Review of Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

Between you and me

Between You and Me is cast as a psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming and whilst many seem to have done just that, I was not one of those people. Maybe it’s because when I read, I truly allow myself to suspend belief and become immersed in what the writer has crafted. Or maybe I’m just gullible 🙂

The subject deals with the reality of living with domestic abuse. To the outside world, Sal and Charlie are a happily married couple with a beautiful daughter, Maggie. Whist Charlie goes out to work as a corporate lawyer, Sal stays at home to take care of their daughter. However, on the inside, Sal’s life is very different.

The story starts with a prologue which, I’ve mentioned before I’m not a big fan of, but once I reached the end of the book, I understood why the writer had to insert one.

The book is written in first person, and from both Sal and Charlie’s point of view. Whilst that can sometimes be confusing for the reader, Sal and Charlie’s voices were very different, and therefore, it worked. You didn’t need to keep referring back to the start of the chapter to find out whose viewpoint you were ready, so well done to the author for achieving success in a tricky writing style.

It is also written diary style which, I’m afraid, I found a little repetitive, although it was interesting to see how the same incident looked so different from two perspectives, and how Charlie is able to justify the behaviour shown to Sal.

The one thing I did have trouble with was the layout of the book. In traditional publishing, scene breaks are demonstrated by a gap in the prose, with paragraph indents at the beginning of sentences (apart from the start of chapters and following a scene break), but Between You and Me did not follow this traditional style. Everything was left-aligned, with  paragraphs being separated by a gap usually held for scene breaks. I’m not sure whether this was an issue with Kindle formatting, or purposely intended as a pioneer to break the traditional style. If it is the former, I would urge the writer to re-format the e-book. If it’s the latter, well, maybe I’m not yet ready to let go of tradition.

Anything which raises the terrible issue of domestic abuse gets my vote, and whilst I wouldn’t add this book to my favourite’s list, the writer does a good job at showing how slowly the abuse builds up, almost without the abused noticing, until it becomes the norm, and how difficult it can be to ask for help, due to fear and embarrassment.

For those asking whether I would recommend this book, I would say yes. From the reviews online, it does seem to be one of those novels that really splits opinion and therefore, others views probably aren’t the best way to choose whether or not to read in this case.

So read, enjoy, and make up your own mind.

Three stars.

 

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2 thoughts on “Review of Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

  1. That’s interesting – I often look at the reviews of the top sellers and, alas, all the negative ones gave away the ‘twist you won’t see coming’, so I wouldn’t bother to read it now. It’s selling so well that I am sure Lisa Hall can deal with them all, anyway!

    It’s always interesting to see readers’ opinions of prologues – many seem to dislike them. I think the temptation can be to write one that means something wildly profound and meaningful once you’ve read the book, but, of course, means very little to a new reader!!! I think they should tell a story in themselves, so that they’re not just a page or two of confusing ‘what’s this supposed to be about??’ stuff!!

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    1. What a shame people do that. I try to write my reviews without giving anything away, unless I put a great big SPOILER ALERT at the top for that very reason.
      There will always be negative feedback – you can’t please everyone – and I’m still delighted to have read this book.
      And yes, Terry, what an inciteful comment you made about prologues. You described perfectly how I felt about this particular prologue. I totally understand why Lisa would need it, and it made perfect sense to me in the end, but at the time, it was a little confusing for me as the reader as to the purpose.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I adore your blogs so delighted you took the time to visit mine

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