Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on Save Her, the latest psychological thriller from Abigail Osborne. It’s a book I’ve known about for a very long time and one that’s sat in my tbr for far too long to be honest. My thanks to the author who kindly sent me a copy of the book for my collection. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Would you give up your husband to save your best friend’s life?
Bonded by their traumatic childhoods, Flora and Sophie are inseparable friends who married brothers.
What they could not have anticipated was their mother-in-law, Cecelia. Disappointed that her children have married beneath them, Cecelia takes every opportunity to belittle and taunt her daughters-in-law.
When Cecelia learns that Flora and her son are moving away, her wrath escalates, and Flora’s world begins to fall apart.
Meanwhile, Sophie’s life is also crumbling around her. Her marriage is not what it seems, and she is desperate to escape the clutches of the poisonous family she has married into.
Is Flora being tormented or is she losing her mind?
Will Sophie and Flora be forced to leave their husbands in order to survive?
With a mother-in-law like Cecelia, anything is possible…
Now, when I said before that I’ve known about this book for a very long time, I mean a very long time. I was there in the early days of its inception, back when. Flora and Sophie were just a spark in the author’s imagination and before she thought of all the new and delightfully torturous ways in which to make her character’s life hell. I like to think it was our highly unproductive trip spent mostly watching garden birds where one the books most stomach churning scenes was cooked up, but really, I think that Abigail Osborne is just far more twisted than her sunny personality might suggest. I never really had an issue with the common worm before, but now …
This is the story of best friends, Flora and Sophie. They live next door to one another, married to brothers, careers they love, and, all in all, are living the perfect life. But is there any such thing as the perfect life? Well, rest assured if there is, you won’t it here because beneath the shiny veneer of their (almost) idyllic existence, there is something dark and warped just waiting to be exposed, and as the novel progresses the author chips away at the gloss, and shows us the growing rot beneath. From an over protective and critical mother-in-law, for whom neither of the women can seem to do anything right, through to a marriage which is a lot less stable than one of the friends every realised, this is a story of toxic relationships taken right to the edge. Twisted, unsettling and with a constant sense of threat, we watch as Flora slowly becomes a target of an unknown foe, one for whom it seems nothing is off limits.
I love the way in which. Abigail Osborne has explored the different relationships within this book. We look at the whole family dynamic from many different angles. Best friends to best friend, husband to wife, mother to son, and in-law to in-law. Marriage may have made Flora and Sophie family but their friendships stems from something much deeper, something that is slowly revealed as the story moves on and we are treated to moments from their past which explains why their bond is so unassailable. Then there are the relationships between the two women and their husbands. Both pairs are like chalk and cheese, one very corporate and almost cold in their determination, the other loving and open and a knife in the guts of mother in law, Cecelia. If there is a more dislikeable woman, I’m struggling to think of them right now. She is so disparaging, so barbed in her every comment with most of her vitriol directed towards Flora who dared to ensnare her precious youngest son. There is no love at all there and you can almost feel the temperature drop a few degrees in every scene she appears. But then it seems the whole family is nursing a host of secrets and that money, which Flora and Sophie’s family has by the bucket load, really cannot buy happiness.
This is a really twisted tale, a story in which slowly but surely we see Flora being mentally tortured and broken. The only thing I was certain of is that she was not imagining all the strange things that happened to her. As to who could be targeting her so clearly and what their end game was, well the list of suspects is longer than you might expect. There are the obvious ones, and as certain scenes played out I had to smile as I can recall the situations that may have inspired them. But there are plenty of scenes to make you grimace (worms) and scenes that have your heart pumping with the tension really ramping up. Sophie tries her best to protect Flora, but as we soon learn, her life is far from perfect either. They have a really strong bond and the author has done a great job of portraying the understanding and trust that can only come from a pair who know each other so well. Whether that is enough to ultimately save Flora … Well you’ll need to read to find out. Certainly, although as readers we know, well before Flora, where the story is going, there are still surprises to be sprung and the tension really doesn’t let up to the last page.
A great, twisted and well paced psychological thriller that really holds your attention right to the end. Abigail Osborne is really showing a skill for looking at complicated relationships in a way that made me both smile and frown (sometimes grimace) in equal measure, but always in the best of ways.
About the Author
Abigail is originally from the Lake District but moved to the West Midlands for University where she completed an English Literature & History degree and also met her husband. She is a passionate reader and has an unsustainable collection of books. This obsession with books has led to her creating her own Dewey decimal system and she has been known to issue fines to family and friends if her book is not returned on time. ‘The Puppet Master’ is Abigail’s debut novel and has unleashed a passion for writing. When not writing or reading Abigail is usually playing her violin or hiding from her much too energetic cats. She also works as a Needs Assessor for disabled university students in the West Midlands.
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