Review: Can You See Her? By S. E. Lynes

can you see herWhat would you do if no-one was watching?

Rachel is afraid she may have done something terrible. She’s sitting in a room, being asked whether she killed someone.

She doesn’t understand how her life has changed so completely. When she was younger, heads would turn when she walked into a room. Her children needed her; her husband adored her.

But somehow the years wore that all away. She was so busy raising her children, looking after her parents, that the woman who used to be Rachel Ryder, whose husband told her she was out of his league, now quietly washes his clothes and makes his dinner, and can walk into a room without anyone knowing she’s there.

She knows that she thought: what would it take for you to see me again? What if I did something no-one thought I was capable of?

Review

S.E. Lynes is one of my auto-buy/request authors. I have read and enjoyed all her books. I like how she writes twisty, suspenseful reads which are not just entertaining but also thought-provoking.

This story is mainly narrated by Rachel. She is a middle-aged woman who nobody sees. No, this isn’t a supernatural tale but quite a realistic one that I am certain many (especially women) can relate to. At one point, the author compares Rachel to a kettle. You hardly take note of a kettle until it stops working. You don’t usually walk into the kitchen and think about the kettle or even look at it. Sadly, a number of people can relate to feeling invisible. I know I have felt like that at some point at work or at home.  I loved Rachel. I wanted to reach into the story and hug her. At the same time, I was curious and worried about the lengths that she would go to be seen.

Through interviews by Rachel’s husband, daughter, best-friend and neighbor, a suspenseful tale unfolds. I kept wondering who was telling the truth. I had a feeling that there were some unreliable narrator(s) but I couldn’t guess exactly who and so I turned the pages frantically to find out the real story. The suspense was palpable.

This was an entertaining read that will also make you think. As I mentioned, I could identify with some of Rachel’s feelings and thoughts. At the same time, it made me think about the people in my life and whether I have truly been seeing them.

I also loved the unpredictability that had me guessing and changing my guesses all the way to the last page. In addition, the epilogue almost knocked me off my feet.

If you are yet to read any books by S. E. Lynes, you are truly missing out on some very good writing. Emotional, enthralling, relatable and quite entertaining, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Review: The Lies We Hide by S. E. Lynes

Lies We HideThirty years ago, Nicola Watson lived with her parents and older brother in a respectable suburb. At ten years old, she didn’t yet understand why her stomach tightened when she heard her father’s heavy tread as he returned home late at night, or why it made her brother Graham’s stammer get worse, or why one night her mother Carol woke them both, wide-eyed and whispering, and took them out of their home and into the unknown.

Now a successful lawyer in the city, with a life poles apart from her dark beginnings, Nicola has returned home for her mother’s funeral. But as she stands in her mother’s house, remembering the woman who sacrificed everything for her children, Nicola has to confront the guilt that she feels for leaving her family behind. And the belief that she played a part in the events that led to her brother going to prison for murder.

All Carol wanted was to protect her children, but escaping her husband was only the beginning of the story. And when Nicola learns the truth of what her mother did, it will change everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

Review

I have always loved Lynes’ books. Her writing is descriptive, captivating and all her previous titles managed to shock me with the twists. This one was different. It wasn’t about the twists and shocking reveals but it was more of a quiet story that ran deep.

Carol has two kids, Graham and Nicola. She was married to a horrible man and lived a life of constant fear and pain. Her story is narrated through two main timelines. One is set in the past and details events as they happen. The second timeline is in the present but narrated through flashbacks. These two narrative styles help in bringing different perspectives to the story. We get to see events unfold through her eyes but we also get to see her marital woes through her daughter’s eyes.

As with Lynes’ other titles, there are a couple of surprises along the way.  Without revealing much, let me just say that I was particularly intrigued by Graham’s story. We get Nicola’s story but her brother’s is shrouded in mystery and its clear that something major happened to alter the course of his life. I couldn’t guess exactly what it was and the reveal made my jaw drop.

Due to the themes in this story, there is a lot to think about.  The theme of domestic abuse is well portrayed hence giving the perspective of the different people it affected such as friends, children and of course the spouses. I especially liked the theme of family and second chances.

The ending was brilliant. It was unpredictable and simply satisfactory. I read this book in December but the characters and events have stayed with me since then. Its such a poignant, memorable read.

The Lies We Hide by S. E. Lynes is a story about love, betrayal, pain, loss, family and second chances. It’s definitely a story that will appeal to different readers because it is quite a relatable read.

