What is going on between the covers
Gabe and Pippa moved to a house backing onto a seaside cliff known as The Drop. Over the last year of living there, Gabe has talked several people out of jumping off the cliff and has become somewhat of a local celebrity for doing so. One morning Gabe rushes out to a woman standing near the edge and he isn’t successful in stopping her from falling to her death. Turns out this woman isn’t a stranger he was trying to save. She and Gabe have a history… ~Lindsay
The Soulmates explores the darker messy sides of marriage, soulmates, betrayal, secrets, and murder through two couples, Pippa/Gabe and Amanda/Max, opening up questions about who the soulmates are. There is nothing romantic about this story, as themes of mental illness and suicide are used as plot devices. I received a widget as many people did each of her new releases. There is plenty of hype and buzz for her book, and while I am not one for hype, I am a fan of the author and her work. So I downloaded it without reading the story’s summary and avoided the hype. When I went to read the book, I realized that the story was centered around a cliff, The Drop, where people died by suicide. I am sensitive to suicide and mental illness being used as plot devices. I almost didn’t read this one, but I trusted the author could pull off a story using it, and she did.~ Brenda
I also received an audiobook from the publisher and enjoyed listening to and reading the story. Pippa and Amanda narrate the story with two performers telling the story. I enjoyed listening to both.
Lindsay’s two cents
I LOVED this multiple perspective book! It was fresh, timely, fast-paced and gripping! The short chapters had me flying through the book and never wanting to put it down. It was so easy to get lost in. I was literally hooked and invested from chapter one right until the very last page. The characters were all so unique and endearing in their own way. I loved each of their side stories that brought enough background detail to the storyline to make me feel invested in them, yet didn’t distract me from the main plot. The Past and Present timelines flowed seamlessly. The suspense, atmosphere and tension were consistent throughout the novel, never ceasing to keep me curious and intrigued.
This novel deals with some heavy topics surrounding mental health. I thought the author did an excellent job with this aspect of the storyline — it was my main takeaway from the book. It was eye-opening, informative and easy for the reader to relate and feel for the characters.
I highly recommend this to readers who enjoy domestic dramas and atmospheric thrillers. Thank you to the publisher for my review copy!
Brenda’s two cents
While I imagined The Drop, I could visualize the cliffs I visited in Ireland, and while I was there, I took a moment to acknowledge that some of the people who “fell” could have been people who jumped and gave a silent moment of thoughts for the souls lost to the sea. So the story felt very real to me. What I didn’t think about was what if there was someone there who listened, understood, and talked to them. That someone is Gabe in the story. There is something about Gabe that can speak to people, listen, and understand.
I am a sucker for the dead narrator and the mystery of their death, and I enjoyed Amanda’s POV of view the best as themes of marriage and betrayal are explored. Pippa’s storyline is a bit more complex and drawn out well as she chronics the ups and downs of her marriage. We see the couple’s different conflicts in their marriages. I doubted if I would like how it all came together; however, I loved the twists I did not see coming, and while there were a couple of things I didn’t like, it all came together well with a satisfying payoff.
While I don’t like mental illness and suicide used as a plot device, there is a believability element that might not seem oblivious, earning some praise from this sensitive reader.
Overall: The Soulmate is a fast-paced, well-developed story with exciting twists that had me glued to the pages.
Expected date of publication is April 4, 2023 and it’s not to be missed!!
More books by Sally Hepworth
The Younger Wife
Brenda’s two cents
I think every author can have that one-off book that didn’t work and feel like they didn’t write it, and this is Sally Hepworth’s. However, she is still a rock star to me and an author with staying power!!
I had an ARC for The Younger Wife on my shelf for quite some time and decided to wait till it was published to listen to the finished copy with the changes to the ending. Then I lost interest in reading another book about the younger wife and older Dad with daughters, but after reading and loving The Soulmates I decided to give it a try. However, it’s not just that familiar trope; Sally Hepworth gives us something a little different from the character. Heather, the younger wife, is not that typical unlikable, golddigger, trophy-annoying character. She is likable and someone I was rooting for. There is a rags-to-riches trope; however, the younger wife arc is not the driving force here. It’s all about Stephen, the “older husband,” who has some secrets he has been manipulating, and now his daughters Tully, Rachel, and Heather just might be catching on to them, creating some suspense as to who to trust with a little mystery to the story.
The story is told through Heather, Tully, and Rachel, each with different performers narrating their stories. I always love listening to the different voices of the characters, and that creates a better connection to the characters for me.
Tully and Rachel have compelling stories with their own conflicts to overcome, and I loved the themes explored in both, each being a little different from the same old. However, instead of putting me in their shoes, their storylines could have done better at creating the layers needed to understand what motivated those conflicts. It felt soapy and unrealistic, taking away that believability element that it could be happening to the characters required to care about the characters.
The ending was a big deal for some reason I missed, and Sally Hepworth changed it from the early copies. I went back and read the ARC’s end, and I liked how things wrapped up better in the finished copy. There were still a few things I wanted clearer, and after thinking about it, I was satisfied but was hoping for a more rewarding payoff.
Overall I enjoyed listening to the story and wanted to continue until I was done.
Lindsay’s two cents
Family drama with WAY too much going on.
It pains me to rate a book by this author so low as I usually adore her books. However, this was a complete miss for me. I had no sense of connection or investment in any part of this storyline. I knew from the very start I wasn’t connecting with the characters but I pushed ahead thinking it would turn around and I just needed to give it time. Unfortunately the novel progressively got worse as I read on and I should have DNF’d.
