Release date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Little Brown
Doting wife, devoted husband, cherished child. Merry, Sam, and Conor are the perfect family in the perfect place. Merry adores the domestic life: baking, gardening, caring for her infant son. Sam, formerly an academic, is pursuing a new career as a filmmaker. Sometimes they can hardly believe how lucky they are. What perfect new lives they’ve built.
When Merry’s childhood friend Frank visits their Swedish paradise, she immediately becomes part of the family. She bonds with Conor. And with Sam. She befriends the neighbors, and even finds herself embracing the domesticity she’s always seemed to scorn.
All their lives, Frank and Merry have been more like sisters than best friends. And that’s why Frank soon sees the things others might miss. Treacherous things, which are almost impossible to believe when looking at this perfect family. But Frank, of all people, knows that the truth is rarely what you want the world to see.
This was such a strange read for me, I’m not even sure I can articulate my thoughts about it but I’ll do my best. For one thing, I flew through it so that tells me that it’s gripping, but on the other hand I was disturbed more than a few times due to the subject matter. But I didn’t stop reading even when things went down hill towards the end. Confusing to say the least!
This alternates Between Merry, Sam and Frank as Frank visits her BFF to check out her new life in Sweden with her husband and new son. The toxic and odd relationship between Frank and Merry was super interesting and I got the same vibe as when I read Give Me Your Hand so if you liked that book, you may like this as well. The writing style took a little time to get used to as well, Sacks doesn’t use quotation marks which was jarring at first but I adjusted quickly and wasn’t bothered soon enough.
The setting of Sweden was depicted really beautifully, I could easily picture the various scenes the author described and felt it had a really strong sense of place. There are many positive aspects of this one but as I don’t want to discuss the plot whatsoever, it’s difficult to get into what didn’t specifically work for me. If you’re intrigued by the blurb then I encourage you to pick this one up and try for yourself. It’s definitely unique and one that makes you say, what the hell?! Several times.
Overall rating: 3/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.