Juliette and Danny – make the decision to relocate to the country to make a fresh start. They have recently lost their young daughter to meningitis, and feel that escaping their London life, with all its memories, would be good for them both. Juliette works from home and Danny commutes back and forth to the city. They both instantly fall in love with their new home which only has one flaw… the rather odd and suspicious next-door neighbours.
Richard and Sarah – Richard is a talented artist who is also a handsome and charming psychopath. He abuses all of his partners by manipulative, undermining, and coercive behaviours. Richard has several dark secrets which he wants to keep from the world. Sarah thought Richard was the answer to her every prayer. She came from a lower class, dysfunctional city family. Living here in Richard’s spacious home seems idyllic… at first.
“Too much went on behind closed doors that never got talked about. Never reported, often to the detriment of someone who couldn’t defend themselves.”
I’ve heard a lot of positive praise for this author from several of my fellow bookbloggers and have wanted to read her work for some time now. What took me so long? After reading “The Life She Wants“, I’ll now know to expect quality writing and an engaging plot.
The setting, down a rural lane in Staffordshire, was easily imaginable and gave the book a somewhat creepy vibe due to its remote location.
The characters were well developed, though not all were likeable. The character of Richard was easy to hate, while his partner Sarah was despicable at first but once you learned her backstory you couldn’t help but empathize with her. Louise’s character was just pitiable. Juliette and Danny were a likeable and sympathetic couple.
The book moved along at a fast pace, partly due to its short chapters and partly due to its engrossing storyline.
The novel delves into themes of domestic abuse, coersive control, dysfunctional families, and parental loss. All dark and bleak themes, but written in a way that produced an engaging domestic thriller.
I plan to read more of this author’s work when time permits. Recommended!This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Bookouture via NetGalley.
ISBN: 9781803140049 ASIN: B09F9H45QT 306 pages
Mel Sherratt lives in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with her husband and terrier, Dexter (named after the TV serial killer) and she makes liberal use of her hometown as a backdrop for some of her books.
She is not sure which she’s most proud of – being on the list of Stoke-on-Trent’s top 100 most influential people 2017-2020, or after years of rejection going on to sell over 1.5 million books.
Shortlisted for the prestigious CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in Library Award 2014, her inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Mandasue Heller, Kimberly Chambers, Lisa Jewell and Clare Mackintosh.
“The Life She Wants” is her seventeenth novel.
Follow Mel Sherratt on Twitter @writermels