| Book Review |
What I Never Told You – Louise Mullins

Anthony Wells’s arrest confronts Kate with her unprocessed feelings in this dark and engrossing psychological thriller with its incredible plot twist.

  | Introduction |

This is a dark and engrossing psychological thriller with an incredible plot twist! Anthony Wells is arrested for rape and child abuse; among other things, his arrest triggers media upheaval, a series of unforeseen events and most of all the return of the horrific memories Kate had buried deep down inside. While we witness Anthony’s mother Teresa struggle with her feelings of guilt and responsibility there is also Anthony’s wife and daughter to consider. Think about the impact it must have when your son, husband or father turns out to be a man the whole world regards as the ultimate scumbag. Are you still with me? Let me tell you a story.

| Storyline |

Anthony Wells is arrested on charges of rape and child abuse. His face is all over the media together with the stories about the horrible acts he allegedly committed. It is his arrest that triggers Kate’s memories to surface once again, the memories she had kept hidden inside for over twenty years. This proves to be extremely difficult, as Kate has fought for most of her life to keep her demons at bay, to not allow her experiences to influence her behaviour either towards her husband Steven or their two grown up children. Needless to say, Steven and their children are completely ignorant of Kate’s traumas in the past. She feels “the weight Anthony’s shadow has cast over me is suffocating.” Kate is struggling and can barely cope when all the memories resurface and she wonders whether perhaps now is the time to open up and confront her past, come forward with her story before “they twist my words and make out that I’m not entirely innocent.

Then there is Teresa who wishes she hadn’t picked up the phone – but she did and the terrible news is engraved in her mind. She cannot erase the shocking message nor undo or repair the mistakes she made in the past. From now on she is no longer Teresa but “the mother of that man.” Teresa feels as if her heart “has been ripped” from her chest as the memories and images of the past return. Her suspicions have been confirmed. Teresa is reliving the memories from the day Anthony was born and his youth: how she felt herself a failure as his mother. There is Anthony’s wife Jacky who everyone is convinced must have known about her husband’s criminal activities. Why didn’t she act, if only to protect her daughter? Slowly and painfully, a past is revealed seen through the eyes of Teresa, Jacky and Kate but still, we are kept in the dark as to what really happened.  Then, there is the impact of all this on the present..

| My Thoughts |

This is a well written and engrossing psychological suspense novel with an incredible plot twist. It was captivating and chilling to read. I had a bit of difficulty getting into the book because this first person narrative is being alternatively told from various protagonists’ perspectives. The more confusing, as the police case is seen through the eyes of the leading investigator Detective Inspector Silver – from his first person’s perspective. For me, the focus of the book centres around two main characters: Teresa and Kate. Through Kate’s actions, thoughts feelings and eyes, we perceive the influence of rape and abuse on a person’s life. Anthony Wells’ mother Teresa gives us insight into his upbringing and behaviour growing up.

In uncovering Teresa’s feelings the dilemma lies before us: nurture or nature? Is it Anthony’s upbringing or the fall on the head when he was just a baby or was it always in his nature? As unexpected as the plot twist was – it left me feeling bewildered and confused. I cannot say any more for fear of giving the plot away but I have been thinking it over and am still not happy with some of the protagonists’ conclusions whichever way I turn it, especially when it concerns the question of culpability and responsibility. The fact that a book gives you food for thought, considering guilt and innocence and people’s perceptions of events, is in my eyes a compliment to the author who had the courage to express people’s (sometimes questionable) points of view regarding the highly sensitive topics of abuse and rape.

| About the Author |

louisemullins

Louise Mullins is the author of five psychological crime thrillers and two historical crime novels, among which The Woman in the Woods (my review) and Beautiful Liar (my review). Next to her husband and children, reading and writing are important. Louise Mullins herself says about writing:If I couldn’t write, I’d be an irritable stress-head. Writing frees the mind, allows you to express yourself, releases your thoughts.

| Book Info |

 Paperback   277 pages
 Publisher   Independently published (2 Mar. 2017)
 Language   English
 ISBN-10  1520375883
 ISBN-13  978-1520375885

 

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