Happy Monday! I couldn’t be happier to kick off the blog tour for The Perfect Betrayal with my friend Shalini, who writes wonderful reviews!
I would like to thank Emma @damppebbletours for inviting me to be part of this tour and sending me a copy of the novel.
Title: The Perfect Betrayal
Author: Lauren North
Publisher: Transworld Books
Date of publication: March 2019
Format: NetGalley copy
Number of pages: 356
After the sudden death of her husband, Tess is drowning in grief. All she has left is her son, Jamie, and she’ll do anything to protect him – but she’s struggling to cope.
When grief counsellor Shelley knocks on their door, everything changes. Shelley is understanding and kind, and promises she can help Tess through the hardest time of her life.
But when a string of unsettling events happens and questions arise over her husband’s death, Tess starts to suspect that Shelley may have an ulterior motive. Tess knows she must do everything she can to keep Jamie safe – but she’s at her most vulnerable, and that’s a dangerous place to be.
If you’re feeling the psychological thriller genre is flooded and that all books sound the same, grab your copy of The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North. The author will prove you that there is still a lot of ground to cover!
Psychological thrillers are my drug. Others enjoy coffee, some can’t go through a day without a cigarette, all of us need air. I can’t imagine my life without novels making me check twice if the door is really locked or hide a little more under the cover before holding my breath while a character is going through some kind of hell. The problem with such addictions is that you devour all books available. Sooner or later, you recognize patterns, you can see twists coming, and you become pickier, more difficult to surprise. That’s when you need a hurricane to clean up the air and make room for some spicy, astounding action!
The Perfect Betrayal is built around grief. Tess is trying to cope with the death of her husband and makes her son Jaimie the center of her world. But the weight of their loss wraps Tess in a tight fog, spurring her to cut herself from family and old friends. The author beautifully captures the impact of grief and loss on a family.
Page one, Tess is in a hospital. The day before was her son’s birthday. The reader and main character have no idea where Jaimie is. I was confused and intrigued. Right that moment, I knew I was dealing with a strong plot. Then I noticed the timeline brought me back to weeks before Jaimie’s birthday, with Tess going through the motions of learning how to be a widow and a single mom. I immediately felt for her and I was more than happy when a grief counselor appeared in the picture. Shelley, with a heavy background herself, wants to help. Quickly, she becomes irreplaceable and Tess relies on her more and more as days go by. Shelley becomes a wall between Tess and the rest of the world. Now, as the ever-suspicious reader I am, I started to wonder if this relationship was really healthy. Turning your back on your family to entrust your heart, soul, and thoughts to a woman you turned out at your door one day sounds a bit reckless! How come Shelley is always at the right place at the right time? Re-reading my review, it is clear I am becoming more paranoid with each good psychological thriller I read!!!
Back to the point! As chapters bring us closer and closer to the day Tess found herself in the hospital room, a threatening cloud hangs over her and her son. Something is wrong. What happened?? Where is her son? Why is she in hospital? Like small drops slowly falling on your window panes, the author scatters hints and brings shadow to the picture. One of those shadows is Ian, Tess’ late husband’s brother. Ian comes with news… Mark owned him money. And suddenly, Tess helplessly witnesses her world grow even darker. Was her husband hiding secrets from her? As bad news never comes alone, creepy and unsettling things begin to happen, sending Tess’s world spinning. Anonymous calls, memory loss. Is Tess losing grip on reality? If you love unreliable character, welcome Tess to your world! I painted everything I was told through her eyes with a light layer of gray, not knowing what to trust, sensing the tiniest piece of information was vital, feeling I was missing something.
Truth is, I was actually missing something. Something big. Something I was not expecting. This is the moment I unleash the ‘amazing twist’ / ‘OMG moment’ / ‘magnificent and explosive climax’ propaganda. All the above applies. Yet, they are not strong enough to convey how unexpected and superbly refreshing the ending was! Imagine spending hours with a character, getting closer to her, rooting for her, grieving with her, getting the chilling vibes, fearing for her life, only to find yourself alone and naked at the end of the journey! I remember thinking ‘What on earth just happened????’ I considered going back all the way to the start to understand why I hadn’t seen the big finale coming. But Lauren North is a master storyteller and there is no point in dissecting the novel, you won’t find any flaw.
Flawless indeed. Flawless and taut, The Perfect Betrayal had the seasoned reader I am at a complete loss and I just loved it! This novel has the power to take you by surprise and delivers an ingenious, bitter, and stunning ending.
Do yourself a favor, buy what is for me one of the intelligent and cracking psychological thrillers of the moment!
Please follow the blog tour for amazing reviews of The Perfect Betrayal!!
Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years.
She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.