When Amelia wins a weekend getaway to Scotland at her office raffle, she believes this time away will help her and Adam, her husband, patch up their disintegrating marriage. But one look at the abandoned chapel has both of them convinced otherwise; this mini-vacation will probably not end well.
Alice Feeney’s 2021 thriller is a riveting tale of the power of first impressions and secrets kept in a marriage.
Mind-boggling is the only word that can properly define this novel.
When the story was unfolding in the beginning, I was sure it would be a quintessential take on a husband and wife drifting apart. But that doesn’t even touch the surface of what this novel entails. And you won’t realize that until much much later.
The author’s writing style is direct and peppered by foreshadowing. There’s even a snarky tone to the chapters narrated with Amelia’s voice, which I absolutely loved!
Unlike a lot of other authors of thriller novels, Alice Feeney doesn’t shy away from making the environment a focus in relevant sections of the book. So when there’s a snow storm, you bet you’re going to feel the chills.
This ultimately engaged me so much more, especially considering that the setting of the novel is in the Scottish Highlands at a chapel near a loch. The location itself screams mystery and the author fully pulls through with utilizing the potential that the place has.
There’s something so clever in how the story is structured and narrated that in all probability, you won’t guess the twist until it has crept up on you and is staring you in the face.
While the chapters alternate between the couple’s POVs, they are also interspersed with letters that Adam’s wife has written to him throughout the many years of their marriage – letters which he has no clue about. And as you probably know, I love an epistolary touch in books.
Adam is an author and screenwriter, who is struggling to find a positive reception for his novel. He suffers from prosopagnosia, a neurological condition better known as face blindness. I have never read about people having this condition, and so it was definitely enlightening.
Adam is mostly mild-tempered and increasingly growing dissatisfied with their relationship. Amelia, on the other hand, gets riled up easily and at times tends to lash out when things aren’t going her way.
Nothing about their marriage stood out to me, particularly because they both repeatedly keep alluding to secrets they are harbouring and are certain that their relationship is on the brink of collapse.
There was a point closer to the third quarter of the novel where my interest dipped a bit, and I was certain I’d rate it 3 out of 5 stars, but the handful of chapters at the end came out of nowhere with the genius revelations, all of which left me gaping in awe at the author’s prowess.
Overall, this is a fantastic thriller and has become one of my top reads of the year! I would highly recommend that you pick up Rock Paper Scissors if you are looking to snuggle in with a mystery novel that will keep you guessing till the end.
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