Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: June 9th 2020 by Park Row
Rated 3.75 stars of 5
Belle is still a tried-and-true suspense writer that pulls you in from the first page. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and its overt ambiance. The environment is described perfectly which covers from some characterization flaws. Let’s talk about it after reading the synopsis:
When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.
At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.
As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.
Belle still carries an eerie vibe throughout the novel by her use of foreshadowing and character conjecture. We follow all the various options of who could be involved in the mystery. I’m happy to say, I was right from the beginning on what happened (hence, the star taken away). While I was hoping for more red herrings with depth, I found that the ones given were still enough to make you second guess your theory as a reader.
As we follow Charlie/Charlotte’s life surrounding a town that is jealous of her (thought this was strange but I get it…just not to the extent in the book that literally EVERYONE in the town looks at her weird for her choice in a rich, older man with a sordid past). Charlie is a reliable main character but readers probably won’t love her. She has an air of high and mighty along with the idea that she’s alone but has massive support from everyone. There are some relationships that could have had the same depth as the ambiance (her bestfriend perhaps…their relationship seemed surface while her closer friend, Micah definitely showed some promise). I enjoyed Charlie/Charlotte’s relationship with her brother the most as he added a quality to the story that was more realistic and down to earth.
Even with some character flaws, Belle writes a novel that has a suspenseful and somewhat gratifying ending. I wasn’t particularly sure how I felt after reading the book and it took me a day or two to figure out whether I really liked it or not. As you can see by the star rating, the suspense won me over.
Raging Book Reviews Recommended
*Special thanks to Netgalley and Parker Row Books for sending a copy for an honest review. #netgalley #harpercollins #harlequin #parkerrowbooks