Friday 16 March 2018

BLOG TOUR: The Woman Before Me - Ruth Dugdall

They came for me, just like I knew they would. Luke had been dead for just three days.
Rose Wilks' life is shattered when her newborn baby Joel is admitted to intensive care. Emma Hatcher has all that Rose lacks. Beauty. A loving husband. A healthy son. Until tragedy strikes and Rose is the only suspect.

Now, having spent nearly five years behind bars, Rose is just weeks away from freedom. Her probation officer Cate must decide whether Rose is remorseful for Luke's death, or whether she remains a threat to society. As Cate is drawn in, she begins to doubt her own judgement.

Where is the line between love and obsession, can justice be served and, if so... by what means?

What did I think?

...and the creepiest Opening Chapter award goes to Ruth Dugdall for The Woman Before Me!  This opening chapter made my skin crawl as one of my fears and one of my foibles were brought together.  I don't like to think people are watching me without me knowing and I have a fear of a stranger entering my bedroom (and killing me) when I am asleep.  So when Rose stands over Emma watching her sleep, I really did gasp out loud and that was only the tip of the iceberg!

Rose is arrested for starting a fire that night in Emma's house where Emma's baby son died and Emma claims to have been alone in the house, but Rose knows that she wasn't.  Rose keeps this information to herself and accepts her fate, which I think has a lot to do with the post traumatic stress from which she is suffering after the death of her premature baby, Joel.  Rose lost her mother at a young age and doesn't know how to be a mother herself, but she doesn't even get the chance so it was no surprise to see her latch on to Emma and her baby, Luke.  Emma is only too glad of the help as she leaves Luke with Rose so she can have some time to herself.  It would be easy to blame Emma, and in a way I did, as she used Rose for free babysitting services but she probably thought that Rose was her friend, despite knowing nothing about her and not caring enough to find out.  

Now Rose is up for parole and Probation Officer, Cate Austin must decide whether Rose should be released or not.  As Cate digs into Rose's disturbing past she, like all of us readers, wants to know whether Rose was indeed guilty of starting the fire that night.  I was constantly questioning this but then came up with another conundrum: if Rose didn't start the fire, who did?  And if she didn't do it, why did she accept her prison sentence so easily?

I am not surprised that Ruth Dugdall won the CWA Debut Dagger Award in 2005 for The Woman Before Me.  It is a gripping, skin-crawling, dark, psychological thriller that I didn't want to put down.  It is so intriguing that I felt as if I read it too quickly, as I needed to find out the whole story as fast as I could, so it's a good excuse to read it again to savour every detail of this dark and delicious domestic noir book.  Disturbing, gripping and highly recommended.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Follow the tour:

No comments:

Post a Comment