As this book opens, our lead characters Jane and her husband Leon are arguing.
He fared far better in my mind. She’s an aspiring author and her novel’s just been rejected by publishers after a year of hard work. Leon – a published author – suggests perhaps she could take a break and focus her attention a little more on their kids.
Which would seem to be unfair, condescending and chauvinistic until we learn it’s Jane’s sixth novel and Leon’s been pretty supportive so far.
Their fight’s quickly forgotten however and they’re about to head out when tragedy strikes. (Dum-dum!)
Open Your Eyes
by Paula Daly
Published by Corgi
on July 26th 2018
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 0552174238, 9780552174237
Jane doesn’t like confrontation. Given the choice, she'd prefer to focus on what’s going well, the good things in life.
But when her husband, Leon, is brutally attacked in the driveway of their home, in front of their two young children, Jane has to face reality. As he lies in a coma, Jane must open her eyes to the problems in her life, and the secrets that have been kept from her, if she’s to find out who hurt her husband – and why.
The argument in the opening scene between Jane and Leon seems minor and (like I said) almost-too-easily forgotten, but we’re in Jane’s head so know she’s frustrated with her husband over his attitude towards their neighbours. She also comments on how quickly he becomes angry or petty, which is a side to him she dislikes.
However, it seems unfathomable to her that someone could have attempted to kill Leon. And in such a nasty / macabre manner.
Jane can’t really think of any enemies – other than the fussy neighbours – so she too comes under suspicion of the police. Leon’s in an induced coma as a result of brain injuries and no longer looks like the man she knows. On one hand she’s not sure about this version of her husband, but on the other IF he wakes she’s hoping – or assuming – he’ll be able to tell the police who attacked him.
Of course things aren’t that easily resolved and Jane uncovers all sorts of secrets her husband has been keeping as she attempts to understand what led to the attack on his life (and her family and its livelihood).
Because Leon’s a novelist (as is his best friend) and Jane is an aspiring writer and creative writing teacher, there’s a lot of focus on writing and publishing (including self-publishing which gets a bit of a dig here; as well as the world of literary prize-giving and certain prejudices it may have). I guess I particularly enjoyed that element given my interest in that industry.
The book touches on the concept of success and how the goalposts constantly change, and then there’s this….
I wondered what was worse for a person: never having had your dream realized, or having your dream realized and then having it all taken away again. p 231
This is an enjoyable read by Daly and includes a few twists I didn’t see coming. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did but easily read it in a Friday night sitting.
Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly will be published in the UK by Transworld Publishers (Penguin) and available from 26 July 2018.
I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.