Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Narrator: Anna Bentinck, Bea Holland, Huw Parmenter, Josie Dunn
Also by this author: Poison
Published by Flatiron Books, Macmillan Audio on January 31st 2017
Why is everyone talking about the ending of Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes?
Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
Captivating from the very first page, Behind Her Eyes is a story that I just could not put down. I *had* to know what happened next, and puzzle together the mysteries that were unfolding. I was addicted in the best possible way to the characters and stories, craving answers with each turn of the page.
A large part of the beauty of this story is the mysteriousness of everything, so I won’t go into too much plot detail. I will briefly mention the Louise (the main POV) is a single mom, who may not be perfect, but I found to be very likable. She works hard to give her son everything he needs and her world pretty much consists of him and her work. But, when she meets a man and feels a connection, she is excited. It feels good to have someone look at her that way again, and make her feel that excitement of a first kiss with someone new.
Little did she know, that encounter would impact her life in major ways, and not necessarily in the picturesque way one might fantasize about. When she gets to work the next day and meets her new boss, she is shocked to see it is the same man that she had met. She was even more surprised to see his stunningly beautiful wife, Adele. Then later, a seemingly chance encounter with Adele is at first uncomfortable, but somehow, the two become friends.
Louise’s life quickly becomes entangled with both David and Adele. They each bring her happiness and have their own ways of filling the voids in her life. She is stuck in this position of knowing she should not secretly be spending time with each of them, but giving up one or both of them feels like a sacrifice. She genuinely enjoys spending time with both, even is she knows it is wrong.
Adele becomes a second POV, giving us two different perspectives from women who both have David as a major figure in their lives. We see his marriage from the inside, through Adele’s eyes and thoughts. We see him at work and with Louise.
But as she gets glimpses of their marriage from both parties, she starts to see something is very off. And this is where I will stop with details. The mystery of these people and their relationships is what makes this book so intriguing.
There are also some flashback chapters that help give weight to the story. Even in the audiobook format, I found these very easy to follow and distinguish from the current timeline. They gave interesting tidbits of information that helped to understand the current story line, as well as add to the mystery of the overall story. They told a very intriguing story of their own and were a great addition to the present day chapters.
Overall, this was a fresh, suspenseful and mysterious tale with intriguing characters. It’s one of those books that has some amazing surprises for the reader, but ones that after revealed make perfect sense. Incredibly well written and paced. Highly recommend this one.
Audiobook Note: Whenever I listen to an audiobook and find myself this addicted, it’s always a great experience. I feel like that takes a perfect chemistry between both the author as well as the performance of the narrators. In this book, they used a cast of narrators which really helps keep the different perspectives separate. Never once was I confused about who was narrating or if this was a present day or flashback chapter. That is very impressive for an audiobook. On top of that, the performances were all spot on, delivering the author’s tone and atmosphere very well.