What Alice Knew by T.A. Cotterell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
How far would you go to keep a secret?
Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.
Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?
Sometimes it’s better not to know.
I didn't really enjoy this book. It promised so much and delivered so little. The writing was good and the story line could have had good mileage but I felt the author's characters were flat and unrealistic and he asked the reader to accept some scenarios that really were not believable.
It's essentially about a murder that takes place early on in the novel and the rest is how those involved find their lives changed forever and tests loyalty against truth and justice. There is a heavy slant on art as Alice is a celebrated portrait artist (the author studied Art History at university) and it seems she spends her time comparing and contrasting events to fit in with artistic views of seeing deeper into the canvas of life/humanity and bases her views and judgements accordingly.
I skim read a lot of this book so that I could pass irrelevant annoying passages to try and get to the nitty gritty of the novel although there was none really. It became as much about Alice atoning for mistakenly accusing her best friend of theft and ruining her life and her striving for perfection as it did about an unfortunate accident involving her husband and how it changed their lives. The author had so much to work with but he just didn't deliver.
I didn't like Alice or any of the characters; she came across as selfish and self possessed, the author made much of her love of her family and concern for their well-being but in truth she spent little time with them being self absorbed in her painting and seeing little around her. I didn't like Ed who was also wrapped up in his work as an obstetrician and more concerned with his reputation and social standing than his wife and family. Both the characters were under developed and lacked any qualities that would create a connection to the reader (or indeed a credible connection to each other) or invoke empathy. Random sub plot of Alice's family and that of her school days didn't do anything to lift this rather boring novel. It poses the question of how far would you go to protect someone you love but really falls short on reality. The ending was in my opinion just not believable especially since Ed gets off scot-free and it begs the question why she feels she has to become the victim in all this, her action even at the end is not selfless to protect those she loves it comes across as someone who wants to be seen as a martyr.
Really didn't like this one at all and can only give it 2 star rating.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.