Tag Archives: domestic noir

His Perfect Wife by Natasha Bell – a review BLOG TOUR

His Perfect Wife follows artist Alex who lives a perfect life with her husband Marc and their two children in York. When she goes missing, at first it’s thought to be an abduction, until her clothing and belongings are found near the riverbank and the police think it’s a murder case. However, Alex hasn’t died, she is being kept against her will far away from her family. Marc is determined to find out what has happened to his wife, even though it means uncovering secrets proving he didn’t really know her at all.

Told from the point of view of Alex, the story switches backwards and forwards between the past and present. Alex imagines the scenes at home after she has gone, alongside replaying how her and Marc met and built their life together. We also find out about Alex’s previous and rather exciting life as a performance artist in New York via letters from her former roommate. These letters show a slightly different side of our perfect wife, who gave up a glamourous career to be with the man she loved.

This was an interesting take on the domestic set novel that I really enjoyed. Clearly you know that the perfect marriage portrayed at the start is going to start tumbling down as soon as Marc starts investigating. Yet the way this pans out led to an ending I did not see coming and actually made me re-read some chapters to see what I had missed.

The character of Alex is frankly annoying from the start which did make the reading a little uncomfortable at times as you know you should feel sorry for her but it’s a struggle. Yet despite not feeling sorry for her the story kept me gripped. I was a little disappointed that the setting of York didn’t make more of an appearance. Although you knew it was set in the city as it said so, it could have really been in any city with a river, but that is probably because I am a bit biased.

I’m not sure how true to life this is, without wishing to give away any spoilers there are certain parts that just would not be possible. Yet as I always say with fiction you can get away with stretching boundaries somewhat. Overall it was an easy enjoyable story that I thought had a clever twist.

Thanks to Penguin Random house for my copy of His Perfect Wife. Available here.

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the blog tour to find out more.


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Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent – a review

I have seen some good reviews of this early last year so decided to treat myself to a copy to pass the time of a train trip over to Manchester.

The book opens with Alice in a coma after her husband Oliver has savagely beaten her.  It’s an act that has shocked everyone as from the outside it seemed they had the perfect life. Oliver was a very successful children’s book author and Alice was the illustrator that brought the books to life. It is from this point after the brutal attack that we begin to go back through Oliver’s life and find out about his childhood and the people he has met along the way. We are also introduced to the other characters in the novel all of whom have their own personal views of Oliver which we are gradually privy to.

I thought this was a great story that I sped through. It does seem at the moment that I’m reading a lot of ‘behind the scenes of a marriage’ styles of book, which this clearly follows. However this was a different take on the theme, focusing as it does on Oliver and his past. Whilst I can’t bring myself to say I actually felt sympathy for him, there were moments when you do feel empathy as he had clearly had a terrible life.

The other characters within the book were interesting although I must confess to being impatient to get back to Oliver a lot of the time. The dynamics of the different characters seemed to work well, and as the stories began to emerge you become more drawn in. It was very well written and I thought the title was very apt. It really did show the unravelling of a person’s personality and how the different strands all interweave to make a whole. Again it brings up the idea of nature versus nurture, was Oliver born bad or was he made that way?

This was a really good novel that is an excellent debut from a clearly talented author. I look forward to reading more from Liz Nugent.


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