Title: I Made a Mistake
Author: Jane Corry
Publisher: Penguin Books
Date of publication: May 28th 2020
Format reviewed: paperback
Number of pages: 464
YOU DIDN’T MEAN TO DO IT.
IT WAS ONLY ONCE.
BUT NOW HE’S DEAD, AND SOMEONE HAS TO PAY . . .
The darkly addictive new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of I Looked Away, Blood Sisters and My Husband’s Wife.
In Poppy Page’s mind, there are two types of women in this world: those who are faithful to their husbands, and those who are not. Until now, Poppy has never questioned which she was.
But when handsome, charming Matthew Gordon walks back into her life after almost two decades, that changes. Poppy makes a single mistake – and that mistake will be far more dangerous than she could imagine.
Someone is going to pay for it with their life . . .
As a long-time fan of Jane Corry, I was ecstatic when I received a copy of I Made a Mistake. A woman makes a mistake and sees her life changed forever? I say yes, please!
Poppy has a good life. A husband, two teenager girls, her own business, and a lovely mother-in-law (that doesn’t happen often!) But Poppy has reached a plateau. Things are going well, but the passing of time has taken its toll on her dreams, her aspirations, and her marriage. Mid-life crisis? I often associate it with men. The great new car / mistress / a renewed gym membership / a terrible hairstyle. But women also fall under the spell of what-ifs, what-am-I-doing-here?, is-this-my-life?
Poppy doesn’t realize it until she stumbles upon an old acquaintance. Matthew Gordon makes a movie-star appearance and shakes Poppy’s life foundation. The rush of memories, old feelings, and her current state of mind surprises her. But Poppy is not one to let her heart take over. Why should her life change because her first love is back in town?
Unfortunately for her, a series of events lead her down a dangerous road, until one day, she crosses the boundary. Riddled with guilt, that split moment of craziness will send her to hell, because that’s all it takes!
Oh, the guilt! Poppy is a lovely character. She is pulled in so many directions! She feels the pressure of being a good mother, present for her girls, a successful business woman, a caring daughter, and a loving wife. Does it leave room to be just Poppy? Not really. I can relate, and I know so many women will, too. Not enough hours in the day and so many places to be.
Her mistake acts as a wake-up call. Her life is not boring, it is hers, it is safe and there is love behind the routine and chores. Jane Corry reminds us once again that sometimes we want more, but we already have everything we need. Poppy is not greedy, she simply wants her husband to look at her again, she wants her daughters to talk to her and be kind to each other. She wants her dad to be okay. She wants her company to thrive.
But Matthew Gordon has other plans. Watching Poppy’s life unravel was terrible. I wanted to hold out my hand and grab hers to pull her back up but I couldn’t! The author has a knack for giving life to characters who you really become invested in.
The same happened with Betty. Betty the amazing mother-in-law living with her grown-up son Stuart and his wife Poppy. Betty’s chapters talked about a different time, when women were expected to please their husband, never make a fuss, and make sure there’s a meal on the table every night. Wait, do you think we’ve so far from it now? Yes, things have changed. As Betty’s narration’s shows, women have gained freedom thanks to their strength and cleverness. But what I learned from her was that things change but evolving takes experience. It is what we take from what we go through that allow us to move forward… or live with ghosts.
While Betty’s life appeared in front of my eyes, Poppy’s was unravelling. The bond between the two women is superb and rich, and made the reading even more powerful. I couldn’t have imagined how deep the love and understanding between them ran, and this is probably what I loved the most. We all wish we had a Betty to see us, walk with us, and keep and open mind and heart.
In I Made a Mistake, Jane Corry challenges the image of perfection requested from us by society. We make mistakes, all of us. Thankfully, most of ours are not deadly! But the message behind Poppy’s story is that a mistake doesn’t mean the end of the story. There are still chapters to write afterwards and those blank pages are crucial.
I don’t know how she does it, but the author keeps me on my toes with a tension that has nothing to do with guns, big threats, or whatever. Her words are sometimes heavy as lead, and they weight on the characters so much that the reader has no choice but to carry it with them. The tension is domestic. A storm of angst. A hurricane of emotions that are so familiar that reading her story ignites all sorts of reactions in us. I love this ‘this could be me’ feeling. I relish in nearing the edge of life through Jane Corry’s deep and authentic novels.
Did I mention my stomach was in knots because I needed Poppy’s family to be okay?? Don’t think you can escape the noir suspense of this thriller. The taut atmosphere and the questions hanging over each character’s head will keep you turning the pages. As for the end…Just how I like them. Real. Exposing flaws and feelings. Revealing the naked truth through the glasses of subjectivity. A sparkle of this ‘X-factor’ that leaves you closing the book with a smile on your face.
You can grab your copy here!
My thanks to Ellie at Penguin Books for inviting me to be part of the Bookstagram tour. My review was too long for Instagram, so I’m sharing it here too!
You can find my reviews of Jane’s other books here: