Title: Close To Me
Author: Amanda Reynolds
Genre: Fiction/ Psychological Drama
Source: The Works
Favourite Quote: ‘They couldn’t do anything to me; I was already broken.’
I’ve tried getting into more thrillers/ psychological dramas lately to expand my book collection to something more than just romance and fantasy. I decided Close To Me was a good place to continue my exploration. Once again, I found that I was able to read through the book without it bothering me with the expected mental torment and pain that I tend to foresee in this genre.
The story is about Jo, a 55 year old housewife who has been happily married with her husband Rob for 24 years with two teenage children, Sash and Fin, who have recently left the nest. The book begins with Jo finding herself at the bottom of the stairs in their converted barn home which no recollection of how she fell but feeling a sudden fear and hatred towards her husband. When trying to piece together what happened, she soon discovers that it wasn’t just the fall she has forgotten, but the last year of her life.
‘When they were younger those drives to and from school had felt without end. I’d wanted those days to pass more quickly, had cursed the fact I had no time for myself, not a moment to think, but the years have flipped over, one after the other, lost to the very routine which was sustaining me. And now, in a cruel twist, the year in which I should have adjusted to a new routine has been stolen from me by memory loss.’
Jo feels trapped in Rob’s presence after the accident and can’t help but feel like he may have been responsible for her fall when she beings to remember certain clips of the event. She can remember them arguing at the top of the stairs although Rob is adamant that she missed her footing and fell whilst looking at her phone. She finds it unusual that he threw her phone in the bin claiming it was broken and ordered her a new one. Jo also realises that her emails have been tampered with.
Her family seem to tiptoe around her and she realises that there is a lot of tension in the air. No one wants to give her any information on what has happened in the past year, Rob in particular seems to think that it would be best if Jo didn’t remember at all which makes the situation even more frustrating for her. Her family life has been turned upside down and she has no idea why.
The book is told from the present day with Jo dealing with her amnesia after the fall and also clips of the last year to allow the reader to see the whole story unfold. It’s a very well written story, however I feel that the pace could have been quicker. Rob is hiding her past and her children are careful with what they say, but it seems that this is repeated continuously for a long time. When Jo does discover something, she can’t believe it so runs away from the potential truth before running back to where she started all over again.
I still don’t know how I feel about Jo as a character, she seems very lost in her own bubble, everything in Jo’s world is perfect; her lifestyle, food, children, marriage, to her everything is fine. I couldn’t relate to her and I felt her character wasn’t very interesting. She lacks the emotions to really bring the story to it’s surface. She gets upset a few times, but considering all she’s been through, she’s a complete pushover and doesn’t believe that life could be imperfect.
I’m glad I was able to finish the book, it was a good read, but I probably wouldn’t read it again.
Close To Me is a gripping debut psychological drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty’s bestselling The Husband’s Secret, Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go, and Linda Green’s While My Eyes Were Closed.
She can’t remember the last year. Her husband wants to keep it that way.
When Jo Harding falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in hospital with partial amnesia-she’s lost a whole year of memories. A lot can happen in a year. Was Jo having an affair? Lying to her family? Starting a new life?
She can’t remember what she did-or what happened the night she fell. But she’s beginning to realise she might not be as good a wife and mother as she thought.