What Alice Knew

T.A Cotterell  Doubleday 2017

‘A great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband.  Until he goes missing one night.  She receives a strange phone call.  Things don’t quite add up’

A tricky book to review without giving away spoilers and revealing exactly what Alice knew.  But clearly this book is about a secret, which here I will keep!

‘But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice’

Suffice to say this was a thought provoking moral and legal dilemma that thoroughly explored the consequences of, ‘doing the right thing’ or not.

As a portrait artist Alice considered her job an intimate exercise in truly knowing and seeing someone by seeking out their character to elicit an accurate likeness in the portrait.  She values truth and honesty about all else.  Conversely her husband Ed is a pragmatist, as an obstetrician he is a practical thinker, balancing a range of factors for the best outcome for all.  He doesn’t necessarily subscribe to the theory of one truth but has a wider view and considers the ‘greater good’.

In this character driven story Alice faces a dilemma, shaped by her past experiences and world view, she struggles to live with a secret that if exposed could irreparably damage her family.  The book explores both options, to keep the secret and only look forward or disclose the secret and face the consequences, whatever they may be.

I did enjoy this book and like the premise of the story which will I think inevitably raise questions for any reader.  The characters were likeable and the situation they found themselves in elicited my sympathies with no easy answer or positive outcome.

On a negative note, I found the book a little long for the story and it became a tad drawn out.  Alice was an artist and I suspect others could appreciate more than I did some of the artistic terminology and references.  The ending was inconclusive which was fine and I know this type of ending appeals to many, however personally I prefer my stories to finish in a neat and tidy conclusion.  A crime story yes, but a character driven thought provoking story as opposed to a tense, fast paced thriller.  A good read, engaging and easy to follow.

Happy reading.

2 thoughts on “What Alice Knew

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