Between You and Me
Prepare to be lulled into a false sense of security. Nothing is quite as it seems in Lisa Hall’s debut novel, Between You and Me (published by Carina, 2016).
The psychological thriller tells the story of red flags in a relationship that, when left untamed, become the poison that eventually kill it. Some things are better abandoned before they really start. Former teacher Sal sees glimpses of Charlie’s controlling behaviour during the early days of their relationship and chooses to ignore them. What unravels is a story about two people who have become the worst versions of themselves.
Sal deteriorates at the hands of lawyer Charlie’s abuse, which thrives off dominance and manipulation. Looking after their young daughter, Maggie, keeps Sal going – what I’m afraid is a dark reality for some. Lisa Hall’s well-developed characters and gripping storyline get close to the bone and make for uncomfortable yet compelling reading, chapter by chapter.
Disagreements between spouses can be justified, can’t they? One must give the other real reason to be treated in such a callous and destructive way. They must. Lisa’s writing has the ability to convince the reader and confuse them throughout the book. When one chapter confirmed my beliefs, doubt seeped in the next.
My intrigue was constantly piqued as the book alternated between Sal’s and Charlie’s points of view. Though predictable at times, there was always a thirst to read what the opposing character made of a situation.
Feelings of anger, frustration and exasperation flooded through me as I tried to wrap my head around what can only be described as a marriage from hell. Prepare to laugh in disbelief and cry in fury.
I don’t say this lightly: I believe the twist is undetectable to 99% of people. It leaves you to question the entire book and truly comes out of left field. Chapters flashed through my mind and the feeling of unease and niggling doubts finally made sense. I was forced to sieve through the assumptions I had made throughout, even re-read parts. What was the overriding feeling once the exhilaration dissipated? Shame.
Hall leaves you with a very poignant message. Don’t judge a book until you know the full story, and reserve the same judgement for your peers. This book brings to light the bitter and twisted assumptions we are all conditioned to make.