I am so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for Behind Her Eyes today-this book was in my top reads for last year and I’m sure it will top many “Top 2017 Lists” this year. I’m sharing my review again plus an extract
About this book…
Don’t Trust This Book
Don’t Trust These People
Don’t Trust Yourself
And whatever you do, DON’T give away that ending…
‘Sarah Pinborough is about to become your new obsession’ Harlan Coben
Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets…
Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife…
Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise’s new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her.
But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks… Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears?
Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?
“This will cheer you up.” She pulls a joint out of the top pocket of her red corduroy jacket. “Trust me, you’ll find every thing funnier once we’re baked.” She sees the reluctance on my face and grins. ” Come on, Lou. It’s a special occasion. You’ve excelled yourself. Snogged your new married boss. This is genius. I should get someone to write the film. I could play you.”
“Good.” I say. ” I’ll need the money when I’m fired.” I can’t fight Sophie, and I don’t want to, and soon we are sitting out in the small balcony of my tiny flat, wine, crisps, and cigarettes at our feet, passing the weed between us, giggling.
Unlike Sophie, who somehow remains half-teenager, getting high is not in anyway part of my normal routine -there isn’t the time or the money when you are on your own-but laughter beats crying anytime, and I suck in a lungful of sweet, forbidden smoke.
“It could only happen to you.” she says. ” You hid? ”
I nod, smiling at the comedy of the memory imagined through someone else’s eyes. “I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I dived into the toilet and stayed there. When I came out, he’d gone. He doesn’t start until tomorrow. He was getting the full tour from Dr Sykes.”
” With his wife. ”
“Yep, with his wife.” I remember how good they looked together in that brief, awful moment of realisation. A beautiful couple.
“How long did you stay in the toilet for?”
” Twenty minutes. ”
There’s a pause, and then we both have the giggles, wine and weed buzzing our heads, and for a little while we can’t stop.
“I wish I could have seen your face.” Sophie says.
“Yeah, well I’m not looking forward to seeing his face when he sees my face.”
Sophie shrugs. “He’s the married one. It’s his shame. He can’t say anything to you.”
She absolves me of my guilt, but I can still feel it clinging, along with the shock. The gut punch of the woman I’d glimpsed by his side before I dashed into hiding. His beautiful wife. Elegant. Dark -haired and olive-skinned in an Angelina Jolie way. That kind of mystery about her. Exceptionally thin. The opposite of me. The snapshot of her is burned into my brain. I couldn’t imagine her ever panicking and hiding in a toilet from anyone. It stung in a way it shouldn’t have, not after one drunken afternoon, and not only because my confidence has reached rock bottom.
The thing is, I’d liked him-really liked him. I can’t tell Sophie about that. How I hadn’t talked to anyone like that in a long time. How happy I’d felt to be flirting with someone who was flirting back, and how I’d forgotten how great that excitement of something potentially new was. My life is, as a rule, a blur of endless routine. I get Adam up and take him to school. If I’m working and want to start early, he goes to breakfast club. If I’m not working, I may spend an hour or so browsing charity shops for designer cast-offs that will fit the clinic’s subtly expensive look. Then its just cooking, cleaning, shopping, until Adam comes home, and then it’s homework, tea, bath, story, bed for him and wine and bad sleep for me. When he goes to his dad’s for a weekend I’m too tired to do anything much other than lie in and then watch crap TV. The idea that this could be my life until Adam’s at least fifteen or so quietly terrifies me, so I don’t think about it. But then meeting the man-in-the-bar made me realise how good it was to feel something. As a woman, it made me feel alive. I’d even thought about going back to that bar and seeing if he’d turned up to find me. But, of course, life isn’t a romcom. And he’s married. And I’ve been an idiot. I’m not bitter, merely sad. I can’t tell Sophie any of these things because then she’d feel sorry for me, and I don’t want that, and it’s easier to find it all funny. It is funny. And it’s not like I sit at home bemoaning my singledom every night, as if no-one could ever be complete without a man. In the main, I’m pretty happy. I’m a grown-up. I could have it way worse. This was one mistake. I have to deal with it.
I scoop up a handful of Doritos and Sophie does the same.
“Curves are the new thin,” we say in unison, before cramming the crisps into our mouths and nearly choking as we laugh again. I think about me hiding in the toilet from him, full of panic and disbelief. It is funny. Everything is funny. It might be less funny tomorrow morning when I have to face the music, but for now I laugh. If you can’t laugh at your own fuck-ups, what can you laugh at?
“Why do you do it?” I say later, when the bottle of wine is empty between us and the evening is drawing to a close. “Have affairs? Aren’t you happy with Jay?”
” Of course I am. ” Sophie says “I love him. It’s not like I’m out doing it all the time.”
This is probably true. She’s an actress; she exaggerates for the sake of a story sometimes.
“But why do it at all?” Strangely, it’s not something we’ve really talked about that much. She knows I’m uncomfortable with it, not because she does it-that’s her business -but because I know and like Jay. He’s good for her Without him, she’d be screwed. As it were.
” I have a higher sex drive than he does, ” she says, eventually. “And sex isn’t what marriage is about anyway. It’s about being with your best friend. Jay’s my best friend. But we’ve been together fifteen years. Lust can’t maintain itself. I mean, we still do it, sometimes, but it’s not like it was, and having a child changes things. You spend so many years seeing each other as parents rather than lovers, its hard to get that passion back.”
I think of my own short-lived marriage. The lust didn’t die with us. But that didn’t stop him leaving after four years to be with someone else when our son was barely two years old. Maybe she has a point. I don’t think I ever saw my ex, Ian, as my best friend
“It just seems a bit sad to me.” And it does.
” That’s because you believe in true love and happy ever after in a fairy tale way. That’s not how life is. ”
“Do you think he’s ever cheated on you?” I ask.
” He’s definitely had his flirtations, ” she says “There was a singer he worked with a long time ago. I think maybe they had a thing for a while. But whatever it was, it didn’t affect us. Not really”
She makes it sound so reasonable. All I can think of is the pain of betrayal I felt when Ian left. How what he did affected how I saw myself. How worthless I felt in those early days. How ugly. The short-lived romance he left me for didn’t last either, but that didn’t make me feel any better.
“I don’t think I’ll ever understand it,” I say.
” Everyone has secrets , Lou, ” she says. “Everyone should be allowed their secrets. You can never know everything about a person. You’d go mad trying to.”
And you can read my 5* review of the amazing Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough here!