Other books by S. E. Lynes that I have read and reviewed:

The Proposal

Mother

The Women

The Pact

Valentina

 

Review: The Women by S.E. Lynes @bookouture

WomenSamantha Frayn doesn’t know why Peter Bridges picks her – a nobody with bitten fingernails and a troubled childhood behind her – but she falls quickly. He’s older, charming, likes fine wine and French films, and his beautiful home has real art on its walls.

Peter transforms Samantha’s life in an instant. He sees the better version of herself – the one she’s always wanted to be. It’s only normal that there’s a little friction, when she moves in, over domestic matters like where things are kept, or the proper times to eat, sleep and shower. She’s lucky to be with someone who can help her find a new job, move on from childish friends, and speak with greater sophistication.

But as Samantha notices, more and more, Peter’s temper, she starts to wonder if there might be consequences to breaking the rules of the world he has so quickly built around her. And then she receives an anonymous note that makes her ask: is she the first woman to feel trapped by Peter? Is she being paranoid, manipulated, or could she be in danger?

You can tell the truth about your life, but someone needs to be listening. Someone needs to trust you. And someone needs to save you from the man you thought you loved.

Review

I am pleased to say that I have read and enjoyed every book by S. E. Lynes. The Women is another twisty, captivating read by the author which cements her place in my list of favorites.

Sam meets an older guy, Peter, who seems like a dream come true. He is charming, intelligent, sophisticated, drives a flashy sports car and lives in a huge house. She quickly falls for him but is Peter really the prince charming that he appears to be?

The story is narrated from Sam’s POV. We learn of her relationship with Peter and the nightmare that followed. As much as I don’t agree with all her decisions, I understood her actions even when they were unreasonable. I understood the decisions that she made especially at the initial stages of the relationship. Her character was very well crafted and she was relatable in many ways.

I enjoyed everything in this story even the little details such as the literature pieces mentioned. Without going into details, one of the characters taught an interesting writing class that I wished I could join. I was invested in the lessons and actually learned something new. This was quite a treat and it made me enjoy the story even more.

The Women is a story about secrets, lies, manipulation and vengeance. As always, Lynes’ writing is flawless and enthralling. I was pulled in right from the prologue to the last page. There were moments of frustration when certain characters didn’t behave like I wanted them to but that is just a testament of how well the story and characters were developed. The prologue created such suspense that I couldn’t wait to see how the story would unfold. What a captivating read!

Other titles by S.E. Lynes that I have read and enjoyed include: Valentina, Mother, The Proposal and The Pact.

 

 

 

Review: The Proposal by S. E. Lynes @bookouture

 

The Proposal‘The first thing you should know, dear reader, is that I am dead…’

Teacher Pippa wants a second chance. Recently divorced and unhappy at work, she uproots her life to renovate a beautiful farmhouse in the countryside, determined to make a fresh start. But Pippa soon realises: your troubles are never far behind.

When Pippa meets blue-eyed Ryan Marks, he is funny, charming, and haunted by his past. He might just be the answer to all her problems. But how well does she really know him?

She knows the story of his life, the pain that stays with him, the warmth of his smile and the smell of his skin. She knows he can make her laugh over a glass of wine.

Pippa can tell truth from lies. She’d know if she were in danger. Wouldn’t she?

Review

S. E. Lynes is one of my favorite authors. I enjoyed three of her previous titles, Mother  Valentina and The Pact. The Proposal ended up surprising me. Reading the blurb, I thought that I knew where the story would go. I mean, this does sound like a fatal attraction-trope, right? However, it wasn’t that simple.

Pippa is a struggling author. She wrote one book which received a lot of negative criticism. She is desperate for another book and hopes that this time; it will be well received by readers. However, Pippa can’t seem to come up with any good ideas for a second novel. This changes when Ryan Marks knocks on her door one evening. Suddenly, Pippa gets the inspiration that she needs for her second book. There is a heavy price to pay though.

The characters in this story were twisted, creepy and certainly unpredictable. I didn’t like any of the MCs but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t entertained by them. Ryan was dark and his character through the chapters just grew more chilling. He is the kind of character that makes you wary of strangers, hell I am even scared of answering my door at the moment. On the other hand, the jury is still out on Pippa. I liked her, disliked her and then felt like I didn’t get her. I still can’t make up my mind about her.

