By Ruth Ware; reviewed by Jeannette Hartman
Ten years ago Hannah Jones’ roommate and best friend April Clarke-Cliveden was murdered in their suite at Pelham College at Oxford University. Hannah discovered the body.
Her testimony helped convict former college porter John Neville. Recently, Neville, ill, frail and still protesting his innocence, died in prison.
Hannah’s husband Will, once April’s boyfriend, believes the past can now be set to rest. They can at last look forward to the future and the upcoming birth of their baby.
But Hannah isn’t so sure. She’s even less so when a journalist, referred to her by one of her college friends, reminds her of what was missing from Neville’s conviction: motive and DNA evidence. Add to that the fact that April was pregnant and on bad terms with most of the closest people in her life and Neville’s conviction doesn’t make sense.
Against the advice of Will and all of their college friends, Hannah becomes obsessed with proving whether Neville was innocent or guilty.
In true Ruth Ware style, this story has more twists and turns than a luge course. Just as Hannah’s life has been divided into “before” April’s murder and “after,” Ware tells her story in chapters that alternate from Hannah’s days at Pelham to her life in Edinburgh where she fled at the end of her first year of college.
As with many of Ware’s stories, this one is a contrast between the innocent and insecure Hannah and the glamorous, manipulative and self-centered April.
One of the challenges of this story is that Hannah is so blind to April’s dark side. After April’s murder, she left college, never earned a degree, fled Oxford and moved to Edinburgh. But part of her has never let go of the past or grown beyond it. The first half of this book seems more regretful than suspenseful.
The pace picks up toward the last half of the book. Every time you think you’ve figured out who killed April, you find yourself proven wrong.
This is an entertaining read. You always know what you’re going to get in a Ruth Ware book and this one does not disappoint.
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