Monday, January 10, 2022

Book Review: Both of You

By Becky Gulc

Adele Parks is one of my all-time favourite authors, if I look back 10-15 years ago I savoured each and every one of her novels, she is a fantastic writer and is one of the UK’s bestselling women’s fiction authors for good reason. For reasons unknown to me there has been a lull of Adele Parks novels in my house in recent years, it’s certainly not been intentional. I’d been noticing Adele had switched genre in recent years, from what could be more traditionally termed ‘chick lit’ to what has been described as ‘domestic noir’ and finally intrigue took hold and I ordered her latest novel, Both of You. So what is the novel about? The synopsis certainly caught my attention:

‘Happy. Married. Missing.

Leigh Fletcher: happily married stepmum to two gorgeous boys goes missing on Monday. Her husband Mark says he knows nothing of her whereabouts. She simply went to work and just never came home. Their family is shattered.

Kai Janssen: married to wealthy Dutch businessman, Daan, vanishes the same week. Kai left their luxurious penthouse and glamorous world without a backward glance. She seemingly evaporated into thin air. Daan is distraught.

DC Clements knows that people disappear all the time – far too frequently. Most run away from things, some run towards, others are taken but find their way back. A sad few never return. These two women are from very different worlds, their disappearances are unlikely to be connected. And yet, at a gut level, the DC believes they might be.

How could these women walk away from their families, husbands and homes willingly? Clements is determined to unearth the truth, no matter how shocking and devastating it may be.’ (Courtesy of Adele Parks' website.)

Both Of You is a fantastic well-crafted novel which was hard to put down. The story is told from different viewpoints; all the main characters have their say but each one only comes to the forefront when it’s key to the plot. I enjoyed how the story built up bit by bit and how it shocked me and confused me at times, I certainly didn’t see some things coming and whilst I thought I’d figured out what might have happened to the women midway through, well I may not have been completely wrong but I wasn’t disappointed in the journey to getting to that conclusion at the very end. There were definitely a few curve balls thrown in (but believable ones) which had me second-guessing what I thought was happening.

Considering the key characters aren’t that likable once you get to know them, I thought the novel did well to still make me care; I really did. A situation which seemed unfathomable to most people almost seemed rationally thought out at times, I had some sympathy for Leigh and Kai even if at times I felt the internal dialogue was becoming a little repetitive. The ending was just, I’m glad it went the way it did. It completely fit the story even if it wasn’t necessarily the ending I wanted, but then I’m not sure what I wanted the ending to be either! This is one messy situation and I just loved the intrigue and unpicking of the story. No spoilers, but one character would certainly be interesting to meet again in another novel, they have so much left to give I’m sure…!

I certainly recommend this novel which is now available in paperback (UK) and it was so good to get back to Adele’s fantastic writing and it certainly won’t be as long until I pick up another one of her novels. Lies Lies Lies is calling me next!

Both of You is Woman Last Seen in the US.

More by Adele Parks:

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