She’d made a career out of studying light, but now she’s entered a seductive, dangerous world of shadow and lies . . .
Anna Solas, poor artist working two jobs, is swept away by Evan Halifax, his charm and his good looks, and marries too quickly for her family’s comfort. Evan takes Anna to his stunning lakeside mansion the North Twin on the Les Jumeaux estate, where she discovers he lived with his first wife Elizabeth until her disappearance and presumed death. He says they can live anywhere Anna wants to, but his explanations unravel bit by bit. Anna is increasingly uneasy, wondering what really went on in the decadent home theatre, who is watching her from the South Twin—the matching home on Lake Tahoe’s shore, and the identity of the nightmare woman who appears to her at night, whispering a message she dreads hearing. She becomes determined to uncover the truth behind Elizabeth’s life in order to save her own sanity.
Oh. My. God. You. Guys. YOU. GUYS!!! This book THIS BOOK!!! I was up until almost 5 AM reading/finishing it. I took a day off from reading trying/needing to do other things … and I was admittedly nervous because Beth Kery told me it wasn’t a romance – and you know how particular I am about my HEA. However, having read it … I saw it is a romance – just not what you might expect from Beth Kery, because it isn’t an erotic romance. Nevertheless, even if it wasn’t a romance I wanted to read this book by Beth Kery because I love her writing and voice. And I’m so glad I did.
First of all … this book has some extremely dark notes. (Not those trashfire romances I often rant about – I wouldn’t have read this book if that were the case.) But I want to be clear about trigger warnings. It’s hard because I really don’t want to give away any plot points, as in my opinion this has a thriller undercurrent … so if you have any questions and don’t mind spoilers please definitely ask me! None of the things are extraneous or salacious – sadly so many of the things mentioned are all too real and pervasive out there. I just wanted to be clear some people might have issues, and the villain in this book is truly heinous. I cannot highlight this enough.
Anna Solas is a really interesting character. At first I wasn’t really interested in her because she’s only 23, and I was like “ugh I’m so over these young women much older men relationships.” I guess I’m an old bitch. Also I’m like >.> to these creepy motherfuckers who go for women 14+ years younger than they are. However, in this book, there are a lot of reasons for it and I can’t say because they’re spoilers but you see and you’ll be like O_O. I was – and it’s pretty hard to surprise me, but this book got me a few times. Anyway. Anna starts showing spine and personality, and while I sometimes think she’s still a bit of a pushover, it’s easy to see why she’s overwhelmed. I kept trying to put myself in her shoes, and I the pervasive thought was “she’s been swept off her feet, is off balance, and stupid in love.”
Evan Halifax. *shakes head* I hardly even have the words for it. Again, this is almost … it’s not a romantic suspense, but maybe a psychological thriller? So a lot of it is details that get revealed subtly throughout. I will have to say I didn’t 100% understand his motives, other than … love? Revenge? An over developed sense of justice bordering on vigilantism? He’s so hot and cold with Anna it was hard to get a feel for him, but one thing I did see loud and clear was how much he loved Anna. And that saved him/the book for me. Without the extremely clear evidence, and how sweet he could be, I don’t know that I would’ve kept going. Even despite being incredibly busy (he’s extremely wealthy and has his business to run), even with his secrets, he realizes what is needed to cultivate a relationship, and once he’s aware of any issue he does his best to resolve it, to cherish Anna, and show how important she is to him.
I kept thinking “… is this a modern twist on Rebecca?” In fact not only did I ask Ms. Kery that shortly after starting the book, I even checked wiki again for the plot summary, to refresh my memory, despite having read Rebecca a number of times. I also can’t tell you how many times I said out loud while reading this book “what is even happening?!?!” while laughing a bit hysterically because it was SO engaging and I was so nervous and enthralled. (P.S. after I asked Ms. Kery that her response was “it is like Rebecca … but not.” And that really sums it up perfectly.
There are parts of it that are so intense and I veered into thinking did I get talked into reading a horror?! I’M TOO MUCH OF A SCAREDY CAT FOR THIS!!! And my heart was pounding and everything was so descriptive and ominous and I can still feel the breathless anticipation I had while I was reading even as I wanted to bury my head under a pillow. I had some “bad” moments where there were plot twists and turns where Ms. Kery had me totally fooled. I love that, because (I personally think) it’s hard to trick me – and I was tricked. There were a few scenes near there end where it was like horror movie level when you’re screaming at the screen for the characters to not do that – I wanted to shake Anna, but there were definite reasons for her doing what she did, and they all resolved, so neatly.
I read an early version of this book so I don’t know if things changed – I wish there had been just a smidge more in the end – although I’m happy with how it was, and what came right before. (It’s just … you know. My romance loving heart.)
I absolutely recommend this book, and would love to hear what you think about it. It’s almost a straight contemporary romance … but not a light easy read. There are twists and turns and it goes to dark places in your mind – after finishing it I thought – “Beth Kery’s brain is twisted as fuck – and I love it!!!” I can’t wait for more of her books. Literally even just thinking about it as I wrote this review had my heart pounding. I know I’m going to be re-reading Swim Deep.
*Don’t quote my on the genre. It’s … hard to explain and you’ll understand it if/when you read it!