Beneath the Skin

No one remembers your past. But you do.

‘Antonia, Antonia. My name is Antonia.’

It’s been her name for many years. But sometimes, like tonight, she forgets.

Antonia has a secret. A secret so dark and so deep that she can barely admit it to herself. Instead, she treats herself to Friday night sessions of self-harm while her husband David is at the pub, and her best friend Sophie is drinking too much wine a few doors down.

Nobody close to her knows the truth about what the teenage Antonia saw all those years ago. No-one, that is, except her mother. But Candy is in a care home now, her mind too addled to remember the truth. Antonia is safe. Isn’t she?

The lies start small. They always do. But when the tightly woven story you’ve told yourself begins to unravel, the truth threatens to come to the surface. And then what’s going to happen?

I have to admit this was a bit hard for me to read and really get into because the subject matter of suicide is so prominent which in my family is something of an open wound that never really heals.

Aside from that there were so many secrets and ties between the characters I felt like I needed to get a dry erase board out to create a circular flow diagram to keep it all organized. With all the secrets and behind the scenes connections it really made me think of the tv series I recently finished watching Big Little Lies as it has more of a drama feel than a standard psychological thriller.

In some ways it feels like a three act play; character set up, narrative confrontation and finally the resolution which ties up those pesky questions posed when the action finally started to heat up in the middle.

Though this seems like it’s a story about Antonia we have these other couples whose relationships are all interconnected so their behaviors and decisions cause ripple effects in each other’s lives. We aren’t spoon fed enough information to necessarily understand why the characters do the things they do so the reader is often left having to make their own assumptions.

This is both good and bad. It can be irritating if you like knowing everything but on the flip side all the holes will stop you from figuring out the end game too quickly. Just when you think you finally have a handle on things, the author throws in some curveballs making you question where you thought the story was headed.

Told from multiple perspectives and with a slow pace it took some time to get into it so I can see people who need that quick adrenaline rush having problems with this. Lovers of character focused dramas though will have a field day.

It’s definitely a marathon to the thrills not a sprint but it’ll be worth it once you get to that conclusion which isn’t going to be erased from your memory any time soon.

Thank you to Netgalley and Avon Books UK for allowing me to review this!

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