Grace and Ted Chapman have the perfect life. He’s a world famous author and she is a kind hearted socialite with a passion for cooking and helping others. When Ellen the family’s assistant resigns Grace employs Beth who seems like the perfect addition to help manage her life, her work and her husband again.
But not all is as it seems and Beth, once a blessing to the Chapman’s lives has ulterior motives and it soon becomes clear that she is slowly but surely stealing Graces life, one element at a time. The book flashes back to Dorset and Graces happy moments in an idealic English countryside and also to her troubled childhood.
It’s a thriller to the highest degree with some very spine-chilling moments, like when Clemmie, Grace and Ted’s daughter finds Beth is using her mother’s bath robe, makeup and wearing her clothes. There is also a celebrity air about this book as Ted and Grace live their lives in the public domain and are wealthy and clearly very comfortable. But, predominantly it is about love, trust and happiness. I was so happy that Grace got her happy ending, even if it was with an unexpected but very welcome character.
It tackles delicate issues as well such as mental health problems such as bipolar, depression and alcoholism. It’s quite hard to write about these conditions in such a sensitive manner but Jane Green manages to portray it very well and with an honesty and empathy.
All the characters are fascinating in their own right and I actually grew to despise Ted and Beth and found myself getting frustrated as events unfolded and poor Grace was on the receiving end of their deceit and then genuinely over the moon when she finally got her life back on track.
It is beautifully written, the characters are believable and enjoyable and I loved the fact that there was a happy ending that Grace so much deserved. The only downfall of the book was the recipes. I appreciate that some people love it as an unexpected little extra in the book but I personally feel that it took up valuable writing space.
In saying this, all in all, I give this book 5 stars. An absorbing and addictive read. Jane Green has gained a new fan in me.
Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!