I’d had this book for a while before getting to it. The backcover blurb talks about archeologists and antiquities and I wasn’t sure it was my thing.
And though there is quite a bit of detail about a four hundred year old necklace and historical events from around its era (particularly at the time of its disappearance) the majority of this book is more of a thriller of sorts.
The Perfect Couple
by Lexi Landsman
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
on August 28th 2017
Source: Penguin Random House Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
Sarah and Marco Moretti are the perfect couple. Together they have travelled the globe building high-profile careers as archaeologists. Now, at a dig in Florence, they are on the brink of the discovery of a lifetime.
However their marriage is not what it seems.
On the very evening that Sarah uncovers the San Gennaro necklace – a long-lost antiquity that will bring them worldwide fame - she witnesses Marco kissing another woman. Blinded by tears, she drives home alone in the dead of night . . .
When Sarah wakes up in hospital, she has no memory of the car accident that brought her there - or the 48 hours preceding it.
Gone is the knowledge of her husband’s infidelity. But gone too is all recollection of finding the precious necklace.
This book started a little slowly for me. I wasn’t hooked and worried a little that it would be too densely filled with detail of bygone eras – Napoleonic Wars and the like.
However, things turned around halfway into the book and I found myself more invested in the unfolding plot.
We readers are kinda privy to the events of the night of Sarah’s car accident – or at least some of them. And we know more about each of the characters (in some ways) than they know about each other. We’re like their secret-keepers. And part of this is because we’re in the heads of all four key characters from the book: Marco, Sarah and their kids, 20yr old Daniel and 16yr old Emily.
Because we’re in their heads we know that neither Marco, nor (post-accident) Sarah have any idea where the necklace is… but everyone else seems to either assume: they’ve taken it for themselves; or they didn’t discover it at all.
Marco is decidedly unlikeable. And we can assume he’s supposed to be as Landman’s written him in a way he’s ridiculously arrogant and vain, happily admitting this to himself (and us). Later, there’s a sense of remorse or guilt over his ambition and desire for fame / recognition, to the detriment of his family life, but it’s a bit ‘too little too late’.
Daniel, Emily and Sarah were all likeable characters and interestingly, I probably engaged more with Daniel than the other two as there was something really real, honest and accessible about his character.
Little progress is initially made to uncover the events of the night of the accident (and the night the necklace was found)… Sarah wishes she remembered more but has reconciled herself to never knowing. Whereas Marco – whose reputation is on the line – is sure his wife will recover her memories. Eventually.
Eventually things come to a head via a kidnapping and ransom request. I felt as if we were able to fairly easily identify those involved – not just via the plot itself but also the language used by the person involved. I decided it would be too obvious however, and it didn’t entirely seem logical – though in retrospect I guess they were drawn to the plan because of their desperation.
I should mention that Lexi Landsman is an Australian TV producer and journalist so there’s an Oz flavour to the book through Sarah, who was raised here and who meets Italian-born Marco at University here before she puts her career aside to focus on her children and (later) support Marco in his search for the necklace.
Although I eventually enjoyed this and read it in a sitting, it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I loved some of the twists Landman threw in at the end however and this book will appeal to those with an interest in history, archeology and antiquities as well as lovers of novels of suspense.
The Perfect Couple by Lexi Landsman was published in Australia by Penguin Random House and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.