Wednesday 6 December 2017

Clare Reviews: Close to Me by Amanda Reynolds

Close To MeTitle: Close to Me
Author: Amanda Reynolds
Format: Paperback
Source: Received for an honest review
Pages: 384
Rating: 4/5
Blurb: She can't remember the last year. Her husband wants to keep it that way.
When Jo Harding falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in hospital with partial amnesia-she's lost a whole year of memories. A lot can happen in a year. Was Jo having an affair? Lying to her family? Starting a new life?
She can't remember what she did-or what happened the night she fell. But she's beginning to realise she might not be as good a wife and mother as she thought.

There were aspects of Close to Me that I really liked. The memory loss plot-line is always a draw for me. I have memory loss and I thought Reynolds did it really well. The sense of frustration and helplessness at having to depend on other people's accounts or photographs to know what happened. Jo wasn't always my favourite character - I wanted her to be tougher - but she was at her most likable when she stood up to anyone trying to hide the past from her.

In Close to Me we have a host of truly unlikable side characters. Rob, of course, is the main one. There is a real sense of unease around him from the start - he seems so controlling, trying even to control the truth and as the book goes on I just hated him more and more. There are times when he seems like a nice enough person but then he'd do or say something that made me so mad!! (Feminism is GOOD, and people who complain about it are going right on my bad side). All the characters were fairly nuanced though. Thomas was sometimes on the right moral side and (more often) really, really not. He struck me as the sort of person who likes to say what's right and tell other people they're wrong but is actually a pretty mean guy. Sash and Fin were a bit bland if I'm honest. They didn't appear in the story much and never had much of an impact on the overall plot so I sometimes forgot they even existed.

The plot was... ok. Honestly I am the sort of thriller reader who wants to be surprised at least a few times during the book. And that just didn't happen here. So much of the truth can be inferred or guessed very early on. Jo's memory loss doesn't even pose much of an issue here because, aside from her slight instincts or remembrances, we also get alternating chapters set before she lost her memory. Whilst these don't reveal everything and often leave much open to interpretation, they do provide enough of a hint that you will have figured out the ending (or is that beginning?) by the halfway point. 

So this isn't the sort of thriller you read to be surprised. But if you want something a little quieter with some realistic grey characters then maybe give this a chance. I'll be keeping an eye out for whatever Amanda Reynolds may write next! 

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I haven't read this book but it sounds interesting.