When the book opens, Chris Lucas wakes up in bed beside an older man. Confused, she stumbles into the bathroom and looks into the mirror. What she sees there gives her a turn - the woman in the mirror is at least twenty years older than Chris. Then she sees the photos - her and the man in the bed, her alone, just the man - all with notes pointing to them. "This is your husband Ben", says one.
When Ben wakes, he explains (again) that she had an accident when she was 29 that left her with a brain injury. She can retain information only during the span she is awake. Once she goes to sleep, her memories are somehow wiped away.
When Ben leaves for work, Chris receives a telephone call from a Dr. Nash, a neuropsychologist that she has apparently been seeing without Ben's knowledge. He usually calls to tell her to get the journal she has been keeping out of it's hiding place in the closet. When she sees him, he returns her journal, which she let him read the day before. Written in her hand in the front of her journal are the words "Don't Trust Ben".
Thus begins the journey into Chris's confusing life, where each day shapes new memories that are lost the next day. Writing in and reading her journal every day give her at least a tentative grasp on her life. As she re-learns her life every morning, memories (or are they dream fragments?) start to surface, floating and illusory. As a reader pulled into Chris's bewildering situation, I felt a tense sense of foreboding. There IS more than meets the eye in Chris's situation, and I was right beside her, trying to figure out who could be trusted and who could not. Which memories are real and which are just hopes of memories? Why does she not have any memory of the car accident that supposedly resulted in her injury, but DOES have flashes of an attack in a hotel room involving beating and near-drowning? Is her husband lying about some things only to spare her or does he have a darker motivation?
This is a truly gripping page-turner. I almost find it unbelievable that it is a debut novel, it is so tautly-drawn. I actually could NOT put this one down unless absolutely necessary. A wonderful thriller with a combination of family drama, mystery, and suspense, it is a book that will pull you in and leave your head spinning as everything starts to come together.
"We've been meeting over the last few weeks. A couple of times a week, give or take."
It does not seem possible. Another person I see regularly who has left no impression on me whatsoever.
But I've never met you before, I want to say. You could be anyone.
I say nothing. The same could be said of the man I woke up with this morning, and he turned out to be my husband.
Will I still wake up, in my seventies or eighties, thinking myself to be at the beginning of my life? Will I wake with no idea that my bones are old, my joints stiff and heavy? I cannot imagine how I will cope when I discover that my life is behind me, has already happened, and I have nothing to show for it.
Maybe, unlike today, Dr. Nash did not call, and I did not find this journal. Or perhaps he did but I chose not to read it. I feel a chill. What would happen if one day he decides never to call again? I would never find it, never read it, never even know it existed. I would not know my past.show more
by Julie Smith