4.5 star

Review: The End of Her by Shari Lapena

It starts with a shocking accusation…

Stephanie and Patrick are recently married, with new-born twins. While Stephanie struggles with the disorienting effects of sleep deprivation, there’s one thing she knows for certain – she has everything she ever wanted.

Then a woman from his past arrives and makes a shocking accusation about his first wife. He always claimed her death was an accident – but she says it was murder.

He insists he’s innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. But is Patrick telling the truth? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake?

Okay, so I have a new Shari Lapena favourite now. It has all the things we all know and love: incredibly fast-paced suspense, psychologically thrilling, and her signature short sentences. Except this time I felt it was much more refined, and more of what I wanted from her style. Considering it was published in 2020, perhaps over time there was adaptation. I certainly really enjoyed this one!

The End of Her revolves already a fairly simple plot. The main protagonists, Stephanie and Patrick, are happily married with twin babies who are now colic and messing with their lives. Suddenly, an unsavory character from the husband’s past comes back with all sorts of accusations—problem is, are they true? As the accusations start to take a toll on their marriage, just who is really telling the truth?

The characters in this thriller were fairly believable, but for the most part unlikeable. That actually may have helped the suspense though, trying to sift through the lesser of so many evils. No particular character is truly that pitiable except perhaps Stephanie, but I didn’t mind that too much. Their motives and consistency were overall pretty good, and I didn’t have too much trouble with accepting all the characters at face value.

The suspense was also great. I mean I’ve never really complained about Lapena’s work in this department, but I just wanted to reiterate it here. Super fast-paced, I read this in two short sittings. Her usual abrupt sentences are present once again here, but this time I really appreciated it. In the past I found them a little bit jarring and sometimes distracted from the story. I don’t know if there was truly any change but in this novel I found that it was the right length of sentences and correct frequency of use as well.

The plot itself was believable…ish. I think some complaints were that it was a bit out there sometimes. But in my opinion total believability isn’t paramount. It can still be extremely suspenseful and thrilling, and as long as the characters are acting consistently with their personas, I generally give the author a lot of leeway in designing plots. While I didn’t totally predict the whole ending, I did predict some parts correctly, but this didn’t take away from it—after all, half the suspense was based around this main mystery.

Overall Recommendations

The End of Her is a very fast-paced thriller which follows the crumbling marriage of a couple, with twin babies tiring them out, and an old friend coming to disrupt their lives. It’s he says she says, and poor Stephanie does not know who to believe. Just how well does she know her husband? As more and more of the past surfaces up, the facts just get more and more messy. Follow this exciting and riveting thriller from beginning to finish!

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