an honest letdown. There was no satisfaction in it for me. Maybe that’s just the dark side of my personality, but I wanted to see him hurt. Like really, really hurt. And I didn’t get my heart’s desire. It was too subtle, and when it comes to revenge, that’s not really my thing.
But it’s not a bad book. The author is clearly talented, just certain central aspects did not work for me.
Throwing it right down the middle at 3 stars.
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.
Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?
And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?
The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?