I read and reviewed Holly Seddon’s debut novel, Try Not To Breathe last year and rated it 4-stars (a very good rating from me). On discovering this book I chuckled to myself over her fetish for titles featuring warnings though and wondered what the next book might be called…
Seddon offered up a flawed lead (or two, kinda) in her first book and does the same this time around, with (non-identical) twins Sarah and Robin whose lives we follow in the present and the past.
Don't Close Your Eyes
by Holly Seddon
Published by Corvus
on July 6th 2017
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller / Suspense
Robin and Sarah weren't the closest of twins. They weren't even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.
Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Formerly a famous rock star, now agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches - watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn't...
And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted - the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she's just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can't be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.
But Sarah isn't the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship...
I really enjoyed the pace of this novel. The revelations come consistently and kept me turning page after page… speeding up as the book draws to an end. And Seddon cleverly intersperses the present with the past, allowing us to put together pieces of the jigsaw: the lives of Sarah and Robin.
As kids they were very different, but had that strange twin bond. Their lives were torn apart… not savagely but literally by their parents (and the partner swapping thing is kinda foreshadowed, so doesn’t come as a surprise to readers – just the kids involved).
It takes some time though for us to work out how the twins we meet (initially aged 9yrs in 1989) become the adults we meet in the present day – living very different lives. I was initially a bit worried the backstory would be anticlimactic and I would be like, “What, was that all? How can they be that f*cked up from that?” But…. I was reminded that we all process things very differently and (in particular) Robin talks about it not being one particular thing, but rather the convergence of a number of factors that tipped her over the edge and exacerbated behaviours she perhaps had under control: OCD, panic attacks and agoraphobia.
And Sarah, well she’s come to Robin for help but arrives at the wrong time. Or perhaps it’s the right time?
We meet Sarah and Robin regularly between their childhood and early adulthood, but there are gaps. Stuff they’ve kept from each other, and Seddon does a very very good job of springing quite a few surprises on us as the book draws to a conclusion.
The only slightly weird thing (and yes, I know I always tend to find something….) was that all of Sarah’s chapters were written in first person and Robin’s in third person (though we’re reading from her point of view and in her head). I’m not sure why Seddon didn’t go for first person for them both because, even though we kinda start in Sarah’s head, it (ultimately) felt more like Robin’s story, albeit about them both.
Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.