Thursday 8 April 2021

The Strangers We Know - Pip Drysdale

Imagine seeing your loving husband on a dating app. Now imagine that’s the best thing that happens to you all week …
When Charlie sees a man who is the spitting image of her husband Oliver on a dating app, her heart stops. Her first desperate instinct is to tell herself she must be mistaken – after all, she only caught a glimpse from a distance as her friends laughingly swiped through the men on offer.  But no matter how much she tries to push her fears aside, she can’t let it go. Because she took that photo. On their honeymoon.
Suddenly other signs of betrayal start to add up and so Charlie does the only thing she can think of to defend her position – she signs up to the app to catch Oliver in the act.
But Charlie soon discovers that infidelity is the least of her problems. Nothing is as it seems and nobody is who she thinks they are ...

What did I think?

I loved The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale so as soon as I heard about The Strangers We Know, I couldn't wait to read it.  I am delighted to say that I was not disappointed, in fact I was literally on the edge of my seat for the latter part of the book with my bum perched precariously on the edge of the sofa and my body hunched over the book like an Olympic skier, as if getting my eyes closer to the book would help me read faster!

The format of the book is set out like a TV show, with a 'Pilot' chapter followed by 8 episodes.  Charlie is an actress and it really feels like she is speaking to the reader so this format works brilliantly.  Charlie is out with her friends when her best friend Tess starts drunk swiping on a dating app.  Charlie's smugness at never having had to use dating apps doesn't last long when she catches a glimpse of a photo she took of her husband on their honeymoon.  What the hell is Oliver doing on a dating site?  Seeing Oliver on a dating app is only the tip of the iceberg and Charlie's life is about to get a whole lot worse.  

Charlie and Oliver's story is gradually revealed over 8 dramatic and captivating episodes.  The reflective nature of the prose is very compelling as Charlie knows how this story ends and she regularly throws little hand grenades of mystery and intrigue that kept me hooked like a greedy little fish.  Charlie's voice is so strong and clear, virtually projecting out of the book, and I felt as if she could have been one of my friends, so I was furious at Oliver but also mindful that there are two sides to every story...and what a story this is!

I do have one teeny tiny gripe that annoyed me a little, but didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book at all.  There's a bit of a mix up with English and American English.  I could forgive the use of Americanisms like sidewalk, faucet and eggplant if they were consistent throughout the book, however, words like postcode and taps are also used as the book is set in London.  At one point, Charlie turned on the faucets and turned off the the same paragraph!  It's a bit annoying but certainly not worth knocking a star off the rating of a fantastic book, that's for sure.

Sharply plotted and so very addictive, The Strangers We Know is an edge of your seat thriller (literally in my case) that is filled with shocks and surprises.  An excellent read and one I highly recommend.

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me an ARC to read and review; all opinions are my own.

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