Hey, you’re never going to guess what kind of story The Vanishing Year is. Too hard? Okay, I’ll tell you… it’s one of those books about how no one actually knows anyone at all and we’re all going to be killed soon so let’s panic. Shocking right? I think we are all tired of me complaining about these kinds of books and then just continuing to read them, but, well, here’s one more, sorry.
At least I didn’t hate this one, in fact I liked it. Our heroine here is Zoe Whittaker. She’s the usual – beautiful, young, rich, married to a wonderful man. I’m sort of dying for one of these books to have a mousy brunette with a few pounds to lose in the lead. Unusually, it’s Zoe who has the secrets to hide and not just her husband. She has a past, and she has run away from that past and is trying to reinvent herself. Why, then, does she choose to get involved in a charity with a very high profile? Unclear. That involvement pushes her into the spotlight and threatens to expose her secrets, which leads her right into danger, to which we all collectively think… duh what did you think would happen?
Zoe is married to Henry Whittaker, a seemingly perfect guy. She loves him and never thinks it’s weird that he sometimes gives her pills in an effort to sedate and control her (sure) and that he calls her at the exact same time every day from work, but she is otherwise totally unable to reach him (no problem). This book is bigger than Zoe’s realization that her husband may be a stranger, and I appreciated how Kate Moretti allows Zoe to be complex and not angelic and I was rooting for her. The plot is more labyrinthine than it probably needs to be, with side stories galore, but it’s the plot that saves this from being just another woman in peril book. The writing here is precise and vivid and the story ends up being not quite what you expect, and that is a good thing.
Control disguised as caring is terrifying to me, so these books really spin me out. One would wonder why I keep reading them, obviously, but I will say that I wasn’t really sure that was what this was when I picked it up. Does every thriller have to be Gonegirlonthetrain-ish now? I’m searching for a book in this genre that isn’t disguised as woman hating fetish litporn. Any suggestions welcome.
Grade – B-