Publication Date: Available Now from Sphere
Source: Review Copy
The perfect life?
Or the perfect lie . . .
When Cassie Jensen arrives on the intensive care ward in St Catherine’s hospital, Alice Marlowe the chief nurse, is fascinated by this young, beautiful woman who strikes her as familiar and yet she doesn’t know why. But then Alice is astonished to discover something about Cassie that she has been keeping secret from everyone, including her devoted husband and family; a secret that changes everything.
Frank is a patient on the same ward who has locked-in-syndrome, so can hear and see everything around him but cannot communicate. Soon he comes to understand that Cassie’s life is still in danger and as the police continue to investigate what really happened to Cassie, only Frank holds the truth, which no one can know and he cannot tell . . .
If You Knew Her is a tense and addictive psychological thriller with 3 separate, unique and absorbing voices.
We see Cassie, in a coma, her life in retrospect as we lead to the moment of disaster, Frank, a patient who is more aware than the medical team believe and Alice, chief nurse who has an emotional connection to Cassie and is concerned for her occasionally to the point of obsession.
Emily Elgar cleverly weaves and interlocks the three separate strands of this story often in an emotionally resonant way – especially in regards to Alice – the mystery elements are intriguing and several unexpected things happened during the course of the read which is a big plus for me. What I really liked about it was the lack of police points of view – the police are seen rarely and “off camera” so to speak – this is all about these three lives that have intersected at a difficult time for all of them.
Frank was probably the character I related to the most. I’ve read a couple of books this year that involve “coma” patients and I find that incredibly fascinating – Frank’s voice is, to my mind, the strongest of the three and he in a lot of ways is our external narrator.
I would say this is more character drama than psychological thriller – whilst there is that element, was Cassie’s accident actually a deliberate act, is she still in danger – there are not that many resolutions available to that question therefore the focus is very much on the thoughts and feelings of those caught up in the wake. The ending is beautifully done and leaves a strong sense of melancholy with the reader ensuring that this one will stay with you.
Overall a really compelling read.
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