Orla and Kate’s decades-long friendship faces a great hurdle when their weekend trip to Lisbon becomes a horrific event in the former’s life. In chasing half-baked clues to solve Kate’s disappearance, Orla discovers the truth her best friend has kept hidden all this while.
I probably would not have come across this book if not for the Netflix adaptation. And apart from its intriguing plot, one of the reasons that compelled me to pick it up is knowing that Leighton Meester has played the role of Orla.
The story begins with a glimpse of the nature of Orla and Kate’s friendship which, although is said to be years strong, portrays barely a few signs of being a healthy one.
While the plot is kept afloat through the use of the memory-loss trope, it is the inclusion of more characters and the gradual disclosing of their motivations that lends further weight to the mystery.
One moment, you are sure that Kate could be playing a prank on everyone. At another, you can’t help but wonder if Orla’s jealousy got the better of her.
The characters in the book aren’t all that well-developed or interesting. But I didn’t mind that because Orla’s actions take centre stage soon after Kate’s disappearance and the author has written her plight convincingly – from the range of emotions she experiences to the decisions she makes with limited recall of what actually transpired the night Kate went missing.
I had my guesses about the conclusion, and turns out I was right!
While the clichés of the police being unfriendly, the ex-husband being suspicious, etc. are commonplace, I really appreciated that Sarah Alderson brings out the fears and insecurities of a mother through Orla.
I wish at least Kate’s character had been fleshed out in more detail so that I could have a more wholesome understanding of who she is. Because then everything that the author writes about her would have been impactful. As she is now, she just feels like this token “woman who has it all” figure.
On the whole, The Weekend Away is not a standout read. To fans of mystery and thriller novels, it will feel familiar. That said, it still succeeds in depicting the lengths people will go to for their own gain and also has a relatively fast-paced progression.