Most fiction novels have the statement in small print on the title page- any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. That statement might be true most of the time. But what if it’s not? What if the story you are reading is your story, a secret disguised as fiction? How would you feel if your secret, thought unknown to everyone but yourself, was out in the open, masquerading in a format that anyone could read and decipher?
Award-winning documentary maker Catherine Ravenscroft enjoys reading, and when she notices a mysterious novel sitting on her bedside table, she is compelled to pick it up. She doesn’t remember buying it, her husband Robert has never seen it before, and her recently moved-out-of-home son Nicholas is not much of a booklover. When she begins to read the novel however, the contents seem sickeningly familiar, and it isn’t until she sees the neat red line drawn through the disclaimer, that she realises that this story reveals her secret- a secret she thought no one else knew. What’s worse, someone- the author presumably- has somehow tracked her down, delivered the book, and is intent on making sure that Catherine’s life is ruined because of it. Using all the resources at her disposal, Catherine attempts to uncover who could possibly hold such a vendetta against her and her family, in an effort to avoid the truth coming out. But the author of the novel is just as determined for the secret to be revealed, and will stop at nothing to reach a satisfying conclusion to the tale…
The concept behind this novel is intriguing, and really makes you question how creative licence is used in the writing of the novels we love to read. How much is fact? How much is fiction? How do we really know unless we recognise the story being told as our own? These questions, as well as compelling (and obviously flawed characters) make this psychological thriller different from most other novels of the same genre. The storyline drifts between current day (set in 2013) and events twenty years earlier, and is told from the perspectives of key characters including Catherine, the author of the novel (Stephen Brigstocke), Robert and Nicholas. As in all cases of stories retold, time has changed some of the key elements of the events in Stephen’s novel, making for a misconstrued and unreliable tale, not unlike the narratives of each of the involved characters. Each person has their own view on the contents of the novel, and each have their own methods of dealing with the newfound knowledge that comes from reading Stephen’s publication.
This novel is quick-paced, unusual and has an interesting premise- it is well worth adding to your thriller reading list.