Behind Her Eyes

Author: Sarah Pinborough

Publisher: Harper Collins

Published: Out Now

RRP: £12.99 Hardback

Louise – Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets...

David – young successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But all that comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife...

Adele – Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise’s new friend seems perfect in every way.

As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage; they each in turn, reach out to her. But only when she gets to know then both does she begin to see the cracks...Is David really the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears? Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?

These days lying...ahem...I mean alternative fact spreading is all the rage.  The big lies are centre stage but I also think it’s just not that unusual in our species – lying to others about our great lives, our healthy relationships or lies to ourselves about the decisions we make for our own good.  In this intriguing thriller Sarah Pinborough explores these smaller lies and the impacts they can have.

Louise meets a handsome and perfect stranger at a pub leading to sparks and kisses fly.  She then finds out her stranger is her new boss at the clinic she works in - her very married new boss.  This means obviously nothing else can continue except they do get on, make each other laugh so it’s a bit hard to completely ignore each other. At the same time Louise literally bumps into Adele whois completely new to the area and also finds she gets on with her too, they enjoys lunches and gym trips together – making Louise a much healthier person.  But Louise decides it’s probably best not to share the information that she knows their significant others.

What follows is a fascinating story about relationships and loyalty. Louise is quite a likeable character – she’s putting her life back together after her marriage falling apart, she has a sense of humour and honesty about herself.  Certainly initially you can see how David and her click...but he’s married and ultimately she decides that relationship should move forward despite how well she gets on with Adele.  Louise’s story is told in her own voice so we can see it’s not an easy decision but she also surprises herself how easily she finds deceptions to both as well as her friends and her child.

The other voice we hear in alternating chapters is Adele’s.  She is an absolutely fascinating character – appears initially very weak and timid but we start to find she has had a very intense and twisted relationship with David that means the two are in an uneasy balance/alliance with each other.  She loves David but she is delighted as t what Louise has allowed her to explore.  Her plan of action is disturbing - why is she so keen for Louise to come into their lives?  In both cases Pinborough creates two very different voices giving you a real feel for both women.

As you can expect things do not go smoothly and eventually events mean alliances shift.  We see Louise become very protective of Louise as she realises David has also been lying – the charmer has an uglier side and seems unwilling to risk his comfortable and wealthy lifestyle that he received upon marrying into Adele’s family.  Flashbacks to their early years suggest a dark secret from the past both are keen to stay buried.  There is also an interesting look at class – Louise the struggling single mother contrasts with a life of luxurious gyms, beautiful homes and delicious food served in the garden.  Is Louise just a distraction or is she reminding them they live in a nice gilded prison? Are they offering her the life she has always wanted?

And so I have to confess I too may not be telling you the whole truth dearest reader because this thriller is not always what it seems.  Pinborough is setting these events up but they do not go the way of every single crime thriller with a similar plot.  The book will reveal a slightly more supernatural side that builds and builds until just until you think you’ve guessed what is happening you find you’ve been looking at the wrong part of the stage. It’s an excellent piece of misdirection with two fascinating characters working out their relationship to one another.  I think this will be a story you may want to be surprised by.