About this book…
Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.
Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?
Sometimes it’s better not to know.
I think I’m going to struggle reviewing this book as I don’t want to give too much away! I went into it with an open mind, not having read any reviews, and I’m glad as I think I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about the plot which is always a refreshing change for me!
And where do I start?! Probably by saying I loved how this author was able to make me feel such a deep dislike for this couple! I will talk a little about them separately but as a couple I found them to be the worst kind of pretentious, self-obsessed middle class parents I have possibly ever read about! I wondered how they would have developed leading married lives with different partners but had a feeling that Ed in particular would have been exactly the same! I might be a bit controversial here and say that although Ed was a pompous, arrogant and egotistical husband I put a lot of his behaviour down to how others reacted to him. His patients with their expensive gifts and adoration were playing to his ego but I felt that Alice with her blind devotion and steadfast loyalty was actually just as culpable. When Ed went missing and wasn’t answering his phone, she was repeatedly saying that situations were “unlikely” and “inconceivable” as she knew her husband so well that it was ridiculous to assume any wrong doing by him. In fact, I felt that she behaved far more like his mother than his wife with her unwavering conviction that she absolutely knew Ed 100% so that she wouldn’t even entertain the notion that he may be in the wrong! I felt so frustrated by her!
I also felt that while Alice maintained an undeviating almost maternal devotion to her husband, her relationship with her own children seemed forced and awkward as if they were on the periphery of their family. She didn’t seem to engage with them as I would have expected especially once the plot starts to unravel. It does become apparent once we meet Alice’s own mother why this may be but weirdly, for me, it didn’t make her more amiable but quite the opposite.
I think this storyline wouldn’t have worked half as well were it not for the absolutely beautiful, almost poetic, writing of T.A. Cotterell. I found myself almost hypnotised at times by his seductive prose as it flowed across the pages. His artistic knowledge also shone through along with his obvious passion for the arts and it gave his book an authenticity that lifted it for me. This book instigated such strong feelings of repugnance and frustration but it still had me rapidly turning the pages desperate to uncover the truth. And the least said about that ending the better!
It’s hard to believe that this is the author’s debut novel as he has such a confident, self assured style. He has set the bar high for himself in the future but I can’t wait to discover where he goes from here.
Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy of What Alice Knew.
What Alice Knew is published in e-book on 1st December and in paperback on 20th April 2017 and can be preordered on Amazon UK here.
Meet the author…
T. A. Cotterell read History of Art at Cambridge University. He worked in the City before resigning to become a freelance writer. He is now a writer and editor at the research house Redburn. He is married with three children and lives in Bristol.