You’re hiding a secret that only she can see.
Her name is Beth. She came into my life when I needed her the most. We lead very different lives, but she’s the only person who understands me.
She was the only other witness to the terrible accident on the street between our homes. The only person who saw the cracks in my perfect life before I had the chance to cover them up.
It’s been so long since I’ve had a friend. Someone to talk to, to listen to, to laugh and dream with.
Beth would never do anything to hurt me.
She only wants what’s best for me, for my marriage.
Hi and welcome on FromBelgiumWithBookLove! Allow me a little mini-rant to get started, please bear with me and know that I adore Vikki Patis, OK? OK! So. In this post #MeToo era lots of books have been written about abuse, and while I am convinced that this is an important subject that most definitely deserves and needs to be addressed, I can’t quite come to terms with the world being depicted in black and white: not ALL men are abusive, narcissistic pigs and not ALL women have been the victim of some kind of abuse. When reading a novel in which that is the case, well, it doesn’t quite gel with me no matter how great the story is overall. You know, give me a super villain, a character or even a gang to hate and I’ll merrily pick up my pitchfork and join the angry mob, but I can’t deal with ALL the guys being bad guys. Likewise, give me an abused woman and I’ll happily grab some tissues and a blankie and watch Bridget Jones on a loop with her, but I can’t deal with an entire cast of abused women.
Still with me? Well that’s absolutely fabulous, thank you! I’m sure you’ve gathered that the above is relevant because abuse is a theme, if not THE theme, in this novel. That’s not a spoiler, it’s quite obvious from the get-go. I really didn’t want to go down that black and white road again, I really didn’t want another brick in the #MeToo wall. But I loved Vikki Patis’s writing in The Diary and so I also really wanted to read The Girl Across The Street. And I’m thrilled to announce that we did NOT go down that dreaded road!! The main characters, both male and female, are quite balanced, and not all the men are evil, nor are all the women victims. That was refreshing!
The story starts with a car accident. A man is hit by a car and left for dead. Isla and Beth meet over trying to help him and thus a highly unlikely friendship begins. Isla is the posh trophy wife, always manicured and pedicured and perfectly groomed, the girl who has it all, while Beth is the girl across the street, in the crappy apartment with the crappy boyfriend. Before long, Isla is offering Beth a place to stay when Beth is down on her luck and out on the streets with no money, but how well does she really now Beth?
I really feel Vikki Patis has grown as an author and I’m very curious to see what more she has up her sleeve! This is a tale about trust and betrayal, about keeping up appearances, about friendship. A gripping domestic thriller well worth your time!
Many thanks to Vikki Patis, Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not paid to give them.