The Vanishing Year Book Review

The Vanishing Year Book Review

What is this about?: Zoe’s life is unravelling, and not for the first time. This is a book about Zoe’s past and what led her to her present position: married to one of the most eligible bachelors in NYC. Her life seems perfect, but something is missing: Zoe wants to continue her search for her real mother, much to her husband’s dislike.

What else is this about?: Zoe’s search for her family, for her mother and her past grow in importance through the book from what seems like an innocuous beginning.

Stars: 2.5

Should you read: Despite some good points, I would say NO. Hell no. Gawd, don’t put yourself through this.

Blurb: Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

The Vanishing Year combines the classic sophistication of Ruth Rendell and A.S.A. Harrison with the thoroughly modern flair of Jessica Knoll. Told from the point-of-view of a heroine who is as relatable as she is enigmatic, The Vanishing Year is an unforgettable new novel by a rising star of the genre.

The Vanishing Year starts off well enough, but slowly loses steam. I hoped desperately that the author might rescue this book, but the contrived nonsense in the end was just bad.

Zoe is struggling to assert herself in a marriage to Henry, on of the most eligible bachelors in the city. The book tells us about their whirlwind romance, and why Zoe fell for him and wanted the security he afforded after delving into her past and what brought her to New York under a different name. But, now she’s starting to want to return to her search for her birth mother, much to Henry’s disdain.

Henry’s control over Zoe is subtle, and something she’s just beginning to realise it herself. Her search for her mother takes her into her past, to former friends and workplaces who point out his control over her since they’ve been married.

Had this been a story about a woman trying to reassert herself in a subtly abusive marriage, this might be better, but pulling Zoe’s past and her mother into the story is just contrived.

In the end, this is just terribly disappointing. What book have you read where the author is trying too hard to be AHA TWIST and it’s just contrived? Because that’s where I am with this one. Which is worse: a bad twist or contrived writing that thinks it’s twisty?


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