When Claire Fontaine learns that her ex husband Simon is marrying again, to a woman with a teenage daughter, her blood runs cold. She is sure that years ago Simon molested her own daughter and was responsible for her mysterious death. She can’t let him get away with it a second time. Vandalism, harassment; whatever it takes, Claire will expose him.
Simon doesn’t know where Claire got this delusion from; her daughter’s death was ruled a suicide, but she has always blamed herself – is she just lashing out? Wanting to protect his new fiancee, he hires Sloane Wilson, an ex cop turned ‘sin-eater’, whose job it is to handle delicate cases without getting the police involved, to get Claire off his back.
Sloane must navigate the wreckage of Claire and Simon’s marriage to discover the truth. Two people with conflicting stories and a whole lot of reasons to hurt each other. Is she crazy or is he manipulative? And can Sloane stay clear-headed enough to figure it out?
This is a fast paced novel that throws the reader in at the deep end. Claire is an interesting character, one of two narrators, she is unreliable and this serves to keep the reader guessing. Suspicious of her ex yes, but there is lots going on in this novel and conclusions jumped to prove incorrect, adding to the mystery.
Sloane Wilson the ‘sin-eater’ (this wasn’t a term I was familiar with) is a shrewd and focused character, she has a job to do, Simon Miller has hired her to sort out the problem of Claire – the lies he says she is telling about him. He wants her silenced so he can enjoy his forthcoming nuptials in peace. Sloane has many tricks up her sleeve to get the job done and she doesn’t mind lies and manipulation. Her character was tough and not wholly likeable but she had a strong moral code that I appreciated.
From the outset this story feels dark, Clair may be paranoid; certainly this is a stick used by others to beat her and themes of child abuse are present, given this is what Clair is accusing Simon of. Righting wrongs is central, Claire lost her daughter and won’t allow another child to perish. Clair works as a French Tutor and this allows for a cast of interesting characters to emerge, all who serve to add to the story thorugh their involvement with Claire.
Told from the perspectives of Claire and Sloane the story progresses through alternating narratives, I found myself becoming more invested in this book as the plot took shape. Some flaws in the story niggled slightly but the overall concept was very good and I appreciated how things all came together as we approached the conclusion. A decent work of fiction which would appeal most definitely to those of you who love a flawed and unreliable main character. Fans of dark and dirty crime fiction will also love this. At just 300 pages this is a quick read that will keep the reader guessing through to its finale.
About the Author
Stephanie Buelens was born in Belgium and educated in France. She has travelled to more than thirty countries. For the last twenty years, she has lived between Paris and Los Angeles. She has worked as an actress, interpreter, translator, business consultant, French media coach and language instructor. She currently lives in Belgium. An Inconvenient Woman is her first novel.
This is a Social Media Blast celebrating publication day of An Inconvenient Woman. Check out what others are shouting about this book. Thanks to Ella at Quercus for inviting me to be involved and providing me with a finished copy of the book.