“Everyone keeps telling me I have to move on. And so here I am, walking down the road where he died, trying to remember him the right way.
A year after her husband Zach’s death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place.
As she makes her way along the motorway, she thinks about their life together. She wonders whether she has changed since Zach died. She wonders if she will ever feel whole again.
At last she reaches the spot. And there, tied to a tree, is a bunch of lilies. The flowers are addressed to her husband. Someone has been there before her.
Lizzie loved Zach. She really did.
But she’s starting to realise she didn’t really know him.
Or what he was capable of…”
The story is laid out from two differing points of view. You have Lizzie’s narrative as she tries to come to terms with her husband’s death – made all the more difficult when she discovers flowers from a mysterious Xenia attached to the tree that his car crashed into a year previously – and her growing conviction that he isn’t dead after all.
In between this there are extracts from Zach’s diary during the time before he met Lizzie and their subsequent relationship and marriage.
Along the way we meet a number of other characters, including Lizzie’s police liaison Hannah Morrow, rising MP Alan Murphy and his wife Victoria (a friend of Zach’s from way back) and their daughter Onnie, who worms herself into Lizzie’s current life for reasons that take time to become clear.
There are lots of skeletons in various closets here. What was Zach really like? Who keeps playing his favourite Elvis Costello songs outside Lizzie’s house in the small hours? What is Onnie’s role? Will Lizzie ever be free of her feelings of guilt?… The whole thing is very cleverly put together to keep the reader guessing whilst remaining very realistic and all the more disturbing for that fact.
Towards the end of the book one of the characters says “…You can live in the same house, share the same bed, but how much do you ever really know anyone?” which I thought really gets to the heart of the tale in a simple sentence. This novel really takes that idea and runs with it, with the result being a very gripping and dark story. Highly recommended for fans of psychological thrillers…