The Bride by Wendy Clarke
Growing up I’m sure we all had this one best friend, the person we always hung out with, spoke on the phone for hours with and we knew we could always rely on. Over the years those kind of friendships change and evolve, just like our lives do. Life might take us in different directions and we might have lost touch. But what if that person contacted you again ten years down the line?
Not unthinkable in this day and age with social media and the communication tools available.
That is exactly what’s going on with Alice and Joanna. Ever since Alice set foot in the boarding school Joanna was already attending they became best friends and were inseparable. Until 10 years ago. They haven’t been in touch since, until unexpectedly Alice gets a message from Joanna in a time in her life when she could use a good friend.
Rekindling a Friendship
Joanna invites Alice to come meet her fiancé Mark. She’s inviting Alice to come spend the weekend with her in her apartment at the newly developed New Tobacco Wharf at Black Water Dock in London. Alice decides to take her up on her offer and drives down from Brighton to London to spend time with her childhood best friend and her new fiancé. But when Alice gets there Joanna isn’t home and Mark didn’t know she was coming. Nonetheless he invites her in to wait until Joanna gets back, after all it’s not uncommon for Joanna to just disappear like that for a day.
While Mark and Alice try to get to know each other while they wait for Joanna to return Mark drops a bombshell on Alice and admits Joanna is not gone for the day, she has been missing for a few days already. Scared for her friend and wanting to help, Alice decides to take Mark up on his request for her to stay and help find Joanna. A weekend turns into a week and still no word from Joanna until a clue shows up.
Where is Joanna? Who has taken her? Why isn’t Mark being completely honest to the police? Does he have something to do with her disappearance? Will Alice ever see her best friend again?
Page Turning Good
Wendy Clarke created a page turning psychological thriller with this one. From page one I was drawn into the story. The story starts with the ending, someone in a hospital bed not remembering much. But who is it and how did he or she get there?
Alice our protagonist is a bit of a fickle lady. She seems to suffer from some kind of anxiety and she has a bit of a naivety about her. There are certain things she does that I can understand someone doing in certain situations. But at other times I just want to tell her to wake up and realise her reactions and actions aren’t particularly normal.
Mark at first gave me the creeps. He seems so slick and a smooth talker, especially in the way he can make Alice do or say things. But is that really him, or is that just as much Alice? The more the story continues the more I seem to grow some kind of understanding for him.
As far as Joanna goes, I really felt for her at first. A woman who grew up an only child with wealthy parents that didn’t have too much time for her. She finally had made it away from her parents’ grip and found some happiness, joy and love in her life. But as time went on I realised she seemed to feel pretty entitled still because of who she is. It might be entirely possible she rubbed someone the wrong way who might be out for revenge. I don’t know, I can’t say I would want someone like her in my life let alone as a friend.
Overall Feeling of Dread
The other characters in the book added to the overall feeling of dread. Assumingly any one of them could have been responsible for what happened to Joanna. The setting of the beautiful New Tobacco Wharf apartment building in the Black Water Docks, the only lived in building in an otherwise very abandoned development site, adds to the overall feeling of doom and gloom.
Overall I think Wendy Clarke delivered another great book with a “got to know what happened” story line. I read this book in a few hours on the day the ARC was given to me. I can certainly recommend it for anyone who likes a good psychological thriller, a page turner and some plot twists. It wasn’t entirely perfect for me as I would have liked a bit more ruckus in the ending but at the same time it might leave open the door for a continuum of this story in a future book.
The Bride is available from May 20, 2020. Grab your copy here
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own