The Move by Felicity Everett ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Welcome to my final blog tour of 2019. Thank you to HQ Stories for the invitation to take part in the blog tour and for the gifted copy of this book.

SYNOPSIS:

Can you paint over the cracks in a marriage?

Karen has packed up her life and is making The Move. She’s on her way to the idyllic country cottage which her husband has painstakingly renovated for her. They’re escaping the London bustle and daily grind. And they’re escaping their past.

A fresh start in a beautiful, peaceful village. It will be different here, right?

But something is awry. The landscape, breathtaking by day, is eerie by night. The longed-for peace and solitude is stifling. And the house, so artfully put together by her husband, has a strange vibe. Now that Karen is cut off from her old friends and family, she can’t help wondering if her husband has plans of his own, and that history might be repeating itself.    

From the author of The People at Number 9 comes a dark and redemptive tale of a rural dream gone wrong…

MY REVIEW: 

Karen is recovering from a breakdown and is still struggling with her mental health when she and her husband Nick move from London to an idyllic country cottage. He has done the place up, including building her a studio for her pottery, to try and aid her recovery. Despite this, Karen is still walking on eggshells around Nick and struggling to trust him after his betrayal that led to her mental breakdown. She is also missing her best friend Jude and the familiarity of life back in London. But she is determined to give this a chance as Nick has made a real effort to change and help her in her recovery, so she tries to push aside the nagging doubts and mistrust.

Using her pottery as catharsis, she begins to create again and finds a new style that fits her new life and begins to make friends in the village, bonding in particular to their neighbour Cath. At the same time, sinister things begin to happen – their car tyre is punctured, the kiln doesn’t switch off and all her pots are ruined – and Karen thinks that someone is out to get her, that maybe Nick is up to his old tricks and his lover is lashing out. But Nick tells her she’s imagining things, that it’s her medication side effects making her forgetful. At first she believes him, but she begins to notice things that make her question what he says, and she is increasingly sure that Nick isn’t the perfect husband he is making himself out to be.

This readable and enjoyable book took me by surprise. Though there was an air of foreboding and some sinister occurrences, it wasn’t the dramatic and intense domestic thriller I was expecting, and was instead a mysterious and fascinating character study and domestic drama. All the characters were well developed, three dimensional and believable, which made it hard to read at times as my heart broke for Karen and I seethed at Nick.

I related to Karen as we’ve been through similar things and I had a lot of empathy for her. I know how it feels to doubt your sanity because an abusive spouse tells you you’re crazy and how much harder it is to recover from real mental illness when in that toxic environment. I wanted to go into the book and tell her my story, help her see she isn’t alone or imagining all the things she’s experiencing, and help her find the strength to see she deserves so much more. I was glad to see her friendship with Cathy develop as she was a no-nonsense character who wasn’t afraid to tell Karen what she saw behind the mask while also allowing Karen to arrive at things in her own time while she was there for support. Karen was able to open up to Cath in a way she hadn’t with anyone else before and starts to see the truth of her situation and her real feelings, instead of the things she’s been conditioned to believe. I loved seeing Karen find herself as the story went on and think her new friendship played a vital role in that.

Nick was a well-written example of subtle control and abuse. He had the charm thing down to a fine art with everyone else while chipping away at Karen’s self esteem and breaking her down. It was hard to read how she believed what he said and that she deserved the way he treated her, especially when he turned her breakdown into something that was her fault rather than the result of his affair. I was rooting for her to see the truth and break free from the toxicity of their relationship.

This was the first book I’ve read by this author and I will definitely read more. I loved her writing style, the complexities of the plot, and how she was able to use imagery to make the landscape seem more beautiful or ominous to the reader. She also had a talent for putting me in Karen’s shoes and making me feel whatever she did, which made me fully immersed in the story and invested in the outcome. The only complaint I have about this book is that I felt like the story ended too abruptly. There were a lot of unanswered questions and I would have liked to see what happened next for Karen and some of the other characters.

The Move is a steadily paced, character-driven novel that explores the intricacies of mental illness and abusive relationships. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy general fiction.

Published on January 23rd, 2020 – Kindle

Published on August 20th, 2020 – Paperback

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Felicity Everett grew up in Manchester, lived, worked and raised her family of four in London and returned from a four year spell in Melbourne, Australia to live in Gloucestershire in 2014. After an early career in children’s publishing and freelance writing, she published her debut adult novel The Story of Us in 2011. Her second novel, The People at Number 9 was published in 2017.

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