Book Review // Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
*Warning: May contain potential spoilers*
When I chose Behind Her Eyes as my first Book of the Month club selection I had not heard any of the hype surrounding the book or the #WTFthatending this book drove so many to write about. I had the BOTM recap, and the best of the five book options, to help me make my decision.
I wasn’t too disappointed.
As readers, we read along with the story imagining the ending in our head as we turn each page. I know I do and this was NOT the ending I saw playing out in my head as I read – I was thrown for a WTF loop – but I was also a bit disappointed. I was expecting a pure psychological thriller with a few corners of suspense and when the lucid dreaming came into play, I was okay with it because it added another loop, but the second door?
That second door!
I read from beginning to end, so I get WHY there was a second door, but it weaved a supernatural element into the story that I was not too warm and fuzzy for. But, you must get to the end! It was the last chapter that throws readers for the loop. I just knew I had it all figured out early, but the ending I created in my head certainly is not what played out in the final few pages. I can understand now the WTF ending hype, but after the second door being thrown into the story, readers should expect anything to happen from that point on.
Behind Her Eyes has a triangle of characters central to the story – Louise, Adele, and David. Adele and David are married. Louise has an affair with David. Louise is friends with Adele. And they all have secrets. This love triangle is a small part BUT is also the stage for Adele’s larger plan that is in play. Louise and David don’t realize that they are playing along, but Adele has weaved a fantastic cat and mouse game that leads to her finale.
Adele is a manipulator. Louise is a naive. And David, well, he is tired and broken. Quite frankly, I didn’t like any of the characters. Of course they all melt well together for the story to develop; each have their own part to play and Sarah Pinborough found a way to write each character’s story to smoothly intertwine. As a reader I just didn’t find a connection with any of them and maybe that was by design – no one to cheer for and no rooting for the underdog.
Yes, I did like the book. Readers that enjoy mind games will find Behind Her Eyes to have the suspense they are looking for. I did. Sure, there are moments where I was just, “Ugh, that would never happen!” But, there are moments while reading I just could not put down the book. The feeling of wanting to know what happens next literally just takes over.
To be blunt, this is not the book for every reader that likes a psychological thriller. There are pieces in the story that just won’t fit when it comes to this genre. And even though I say that, I do encourage readers that like a bit of cat and mouse to give it a read. Move through the second door! All that said, with honestly a lot of irritations about this book, I LOVED the weave of the story and it is that reason I give it a 5 out of 5 stars.
Sarah Pinborough is the number one Sunday Times Bestselling and New York Times Bestselling author of the psychological thriller Behind Her Eyes (Jan, 2017). During her career she has published more than 20 novels and several novellas, and has written for the BBC. Her recent novels include the dystopian love story, The Death House, and a teenage thriller, 13 Minutes which has been bought by Netflix with Josh Schwartz adapting.
Behind Her Eyes has sold to nearly twenty territories so far and was sold at auction to the US in a significant deal to Flatiron, Macmillan. There are discussions ongoing with several movies studios about the film adaptation.