This is another thriller that ended up being darker than I first thought it would be. It had  a number of twists that I never could have predicted and the ending was surprising and disturbing. Dark and twisted, I think fans of these kinds of thrillers will love The Proposal by S. E Lynes.

Review: Valentina by S. E. Lynes @bookouture

ValentinaWhen city girl Shona moves with her partner Mikey and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, she believes that all that lies ahead for her family is happiness.

But with Mikey working long hours away from home, the frightening isolation of the Scottish countryside begins to get to Shona. She feels lonely and trapped.

That is, until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina. Valentina enters Shona’s life like a whirlwind, bringing excitement and spontaneity to replace boredom and fear.

Now Shona has the perfect home, the perfect man, and the perfect new best friend – or does she?

As Shona’s fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood outside becomes the least of her fears…

Review

Have you ever read a book that is so good that you find yourself thinking about the author, wondering how they came up with such an amazing story? Seriously, I really want to know how Lynes came up with this story. It is addictive, dramatic, fast-paced, unpredictable, well-written and has characters that are all a little crazy. In short, it has everything that makes a thriller memorable.

The story begins with Shona’s move to the Scottish countryside.  Her husband ,Mikey, travels a lot leaving Shona and her little baby, lonely at home. When Valentina comes along, things start looking up for Shona. She is no longer bored and alone. Instead, Valentina is just the kind of friend that she needs to make things a little more exciting to help the time move faster until her husband gets home.

I knew from the start that Valentina was bad news. The blurb, book title all alluded to this. However, I couldn’t guess she what was up to. She seemed like a nice friend to Shona though it was obvious that she was keeping secrets. What I didn’t expect was the other secrets and deception in the story. I can’t say more about this but this sure did add an exciting twist to the already suspenseful story.

Lyne’s writing is exceptional. I liked the conversational style that was used in the narration with the two MCs taking the role of storytellers. I was hooked! I also liked how descriptive the writing was. The author took me to Scotland. She gave details of even the little things such as baby sounds,  local dialect and unique character attributes. This author can certainly paint pictures with her words. The imagery had me immersed in the story.

Valentina by S. E. Lynes is really twisty. It’s the kind of book that keeps throwing surprises at you. I thought I had everything figured out but boy was I wrong! If you enjoy psychological thrillers that are dark, twisty, fact-paced and utterly gripping then this is definitely the right book for you!

Mother by S.E. Lynes@bookouture

motherChristopher would never hurt anyone. Not intentionally. Even after everything that’s happened I still believe that…

Christopher Harris is a lonely boy. A boy who has never fitted in to his family. Who has always felt something was missing from his life.

Until one day, when he discovers a suitcase in his family’s attic. And a secret about his mother that changes everything.

What price would you pay for the perfect family?

Christopher finally has a chance at happiness. A happiness that he will do anything to protect…

Review

This is one of the most twisted books that I have ever read.

At first, I was confused by the narrative style. The story is about Christopher, who doesn’t like being called Chris by the way. However, Christopher is not the narrator. So the mystery begins from there. It was evident that the narrator knew intimate details about Christopher’s life. In addition, it sounded like the person was a patient at a psych facility. Needless to say, I needed to know the person’s identity and the connection with Christopher.

It is hard to say a lot about this book without spoiling it so I will try and stay away from the story-line and let you discover it when you read it. This book is structured in such a way that makes it hard for you to figure out what is really going on. Christopher’s story is the main one but through the chapters, there is a second story-line by Benjamin. The pieces click into place towards the end of the story when all connections become clear.

The book is set in Leeds at a time when the Yorkshire ripper was stalking and killing women. The time period adds to the tension in the book especially because the killings have an impact on the characters’ lives. The women’s fear and all men seeming like suspects interspersed brilliantly with the ongoing story hence heightening the tension.

This is a story about secrets and family, in particular, an attempt at finding the perfect family. It is also about obsession and this definitely added a creepy feel to the narrative. The author does a brilliant job of slowly pulling readers into the story. Reading this book  felt like boarding a bus, relaxing and enjoying the trip thinking that you are heading to a particular town but then getting to your destination and realizing that nothing looks familiar because you got into the wrong bus. I don’t know if that makes sense but that is how this book made me feel. It was a crazy ride.

Okay, so being vague is hard. Let me just end this review by telling you that you need to read this book. It will mess with your mind and emotions (in a good way). It is creepy and unpredictable, you definitely have to experience it for yourself.

Mother by S.E. Lynes is truly a dark, twisted, addictive psychological thriller.