Author: Renée Knight
Genres: Contemporary | Mystery | Thriller
Length: 304 pages | 3454 locations
A woman finds a book on her bedside table, after having recently moved to a new house with her husband.
As she starts reading, she notices the story is very familiar. It’s about her, and a secret she has struggled hard to keep for 20 years.
It makes no sense that such a book would exist, since everyone who knew about said secret is dead.
Who could have written it? What do they want from Catherine? To crush her reputation? Her life?
Let me get this out of the way from the start: Disclaimer is a thoroughly mesmerizing, insanely gripping psychological thriller. Were it not for real life responsibilities, I would have devoured in one sitting.
The book features two narrators: Catherine, married to Robert, who we learn has a terrible secret no one living knows about; and Stephen, a retired English teacher still mourning the passing of his wife. Catherine’s chapters are from present day and narrated in third person, while Stephen’s start two years earlier and are written in first person.
I appreciated that difference in speech form. It brought a new dimension to the story.
At first, they seem to be complete strangers, with no tangible connection and it is up to us, as much as Catherine, to find out how their lives are linked.
From the start, the book gripped me, though I was not completely immersed at once. You see, when I first started reading the book, I thought both the characters’ spouses were described as being too perfect. They were all so nice and supportive of our refreshingly flawed protagonists.
Then I found myself progressively absorbed by the story. The main characters in particular were very well developed, in my opinion, with all sorts of dimensions to them. Just when you think you knew them, new layers were unveiled, and you never get the whole picture until the very end.
It makes perfect sense that they are British and I absolutely loved the London setting. Maybe I am wrong, but british people have always struck me as folks who do not really talk about their feelings much.
The writing was easy and fluid, but had depth. At no point did I feel I was being told something instead of shown. I was in the story, just as much as each character.
I can tell why it would bore some people though, especially since certain episodes are repeated from a different angle or point of view, but I for one was completely enthralled.
It is obvious that the writer took great care in the way she described the events, because sequences I thought had a certain meaning turned out to have an entirely different one. It is just one of those books which, as soon as you finish, you want to reread bearing in mind the revelations made. And it’s just what I did, I reread a section in particular in which I had been sure there had been a mistake but nope, it was just written to point the reader in a direction, but didn’t outright say it was that. This happened on a few occasions and blew my mind.
Since I read the book in every free moment I got, I did not stop to take notes. So although I know it was not 100% perfect, sadly I cannot point any flaws.
The story carried me away, I had no control whatsoever. I could actually not really focus on other matters, especially after the second half. The plot twists left me dumbfounded and I was like… Huh?? No way! How is that possible? Why didn’t she… Why did he… And the parents… And the son… And their son… No way!!… And all that all over again.
Yeah, I really cannot say much without spoiling it, I’m sorry. I can tell you however how the book made me feel: sad, shocked, angry, nostalgic, surprised, disgusted and so much more. I thought the bits with Catherine’s mom were so sadly endearing, for instance. But there is more, much more to this book.
I think that is one of the marks of a truly wonderful book: it makes you feel, both during and after you’re done with it.
I hope I have convinced you to get this amazing work of fiction by any means necessary. Trust me, I thought I would not enjoy it nearly as much as I did, since due to all the hype around it I set high expectations. But I was very pleasantly surprised, and I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Oh and the cover is just perfect.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Read from Jun 10 to Jun 12, 2015