Today it is my great pleasure to be joining the blog tour for the latest novel from author S. E. Lynes, The Women. Thanks to Kim Nash from Bookouture for inviting me to join the tour and to the publisher for providing the advance copy for review. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
The night she moves in with Peter, she’s so happy, so exhilarated, so in love. Later, she will remember a much smaller feeling, a tiny one percent in her gut. And she will remember pushing that feeling aside…Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Google Play | Apple Books
Samantha Frayn doesn’t know why Peter Bridges picks her – a nobody with bitten fingernails and a troubled childhood behind her – but she falls quickly. He’s older, charming, likes fine wine and French films, and his beautiful home has real art on its walls.
Peter transforms Samantha’s life in an instant. He sees the better version of herself – the one she’s always wanted to be. It’s only normal that there’s a little friction, when she moves in, over domestic matters like where things are kept, or the proper times to eat, sleep and shower. She’s lucky to be with someone who can help her find a new job, move on from childish friends, and speak with greater sophistication.
But as Samantha notices, more and more, Peter’s temper, she starts to wonder if there might be consequences to breaking the rules of the world he has so quickly built around her.
And then she receives an anonymous note that makes her ask: is she the first woman to feel trapped by Peter? Is she being paranoid, manipulated, or could she be in danger?
You can tell the truth about your life, but someone needs to be listening. Someone needs to trust you. And someone needs to save you from the man you thought you loved.
The Women by S.E. Lynes, is a very clever, and very topical novel. Topical because of the central theme, one which may appear quite familiar to readers – the whole premise of the all too perfect partner who is perhaps anything but, and the blurb hints at a little of the truth that Sam is soon to discover about Peter. Clever because of the way in which it draws you in and catches you unawares. Everything is not as it appears and after the opening chapter where you start to get the inkling that there may be trouble is Sam’s all too new paradise, the author takes you back in time, setting the scene and bringing readers up to speed on how things come to pass.
Now I don’t want to say too much about the plot as it may well spoil the enjoyment of reading. What I will say though is that The Women is a kind of girl meets boy story. One in which love quickly blossoms but doesn’t necessarily always run smoothly. Only this is actually more scarcely more than girl meets full grown man as University student, Sam, falls for College Professor, Peter. And as you can probably guess from the title, she’s perhaps not the only one over the years to fall for his charms.
I’ll be honest, I did find the start of the story quite slow in pace whilst the book was properly scene setting. Those awkward moments of new love where Sam’s infatuation with Peter was almost gratingly naive and a little bit, well, tragic to be honest. Now I am one of the greatest cynics when it comes to romance and love at first sight, and it did seem that Sam was all too keen on Peter. As I read onward though I got to understand that there was far more to that than meets the eye, and all was not entirely as I’d been expecting. The author does a brilliant job here of keeping back snippets of information, dripping them into your subconscious and allowing them to percolate a little before giving you the rest of the ingredients to finish building that oh-my-god pie that will surely come.
When I look back at the book and what I’ve read, I have to take my hat off to Ms Lynes as it is very very clever. All of the things that annoyed me about the central character, Sam, are all the things that make this story quite authentic. I didn’t always like her and there were times when I wanted to pick her up and shake her, to demand she stop being so naive, so blind to Peter’s real character, and to take back control. But in truth, how often do we realise that this is exactly the kind of judgement thrown at all women in abusive or controlling relationships? Why doesn’t she stand up to him? Why didn’t she just leave? So astonishingly accurate to how these situations play out in the real world that you don’t even realise that you are reading something that could actually happen. That the lines between fiction and reality are very blurred.
Now there are some real moments of tension in the book too. A sense of threat caused by someone from Peter’s past which starts to undermine the relationship and to apply pressure to Sam in unforeseen ways. There are no end of suspects where this is concerned and although I had sussed the prime suspect a little earlier than I might have liked, I still enjoyed seeing my theory proved right. But the reasons behind what happened. Gah. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. For me, Peter was a charismatic guy, but exactly the kind of entitled, self-assured idiot that makes my hackles rise. The ones that put the ‘harm’ in ‘charm’. He instilled that reaction from the off, showing how well the author created the character, and there was no small amount of glee on my part as the story reached its conclusion.
If you love books focusing on twisted relationships, with a strong psychological edge, ones which blur the lines between fact and fiction, extremely well in this case, and which will keep you guessing right to the end, then this is going to be your kind of book. It kind of gave me that ‘First Wives Club’ vibe, maybe a touch of hell-hath-no-fury too, but in a compelling and twisted way that S.E. Lynes fans will love.
But if you’ve come here looking for a happy ending then turn away now. No Prince Charming here, just one bit fat toad …
About the Author
Amazon best selling author of ‘intelligent and haunting’ psychological thrillers VALENTINA, MOTHER, THE PACT and THE PROPOSAL. THE WOMEN out for pre-order NOW.
S E Lynes is a writer, tutor and mentor. Formerly a BBC producer, she has lived in France, Spain, Scotland, Italy, and now lives in Greater London with her husband, three kids and her dog, Lola.
After the birth of her third child, she completed an MA in creative writing from Kingston University. Her critically acclaimed debut, VALENTINA, was published by Blackbird Digital Books in July 2016. Her second novel, MOTHER was published by Bookouture in 2017, followed by THE PACT and THE PROPOSAL in 2018. In August 2018, VALENTINA was published in a new edition by Bookouture.
Susie Lynes has also published two children’s books in Italy: Il Leopardo Lampo and La Coccodrilla Ingamba, both available at Amazon.it