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.