This book definitely has some of the elements of a good thriller. There are some secrets and good twists. But overall, I fear it may disappoint fans of the thriller genre. I think it may appeal more to fans of romance and women’s fiction, who are perhaps a bit ‘thriller-curious.’
I’d also really only recommend this to those who are happiest reading commercial fiction. Otherwise, you may be frustrated by the writing and dialogue, which tend towards the simplistic. Not exactly my cup of tea, but if you’re good with highly commercial fiction and looking for a mindless beach read for the summer, this could be it.
Sienna Scott grew up in the dark shadow of her mother’s paranoid delusions. Now, she's returned home to confront her past and the unsolved murder that altered the course of her life.
In her mother’s shuttered house, an old fear that has haunted Sienna for years rears its ugly head—that it was she who had been the killer’s target that night. And now, with it, a new fear—that the killer not only intended to remedy his past mistake—he’s already begun. But are these fears any different from the ones that torment her mother?
As the walls close in, the line between truth and lie, reality and delusion disintegrate. Has Sienna’s worst nightmare come true? Or will she unmask a killer and finally prove she may be her mother’s look-alike, but she’s not her clone?
A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the ARC!
I LOVED The Chalk Man, so I was very excited to read CJ Tudor’s latest!
The Chalk Man was more of a character-driven thriller, which followed one complex and mildly dysfunctional character and was surrounded by a cast of bold and interesting characters. The Other People felt more plot driven, which makes sense because it was more high concept. (High concept is a slightly annoying entertainment term which means something based on a unique ‘what if’ premise). And the ‘what if’ premise in The Other People is EXCEPTIONAL. I love, love, love it.
Three years ago, Gabe's family disappeared. Most people think they died. Some of them blame Gabe. Hardly anyone believes the truth--that Gabe saw his daughter the day she and his wife disappeared, smiling at him from the back of a rusty old car speeding down the highway. So even though it's been three years since that day, Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days travelling up and down the highway and sleeping in service stations, searching for the car that took her.
It's hard for most people to understand. But Gabe has found some who do in an online group set up by people who have also lost loved ones--who have suffered like him. They call themselves "The Other People." Because isn't that what everyone thinks: bad stuff only happens to "other people."
When the car that Gabe saw driving away that night is found in a lake with a body inside, Gabe is suddenly under suspicion--and in danger. In desperation, he turns to The Other People for help. Because they are good people. They know what loss is like. They know what pain is like. They know what death is like. There's just one problem . . . they want other people to know it too.
The beginning is FANTASTIC. Great opening to a thriller!! But as I continued deeper into the story, at certain moments, I got a bit confused. I’ll be honest, life’s been busy, so I had to read this in small sections, which definitely didn’t help me keep clear about what was happening. Even so, there were a good number of characters and a lot of switching POVs, and those character’s lives didn’t intersect until deep into the book. So, I had issues keeping them straight. There’s a big pay-off for it, though, once it’s finally revealed what is happening, about a third of the way in.
Overall, I think the premise — the ‘what if’ of this story — is very compelling, but also very ambitious and probably incredibly difficult to pull off. Besides some confusion at certain moments, it was a very fun read! Some great scenes, some excellent twists and - of course - a lot of suspense. I’ll continue to read whatever Tudor’s dark and imaginative mind comes up with in the future.
Thank you so much NetGalley and Random House - Ballantine for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
I am finally posting my thoughts on this book. Truth be told, I think I was so intimidated by the beauty of this novel that I didn’t know what the heck to say about it, but here goes…..
THIS NOVEL IS STUNNING!!!!
It is set during a very, very dark and tragic period in our nation’s history, but the writing is breathtaking, poetic and almost other-worldly. At certain moments, it is utterly heartbreaking. At others, it is ethereal and just...beyond.
The story follows three women living on a plantation in the South, switching back and forth between the years before and just after the Civil War, pre- and post-slavery.
Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom. Magnificently written, brilliantly researched, richly imagined, Conjure Women moves back and forth in time to tell the haunting story of Rue, Varina, and May Belle, their passions and friendships, and the lengths they will go to save themselves and those they love.
I truly can’t list all of the things I appreciate about this novel. There’s powerful symbolism laced throughout. The characters, as well as the themes, have such wonderful depth and complexity, and the details of the time period are intricate and interesting, yet the story MOVES. I never once felt a moment of boredom; I was hooked from the very first page.
Amidst a suspenseful and gripping story, there’s an exploration of identity, individualism, community, faith, superstition, conformism and — most of all — freedom. What is the cost of freedom? What is the weight of freedom? And are any of us truly free?
Although the writing style is very different, I couldn’t help but think of Kazuo Ishiguro as I read this. I think this is because one theme this book explores is the pain people must endure due to the confining roles and expectations of the society they were born into.
I am going to reread this at some point because I am sure that there are things I missed in the first reading.
I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone who likes historical fiction or just has a pulse and a heart. Trust me, you will be moved by it. This novel is sublime.
I HUGE thank you to Random House for the ARC.