Reading the blurb was enough to sell me on this book. I have long been fascinated (and disturbed) by the ease with which husbands were once able to commit their (sane) wives to insane asylums, so that angle of the story definitely got my attention and made me eager to read this novel.
The narrative is told from multiple points of view—Alex Gardinier (referred to as Alexandra Hallow in the psych hospital, which is set in the present day), Caroline Gardinier (her sister), Lucia Belo (a nurse at the hospital), and Sandra Jackson (mother of a missing young woman). With so many different points of view, it could easily have become confusing, but each character’s particular voice was easily recognizable to me. I felt it enhanced the book to be able to see all parts of the story through the eyes of the character ‘living it’, so to speak, as well as enhancing the sense of danger and/or urgency of recent or impending actions.
I don’t want to give anything away about the story, so I’ll just say this: Several events take place in each character’s story where the tension is painfully intense. I found myself holding my breath or gasping out loud more than a few times as I was reading. And that’s a very good thing when you’re reading a psychological thriller!
Twardowski’s debut is a well-crafted thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat, leading to an anxiety-inducing finale that, for me, felt like the perfect resolution for one of the four women in particular. It has earned her a well-deserved spot on my author radar, as well… I’ll be on the lookout for Kristen Twardowski’s next novel. I’m envisioning great things from her in the future.
I received a review copy of this book courtesy of the author.
About the Book
Once, Alex Gardinier was a successful physical therapist and a happy wife. Now she is trapped in a crumbling hospital room. Seven years ago Alex’s ex-husband, Nathan, was convicted of murdering five girls, and he has been rotting in prison ever since. Except the doctors say that Nathan isn’t in prison. In fact, they don’t believe that he is a criminal at all. According to them, Nathan is a devoted husband who visits her every week. But Alex can’t recall ever seeing him at the hospital, and the last time they met he was holding her hostage on a boat.
Maybe the doctors are right – maybe these memories of his crimes are her own personal delusions – but if they are wrong, then Nathan somehow escaped from prison. If they are wrong, he has trapped Alex in a psychiatric ward.
If they are wrong, he is hunting her sister.
About the Author
KRISTEN TWARDOWSKI stumbled her way through working with wolves and libraries and found her professional home doing marketing and data analysis in the publishing industry. Though there will always be a place in her heart for numbers and graphs, the rest of her love is given to the craft of writing.