When Jo Harding falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in hospital with partial amnesia-she’s lost a whole year of memories. A lot can happen in a year. Was Jo having an affair? Lying to her family? Starting a new life?
She can’t remember what she did-or what happened the night she fell. But she’s beginning to realise she might not be as good a wife and mother as she thought.
Review: What drew me to Close To Me was the premise; so many what if’s, who dunnits and questions that I just needed to get my hands on a copy to find out what was what. Jo, the main character, a fifty -something woman has had a fall down the stairs at home, hit her head and ended up in hospital. But when she wakes up, she realises she can’t remember the last year of her life and events and memories aren’t fitting together in her mind. She’s diagnosed with partial amnesia and told that the memories might or might not come back. She just has to be patient and wait for triggers to encourage the memories.
But whilst she’s battling with her own mind, she’s also suddenly got an incredibly uneasy feeling about her husband. She suddenly feels uneasy around him and at times, scared. But why? Whilst Jo is back at home and trying to recover from her injuries, bits of information start to come back to her; flickers of memories of a man, naked in bed. Was it her husband or someone else? What happened in that year before her fall and why is her husband so reluctant to help her remember? Was it her who had secrets or him?
Right, I have a lot of thoughts about this book; both positive and not-so-positive so let’s get stuck straight in. I think Close To Me touches on some really important issues and topics; marital problems, affairs, consent or lack of it, family rifts and so on. As family-based drama’s go, this has it all. I felt for Jo, despite not really warming to her as a character, I did sympathise for her massively. I even somewhat resonated with some of her feelings – obviously in a not so extreme way. Her boredom and loneliness; oh yes, I can definitely relate to that. The writing style was easy to read and it kept me invested as obviously I wanted to know what the heck was going on!
But whilst yes, it kept my attention and certainly made me keep reading, my main issue with Close To Me was that it didn’t shock or surprise me and for me, the shock factor is something I focus on quite intently when I’m reading a book. I found it quite samey and unspectacular compared to other Mysteries I’ve read especially with the unreliable female narrator cropping up again. Another issue I had was the pace and narration as a whole. It was incredibly easy to read but I often found pages and pages of nothing really going on or happening. I understand it was a slow and painful time for Jo and the pace may have been trying to reflect that slow burning trickle of information Jo was getting about her last year but from a readers POV, it was a little tedious at times.
All in all, for me, this book was okay. Not stonking brilliant but by no means rubbish. It definitely had it’s good and bad points and I think personally for me, it wasn’t my cup of tea. My main mark down was again, the lack of shock factor. Clearly I’m very high maintenance when it comes to books pleasing me, haha! Would recommend for those who enjoy stories that focus on dysfunctional families (who doesn’t?), real-life problems and nothing too outrageous or graphic.
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