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** My thanks to Thomas and Mercer & Netgalley for my copy of this book **

 

Description:

When Catherine wakes up alone one morning, she thinks her husband has gone for a run before work. But Simon never makes it to the office. His running shoes are by the front door. Nothing is missing—except him.

Catherine knows Simon must be in trouble. He wouldn’t just leave her. He wouldn’t leave the children.

But Simon knows the truth—about why he left and what he’s done. He knows things about his marriage that it would kill Catherine to find out. The memories she holds onto are lies.

While Catherine faces a dark new reality at home, Simon’s halfway around the world, alive and thriving. He’s doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the truth.

But he can’t hide forever, and when he reappears twenty-five years later, Catherine will finally learn who he is.

And wish she’d stayed in the dark.

My Thoughts & Review:

The very description of this book intrigued me, what would I do in the position of the main character Catherine?  How does she go on?  What thoughts are running through her mind when she discovers her husband has gone and never returns?  Also, what drives Simon to do this?  So much about this book just screamed “READ ME”.

The book opens on the day that Simon walks out of his life and the reader then sees the impact this has on his friends and family, watching the ground beneath their feet crumble and their lives are inexplicably changed.  But we also experience the life that Simon goes on to lead in the 25 years he spends estranged from his family before returning “home”, and allowing Catherine to find out who he really is and his reasons for leaving like he did.

From the outset, my heart went out to Catherine.  How awful it must have been for her to try and hold things together for the sake of her children whilst wanting to curl up and stop living.  Her marriage had some issues, and life wasn’t always easy with small children around but she thought that things were stable, that life was ok and that she and Simon were ok.  Not knowing that all the while that Simon had an ulterior motive, that he was planning to walk out on them all and not look back and leave them to try and pick up the pieces and get on with life.  From that moment I didn’t like Simon, I couldn’t help but feel a hatred towards him, yes I admit, I hadn’t read all of his story yet to find out what was driving his decisions but part of me didn’t want to find out.  Part of me wanted to stop reading there and then, I didn’t want Simon’s company, the spectre of him sitting on my shoulder as I read more about him.
I did however read on, more for the sake of finding out if Catherine and the kids managed to turn things around and move on.
It’s always a good sign if an author can evoke such strong emotions from their readers with the characterisation in their books and I have to admit that John Marrs has done that with When You Disappeared, he seems to have found a formula in his writing that makes readers hate characters but at the same time feel that they aren’t 100% sure of their gut instinct, keeping them questioning whether there may be an underlying story that might just save a character…….

Narrated from alternating perspectives, readers experience the lives of both Simon and Catherine, seeing how their lives have progressed in the intervening 25 years, leading up to the moment that they meet again.  I did feel that it pulled at my attention somewhat, the jumping back and forth between the two main characters did feel a little disjointed but it did add to the overall suspense and intrigue so kept me on my toes.  The pace felt that it matched the plot well, not an adrenaline packed, fast paced read, but more a slow build to increase the tension levels and keep readers wondering what might happen.

A very interesting and original plot with some incredibly well created characters that will test your resolve!

This book was previously published as The Wronged Sons.

You can buy a copy of When You Disappeared via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

 

 

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