Life | Newton Leys Book Club #2

At the end of my last post, I mentioned the title of our next book – He Said, She Said by Erin Kelly – and what a book it was! It’s no wonder it was a Sunday Times Bestseller, a Book Club Pick on Radio 2 and shortlisted for Crime & Thriller Book of the Year 2018. We had less time to read this one and while I (and Debbie) didn’t manage to finish it in time, nobody spoiled the ending for us and I actually managed to finish reading that afternoon!

Once again, there were four of us that met in Costa: me (with Alfie), Debbie (with two of her children), Pearl and a new lady called Lauryn, who was really friendly! We met in the morning, which meant getting Alfie fed and changed in time – and I treated myself to a chocolate plait and a latte over ice. I’ll try not to give too much away and go over the things we discussed.

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear. And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden... something she never could have guessed.

The novel is very much character-focused, from the points of view of two main characters: Kit/Christopher and Laura – who also happen to be a couple. While the characters aren’t totally relatable (well not to me and my interests, anyway), you get to know them and their back-stories pretty well and by the end, it’s almost as though they’re a part of your life! Throughout the story, you’ll find your opinions on them changing and while you may have a particular favourite or favour their viewpoint, there’s no doubt that’ll constantly change. Some characters may not be what they seem. I particularly liked Beth, the victim and following her story, I had a whole host of emotions. I don’t think we could predict how any of the characters would turn out, but the saying is very true: it’s always the quiet ones!

There are plenty of twists and fear the unexpected! While the book is written from different viewpoints, it also goes back and forward in time, which for me was quite confusing – possibly because I kept putting my Kindle down and then forget where I’d got up to. I did like the two narratives and we all agreed that it kept the tension up. The ending was totally shocking and nobody would have guessed the outcome. In fact, the ending was my favourite – it didn’t finish abruptly and the drama and tension was kept up ‘til the very end. I almost wanted an after-ending to find out what happened next, as you are left wondering...

The solar eclipse theme and motif above each section of the book added a lot to the progression of the story. Without it, I don’t think the plot would have flowed as well and by the end, we went full circle, much like the sun/moon! I hadn’t actually realised that eclipse festivals were a thing and there were people in this world that travel according to where they are located – much like enthusiasts. That said, I did know they were popular as working in the travel industry, solar eclipse cruises are a thing and are, in fact, very popular!

The theme of sexual assault, whether that is alleged or fulfilled, is a notable one – and is an issue becoming increasingly rife in society and documented in today’s media. Festivals are usually the place this takes place, so I guess it was interesting to find the characters at an eclipse festival, rather than a music or comedy one where it’s most-likely commonplace. The detail Kelly goes into regarding the case, legal speak and implications was really fascinating and also was new to me, so felt like I had also learnt something.

You can buy or download He Said, She Said, here.

Our next book is The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

Love, Lucy xx

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