Today it is my absolute pleasure to be joining the blog tour for the Night She Died by Jenny Blackhurst. A big thank you to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to join in and to publishers Headline for furnishing me with an advance copy of the book for review. As well as sharing my thoughts on the book, I have a fantastic extract to share with you all. First, let’s see what the book is all about.
About the Book
On her own wedding night, beautiful and complicated Evie White leaps off a cliff to her death.
What drove her to commit this terrible act? It’s left to her best friend and her husband to unravel the sinister mystery.
Following a twisted trail of clues leading to Evie’s darkest secrets, they begin to realize they never knew the real Evie at all…
The Night She Died
She stands on the edge of the cliff, long blonde hair fluttering behind her in the light breeze. Her feet under her floor-length gown are bare and grubby, and the grass beneath them is damp, but she doesn’t feel the cold. Gazing out across the dark, still water she is at peace. Evelyn doesn’t need to look down to know that the sea laps against jagged rocks at the foot of the cliff, she isn’t afraid of them. She has stood before this sea many times before. The waves know her name, know her story.
She lifts a hand to remove the veil from her face, the diamond tiara which once belonged to her mother, and her mother before that, falls to the floor without a sound. There is no noise up here, none except the whispering of the sea and that of her own breathing, slow and gentle.
Two figures are watching from the twilight shadows across the cliffs. They are further away than she would have liked, but the night is clear enough for them to make out her tall supple form, her fitted wedding gown. Close enough to identify her to her husband, too far to react when they realise her intentions. For now, for the next few seconds, she is a newlywed, taking time away from the intensity of her wedding day, escaping the music and the wine, the constant flow of congratulatory jokes about married life. They are lovers, enjoying their balmy evening stroll, imagining that one day their friends will gather to hear their vows, offer their congratulations to the bride, commiserations to the groom. As the woman lets go of her veil and watches it flutter towards the cliff edge she steps forward, confident and unhesitant, and hurls herself into the darkness. A few moments ago they were just lovers. Now they are witnesses.
What an opening right? Well if you think that was thrilling, you need to read the rest of the book because it is a cracker.
From the very beginning of this book I was pulled into the action. What on earth would cause a woman to throw herself from a cliff on her wedding night. The idea of the runaway bride is hardly a new one, but even by those standards, to kill yourself seems a little … well, drastic. What follows this shocking opening is a slow unraveling of the events which precede and follow that fateful night, and the story is twisted, surprising and full of so many secrets that you won’t know quite who to trust.
What I liked most about this book is the way in which the author developed the central characters of Evie and Rebecca. They are best friends and yet so contrasting in personality and background that you know they shouldn’t work. Evie is from a very well to do family but, as the author takes us, from Evie’s perspective, from her childhood right up to the present day, you come to realise that money cannot buy you happiness. Evie is a tortured soul but it takes time to find out why. In some respects I liked Evie, there being many qualities about her which were endearing and honourable. There were also times I wasn’t quite so keen, her actions questionable. But I always understood her. She was a very complex character who if I am honest, I’m still not entirely sure I know how I feel about.
Rebecca is an entirely different character, almost dwarfed by Evie’s presence and far too accommodating to all Evie’s wants and needs over her own. It is clear from the start of the book that she knows more about Evie’s decision to end her life than she is letting on, but as to what, you will have to read to find out as the secrets are all slowly exposed by the two women’s stories. There is the feeling of desperation on Rebecca’s behalf and I found myself on many occasions wishing she would be more forthright and stand up for herself but I could still warm to her. Jenny Blackhurst has made her as complex as Evie but in a much more subtle way and it was fun to watch her character grow and change before your eyes.
The story itself is surprising and full of tension and all the tangles that you might expect from a young girls as they grow up and learn the truth about the meaning of love, family and friendship. There was one element of the book which perhaps didn’t come as a big of a surprise as it should have but certainly there are so many questions which arose as I was reading, anyone of which could have made Evie do what she did. And the final revelation. Tell that’s a good ‘un and no mistake. I loved the slow build of the story towards that final reveal, the way in which you could feel that there was something not quite right and the confusion of guilt which plagued Rebecca. Also the obsessive nature of both Evie and Rebecca was built up perfectly, leading us to that inevitable conclusion. If there was only one person I truly felt for at the end, it was Evie’s husband Richard, caught in the crossfire of so many lies.
If you are looking a great psychological thriller, built around friendship and love, and with an air of obsession cloaked around it then definitely pick up this book. You won’t regret it.
If you would like a copy of the book it is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
JENNY BLACKHURST grew up in Shropshire where she still lives with her husband and children. Growing up she spent hours reading and talking about crime novels – writing her own seemed like natural progression. The night she died is Jenny’s fourth novel.
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