This is an interesting story about how people cope with problems or anxiety, in this case it is a woman in her thirties. She does manage to find someone who appears to be the perfect man, but he's a bit too good to be true and his flat is a bit too small. So she drifts off into a fantasy world where she creates another persona and, in character, views big houses that fit in with her idea of the perfect life.
This would be a good idea but it is very similar to a character who appeared in the television series Breaking Bad. In the programme and in this book, the women take a souvenir from each house they visit. The undoing here is that the owner of one of the dream houses is found dead and the house viewer (the protagonist) is arrested on suspicion of his murder. This links to the second fantasy: the childhood world created by the dead man, who was the author of a popular series of children's books, which the protagonist loved as a child. This is reminiscent of A.A. Milne's stories about Christopher Robin and the Hundred Acre Wood.
The story is told in the first person, which gives the impression of an unreliable narrator as she tells her tale via two timelines. I like how it is from her perspective as it's easy to see the transition from a healthy well balanced woman to the disturbed individual she becomes. Fear, paranoia, helplessness and confusion take over in this tale of suspense, albeit rather slowly. For the majority of the book the domestic story runs alongside the house visiting side and murder plot line as two separate stories that actually are not connected. I was intrigued by the house viewing fantasy and the book would have benefited if that was the main focus instead of the domestic side - relationships of this type are plentiful. There are a couple of far-fetched aspects but this is quite a good read once it gets going.
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Published by Penguin on 5 August 2021.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.
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