2018 Reviews · contemporary fiction · mystery · suspense · thriller

Book Review: The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

Title: The Twilight Wifetwilight wife small

Author: A.J. Banner

Published: August 1st 2017

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 304

Genres:  Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

From bestselling author A.J. Banner comes a dazzling new novel of psychological suspense in the vein of S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl that questions just how much we can trust the people around us.

Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.

But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.

As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

My review:

The Twilight Wife is one of those books that has been compared to bestselling domestic based psychological suspense novel’s such as S.J. Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep and Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl. I enjoyed both the above novels and my introduction to the work of A.J. Banner, the author of The Twilight Wife. I can see A.J. Banner employs some of the main ideas from the popular novels such as Before I Go To Sleep, but she has made her book stand on its own two feet, without needing these comparisons.

The Twilight Wife centres on the story of a thirty four year old marine biologist, Kyra Winthrop. Recently, Kyra was involved in a diving accident which has robbed her of her memories of the last four years. Kyra’s memory loss is fractured. This means she receives glimpses or flashes of parts of her life but it is a puzzle that she is unable to solve. As Kyra hides away on an isolated island with her doting husband Jacob, she utilises the small relationships she has on the island to work on regaining her memory. The key figures helping her to regain her memory are her husband Jacob, friends and neighbours. As Kyra’s memory slowly comes back to her she begins to fear that she cannot trust those around her, are they telling her the whole truth? Kyra’s visions are not pretty ones, giving her an insight into her life before the accident which was far from perfect. Marriage trouble, medications, glimpses of a third party involved in her accident all don’t seem to add up to Kyra. It is a hard and fast game for Kyra to uncover the truth to her life before the accident. Is it a truth she is willing to confront?

A.J. Banner has squeezed every last drop of suspense as she can in her second book and the first I have read by this author. This novel was a relatively short read and I was able to whip through it quite quickly. The approach the author of The Twilight Wife has adopted lends to this book being read in a short and sharp session, if you are able to and it certainly helps to enhance the intensity of the story.

The Twilight Wife tackles a subject that explored quite frequently in psychological suspense novels in recent times, amnesia. The lead character in Banner’s novel, Kyra, has suffered from a diving accident that has robbed her of her memories for the last few years. The use of memory loss as a narrative device works well in The Twilight Wife and the air of uncertainty, mistrust and ambiguity as we, along with the lead Kyra go through made this book all the more interesting to read.

The lead character Kyra Winthrop is a protagonist that the reader is develop a sense of empathy for. I could feel Kyra’s confusion, frustration and lack of trust through the pages of this novel, which is aided by Banner’s prose. I found the process of Kyra regaining her memory an interesting one. Banner doesn’t have a huge amount of secondary characters and this ensures that the red herring factor is kept to a minimum. Each of the supporting characters has a decent role to play in Kyra’s predicament.

Kyra’s background in marine biology links well to the main setting of The Twilight Wife, which is based on an isolated coastal island off the Pacific Northwest in the US. Banner’s descriptions of the setting are full of great coastal based imagery, which demonstrates her obvious research in the area of marine biology. The setting descriptions and Kyra’s background came across as authentic. I appreciated learning some technical terms about the ecosystem of the ocean. It adds a unique spin to this domestic based tale.

Readers will find they are soon immersed in this book, for me this happened very early on in the novel. The chapters are succinct but cleverly pitched, so the reader is fed a vital clue to the story at the close of each chapter. For me, it meant that I was hard pressed to turn my eyes away from this book. The pace is almost relentless and in the last pivotal three chapters it races even further, as Kyra closes in on the reality of her life before the accident. The end result was a neat one and a conclusion that I felt satisfied with.

The Twilight Wife is a tension filled, lighter style domestic suspense novel that may suit those new to this genre or for readers looking for a quick and fast read. I appreciated the lack of darkness and although the crime committed in this novel is unforgivable, it isn’t absolutely shocking. Save this one for an uninterrupted continuous read, for the weekend or a holiday, it delivers.

The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner was published on 1st August 2017 by Simon & Schuster. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Twilight Wife, A.J. Banner, visit here.

 

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