Second Life- S J Watson
I’m always really nervous reading a book when the last thing I read by the same author was amazing.
Before I Go to Sleep, Watson’s last book, was unputdownable, though the film, featuring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, was a humungous let down and shouldn’t be a reflection on the book at all. It’s sadder cos Firth plays a baddy and I can’t really shake the image of him in a Christmas jumper a la Bridget Jones.
Second Life tells the story of Julia, who in mourning for her murdered sister, who’s son she’s adopted and brought up, ends up in the shady world of internet hook ups which doesn’t turn out to be quite as no-strings-attached as she hoped.
A real page turner, you’re drawn in to Julia’s story, her troublesome affair, her complicated relationship with her adopted son/nephew, an intriguing figure from her past and her battle with alcoholism. Hugh, Her extremely middle class husband is kinda grating and you can see why she’s seduced by her toy boy.
Watson explores a few dark taboos here, rape fantasy being one of them, and setting it against the world of internet hook ups, a murder and juxtaposed against the traditional City of Love, Paris, where here sister gets murdered, makes it a really interesting narrative.
This had me reading till the very last page before I could allow myself to sleep and let me tell you, the ending is a full on shocker but really, really unsatisfying. It had me grinding my teeth in frustration, desperate to know what the final outcome was. I suppose Watson’s leaves you thinking about the novel which is a good thing for me, but when it’s 3.13 am in the morning, it kinda sucks that you don’t have a neat little ending so you can turn the light off, and your mind off too and conk out. Instead it had me turning around various scenarios in my head debating what might have been.
Also, Marcus sounds like he would’ve been H-O-T. Dirty lil scoundrel though!
Four stars ****
Buy your copy here.