What’s it about?
You never know who’s watching…
Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.
But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…
How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…?
So it might well be that it’s been done before and yes I might have read quite a few novels where the main character is stalked, finds secret messages and sees things that cause raised eyebrows, all while they’re not taken serious by anyone (I’m thinking about The Breakdown here) but THIS novel is better and more captivating than the ones I read before.
Two of the main characters, sisters Corinne and Ashley are carrying this novel in a magnificent way. They both think that the other has the perfect life but neither was ideal and without trouble. It was so very interesting to see Corinne’s struggle with her unfulfilled child wish, but also all the problems and struggles her big sister Ashley has with her 3 children. Her eldest is 15 and hard to control, half the time she doesn’t know where she is or hangs out with. Her little boy gets into a fight at school and her youngest, Holly, has nightmares every night. Ashley is almost at the end of her wit but pretty much on her own to handle them, as James seems to work all hours. It’s so unlike him and he’s so distant that she’s even starting to doubt if he’s having an affair. At least Corinne and Dominic are a perfect couple. He’s protective, supportive and loving.
The sisters’ stories are so contrasting, it was fabulous to see that pendulum swing this way and that. It also made me wonder continually for which sister I had the most sympathy and in which situation I’d rather find myself in. I think my favorite character in the story was most of all Ashley because she’s such a strong woman who doesn’t break but does everything in her power to keep everyone in her little family happy. My heart also went out to toddler Holly. Why those nightmares? They didn’t seem to make much of it but the author did a brilliant job making me imagine the absolute worst by being so subtle. I was actually scared of what I might discover and that I’d be forced to read some very disturbing scenes. I was spared and very relieved that didn’t happen, so don’t worry.
That’s not to say there are no hard-hitting scenes found in this novel, but they all circle around an ‘unknown’ lurker operating in the background. This mystery woman spent her entire childhood ‘watching’ a family from a distance. She had quite a heart-breaking and sad childhood and it’s clear that the hatred was passed from mother to daughter. I didn’t know who this person was, or why they were acting like this in the past and present, but there were a few suspects in the story. Although it didn’t come as a complete surprise, I was never completely sure of who this person was so I was actually quite happy when it all came out in a chilling finale.
I found this a very entertaining and brilliant debut novel with lots of intrigue and an ever-present sense of threat and creepiness. I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of Phoebe Morgan!