Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough #BookReview

“Once a cheat, always a cheat,” they say. Marcie Maddox has worked hard to get where she is after the illicit affair that started her new life a few years ago. But her world of country clubs, yachts and sumptuous houses in Savannah, Georgia, isn’t easy to maintain, no matter how hard she tries. Nor is keeping her husband, Jason, truly interested.

So, when Jason’s boss brings home a hot new wife from his trip to London, the young Mrs William Radford IV isn’t quite the souvenir everyone expected. Sexy, drop-dead gorgeous and black—Keisha quickly usurps Marcie’s place as the beautiful second wife. But when Marcie sees the extra spark in the room when Keisha and Jason are together and their obvious, magnetic attraction, the gloves come off.

Revenge is best served cold, but in the steamy Savannah heat, blood runs so hot that this summer it might just boil over into murder.

Title: Dead to Her | Author: Sarah Pinborough | Publisher: HarperCollins | Pages: 400 | ISBN: 9780062856821 | Publication date: 12th February 2020 | Source: NetGalley

I’m a huge fan of Sarah Pinborough’s audacious 2017 novel ‘Behind Her Eyes’ and was hoping for more of that brilliance in ‘Dead to Her’. Unfortunately, it lacks the insanity that made ‘Behind Her Eyes’ so great. That’s not to say it’s a bad book, it’s well written and intricately plotted, but I couldn’t help being a little disappointed when I finished it.
It tells the story of two women in Savannah, both second wives to successful men. Keisha is a young, black Londoner, the new spouse of ageing lawyer William. Marcie is an established part of the local elite. The two become rivals and events quickly escalate until a crime disrupts the polite social circle they inhabit.
There’s a lot in this book that’s great. Pinborough’s prose has never been better and she does a great job of painting the wealthy Southern community the book takes place in. The characters are believable and engaging and the in-fighting and bitchiness between them is entertaining. The two leads are particularly strong. Flighty, outspoken fish out of water Keisha and jealous Marcie are credible and fun to read. The twists and turns of the relationship between the two women are gripping and make for a page turning read. As the story unfolds, Pinborough throws in numerous mystery elements, which kept me guessing. There are hints at secret pasts, voodoo and other supernatural elements all swirling in the mix.
The problem is that the final quarter of the book that ties all these threads together is unsatisfying and feels a little contrived. The final explanation of the events makes perfect sense, with clues skilfully seeded throughout the rest of the book. It just wasn’t the ending I was hoping for. There are twists and turns aplenty along the way and the book is never less than entertaining, but it lacks a knockout punch.

3/5

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