Author: Sue Watson
Pages: 344 pages
Published: April 30th 2020 by Bookouture
GoodReads: "‘You don’t think Jamie and I have secrets, do you? No, we tell each other everything.’ She smiled. ‘Including your dirty little secret. So, thinking about it, maybe it’s time to start being nice to me?’
THE WIFE: Clare is ready for a break. It’s been a tough year and now she wants to put her feet up. Arriving at the Italian villa for their summer holiday, she decides it’s high time her husband and his family did some of the work. After all, her husband owes her…
THE HUSBAND: Even though Dan had his head turned by someone else, he’s realised the error of his ways. He’s here now, and he says it’s for keeps. Clare can trust him, can’t she? At least he’ll have his brother there, to keep him in line…
THE BROTHER: Jamie is the prodigal child, back in the family fold again, after years of travelling abroad. But when he gets to the villa, he’s not alone. He’s brought a wife, someone none of them have met before.
THE SISTER-IN-LAW: Ella is everything Clare isn’t. Glamorous. Young. Influential. But she knows a secret about Clare. Something that has the power to break the whole family apart.
And there’s someone who will do whatever it takes to make sure that this deep secret never comes to the surface..."
"Who knew evil girls have the prettiest face?" - Lucid Dreams, Juice WRLD
That line from that song was stuck in my head while reading this book. Hmm, wonder why? This sister in law is PURE EVIL!! You think your in-laws are bad? You ain't seen nothin'.
Clare is our narrator and basically super annoying and sad, trying to make it work with a sleazy cheating husband (why?). And apparently I can badmouth her but when Ella does it, it makes my hackles rise! Ha! I mean she was constantly telling Clare she was old (excuse me?), overweight, and making fun of her career as a nurse (what??!). That's bad no matter who you are, but OF COURSE Ella is young and childless and thin and does absolutely nothing. 😤
BUT Ella knows her secret and so Clare has to shut up in the face of all of Ella's B.S. Will Ella tell all when Clare loses her cool? Will Ella sleep with Clare's wh*re of a husband? Will Ella get hit by a car and leave us all feeling satisfied??? And why, WHY can no one else see through her lovely facade to the ugly beneath?
I have to tell you, when Ella kept talking about her sister, I'm like OMG her sister is Kenzie from Little Secrets (by Jennifer Hillier), right??? They are running neck and neck for my most hated characters of all time. Are there really people like this???
And she's not the only one - literally everyone in this book was distinctly unlikable. Ugly, heinous, manipulative, body-shaming, judgmental, womanizing... UGH! It was like a car-wreck you can't look away from - this family!!
Anyways, I was invested in Clare, and that's what kept me hooked... I don't want to say I relate to her because honestly she was a wimp and made horrible decisions, but it was one of those books where bad decisions snowballed and you felt stressed at the lack of control. It reminded me of Liane Moriarty or similar, which to me makes it more of a drama and less of a thriller.
Overall: 3.5 rounded to 4
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!
Here's that song... my teenager would be so proud