Ellen has made a career out of helping her hypnotherapy clients understand and confront their behaviour. So when she starts dating handsome widower Patrick, Ellen is fascinated to discover that he's being stalked by his ex-girlfriend Saskia. Intrigued, Ellen finds herself longing to meet this woman - without realising she already has.
Saskia has spent the last few years refusing to move on from Patrick. And if they're no longer together, then the next best thing is to get as close as possible to the new woman who has replaced her. At least then Saskia can still be part of their story.
But it's a fine line between love and obsession. And when Ellen and Saskia's lives collide, both women must decide how far they are prepared to go in the name of love...
Comment: Since I'm always on the look out for titles that catch my eye, this one fit the bill for some reason and this month I finally got it to be read. I confess, considering the hype around the author's work and the way this book started, that I expected something to happen. Eventually. The problem is that the waiting did not pay off.
In this book we meet Ellen, an hypnotherapist who recently met a man through an online dating site and they are in their latest date when the story begins. This is also the moment where Patrick tells Ellen about his stalker, an ex girlfriend who just can't seem to stop following him and how that affects his life.
Ellen doesn't seem worried, in fact she is actually eager to know this stalker but the more time she spends with Patrick, the more doubts she has if he is the man for her. Along with some other issues - and people - coming to be part of her life right now, can Ellen cope with al the pressures around her?
Like I said, the waiting for something to happen never paid off in this book. I admit it took me long to read it because it didn't seem to be engaging al the time but the premise that something would happen, namely concerning the stalker's presence in the romance, was never acted on! Saskia, the stalker, was a part of the plot, she is the narrator in almost half the story but the apparent twist about this situation never materializes!
I even got to the point of suspecting this would go towards a suspense scenario and the real explanation was different but the reality is that, secondary situations aside, this story is very plainly a chick lit story about second chances. Nothing more. There's no twist. There's no surprise. There's no peak, no a-ha moment that can make it valid to assume something big would happen at the end because nothing does.
This means that, for the expectations I had based on how the author was giving up vibe after vibe, this was a let down.
The story isn't too bad and Ellen as protagonist is likable and represents traits in modern women for sure but she also acted a bit too nicely at times. Her job isn't something one often finds in fiction but it provided interesting ideas and situations.
I liked how Ellen was not a perfect woman, always doing everything without any doubt. She has flaws and this is probably why the story is readable, otherwise this would feel like a huge loss of time.
This is a romance as well and part of the conflict revolves around the relationship between Ellen and Patrick and how each one sees the other, especially how they both compare one other to their exes or former partners and why they think thy should suit now.
I just think that, from a romantic POV, their relationship wasn't very passionate nor addictive to read about. Everything else aside, Ellen and Patrick as a committed couple just didn't seem to be romantically suited. I think their relationship was realistic but not special and that made the reading a little boring at times.
Saskia is the stalker and I thought her parts were actually the best ones. Saskia often thinks in a very realistic but approachable manner, she is not a crazy person, only got caught up in a weird cycle that has affected her life but every little sentence she describes about her thoughts and state of mind make sense. I actually looked for all her parts the most. The philosophic and random things related to Saskia do seem quite interesting and always seemed to have a deeper meaning.
This is why there is some missing detail in the whole book... such a great opportunity to do something and at the end, the point to be made by this novel was basic and lacked impact so I can't understand why the book was structured this way.
All in all, a great first experience reading the author's work but I can't say I feel I was surprised to the point of needing to red more by the author. I've read that this is one of her weakest books so I might in the future but not right now...