The prologue was unique and interesting but had a soap opera feel to it which is a feeling that stayed with me until the end of the book. The characters and dialogue came across as forced, cheesy and unrealistic which kept me distanced. I was not bought into anything that happened.
There were far too many major themes going on in these characters lives with none of them being fully explored or fleshed out. Several characters had major lifelong issues that came out within the pages of this story and it was all very cliche and predictable.
Published April, 2022
The Good Sister
Lindsay’s two cents
Rose and Fern are twin sisters. Rose is strong and determined. Fern is quirky, socially awkward and a literal thinker. Rose has always been Fern’s “protector” which started in childhood and has continued on into their adult years.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these unforgettable characters. The various relationship dynamics were a fascinating and stand-out aspect of this storyline for me. I especially loved, Fern. She is one of the most outstanding characters I’ve “met” in a long time!
There is so much to love about this book! The library setting (Fern works at a library). The unique and intriguing characters. The family dynamics. The smooth and engrossing writing. The changing perspectives. The witty and perfectly paced narratives.
I devoured this book without realizing how quickly I was reading. I couldn’t put it down and didn’t want it to end. The writing was exceptional and kept me engrossed and curious.
My one teeny tiny critique is that a few plot points near the end of the novel seemed implausible but my intense connection to the storyline and my investment in the characters outweighed that. I loved this author before I started this book and this novel made me even more of a fan. I highly recommend!
Brenda’s two cents
The Good Sister is another one of those overhyped books but does not need any hype because Sally Hepworth can stand on her own. I have not read all her books but have read her last two books before this one and loved them all. She has established her place and style as a great story writer!! I have been struggling a bit with overhyped books breaking my reading groove and I was worried this was going to be another book that didn’t “live up to the hype”. I had nothing to worry about because Sally Hepworth writing is captivating with characters that are easy to connect with.
I found all of her books well-crafted stories with compelling family dynamics, themes and plots that are brilliantly delivered. Her characters are interesting and unforgettable characters that I still think about, and Fern and Rose will be too. The drama to the stories is engaging and adds enough suspense to drive the stories forward.
The Good Sister explores the dynamics between very different twin sisters. It is well-layered with not what I would call twists but turns to the story that might feel predictable but are perfectly paced and layered to pull the story together. There is a bit of trope here with the good sister and bad sister, however, it’s fresh and exciting, and Fern and Rose are unique, compelling and fascinating characters.
I did have a teeny tiny struggle with buying into some parts of that very, very bad thing Fern did, however I did like how it all wrapped up.
Published April, 2021
Brenda’s two cents
Fractured relationships, complicated Mother-in-law, suicide or murder and family secrets.
The Mother-In-Law is a compelling, multilayered, clever, and suspenseful domestic mystery that felt more like contemporary fiction that explores more the dynamics within the character than the mystery involving a suspicious death. There is a lot to explore and think about here with the depth to these characters.
The story is told in the POV of the mother-in-law Diana and her daughter-in-law, Lucy. We see more of their deeper thoughts through their POV and as we come to understand them and their relationship. Diana is one of the most interesting characters I have read about with a lot to her then what you see on the surface. She made for a great character to explore and talk about.
I devoured this one as fast as I could and was completely drawn into the lives of these characters. I turned those pages as fast as I could and then slowly took in all the depth and layers to the characters.
The Mother-In-Law is a great thought-provoking story that brought out some different views of the characters and their dynamics. For me, that is what makes a story so well layered is the many things it leaves you to think, explore and discuss and the Mother-in-Law sure did that for us.
Lindsay’s two cents
A twisty, addictive, suspense-filled family drama!
Lucy yearns to connect with her mother-in-law Diana. Having lost her own mother, she craves a maternal connection. However, Diana has always kept Lucy an arm’s length away – always being kind and available, but never quite embracing her with warmth and welcome into the family.
The police knock on Lucy’s door one evening to inform her and her husband, Ollie, that Diana was found dead in her home, a suicide note tucked into her desk drawer. Left in devastating shock, Lucy and Ollie, along with Ollie’s sister and husband are left to pick up the pieces of their mother’s life. Diana was a wealthy and well-respected community figure who lived alone, having lost her loving husband years prior. As the days progress, several details come to light surrounding Diana’s death. The police come back to question Lucy and Ollie. Everything Lucy thought she knew about her husband and his family is challenged. Was Diana’s death truly a suicide? Did someone want Diana dead?
I loved the pace and flow of this novel. It is narrated by several characters, all of which held an intricate perspective to the story. It was an engrossing, truly addictive journey that I hungrily devoured, my mind flip flopping between possibilities of scenarios of what actually happened. This book kept me on my toes, my suspicions thrown all over the place, flipping those pages as fast as possible. I am a big fan of the author, Sally Hepworth’s, writing. I’ve read and enjoyed several of her books and look forward to what she has in the future.
Published: April, 2019
The Family Next Door
Brenda’s two cents
The Family Next Door is an entertaining, emotional, compelling, and suspenseful domestic thriller that explores the secrets, deceits, and lies of five women who live in a small seemly perfect suburban neighborhood.
Sally Hepworth does a good job creating a group of interesting women here with all the secrets and conflicts in their lives and relationships. She also does a great job showing us how the conflicts affected the men in the story, allowing us to feel for them as well.
I love these types of stories and find them fascinating and often wonder what goes on behind those closed curtains in peoples homes. I enjoyed pulling back the curtains and discovering the layers of secrets as they were revealed leaving us all shocked with a twist that we didn’t see coming.
Published March, 2018