I See You by Clare Mackintosh

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I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I had seen I See You in just about every book review article over the summer. I was going to take it on holiday but due to the fact that the book weighs a tonne and I cannot pack lightly I decided against it.

Zoe Walker is a middle aged divorcee, with two children and working a job she hates just to pay the bills. She lives with her partner Simon, her daughter – a wannabe actress and her son who is your typical lazy teen who works for their glamourous next door neighbour in her café empire in London.

 

Travelling on the tube to work Zoe sees her picture in the classified section of a newspaper (her picture is actually as an advertisement for a dating line) and immediately sets about trying to discover why her picture is there. Her family are convinced it’s someone who looks like her but when she looks at newspapers over the previous few days she realises the faces featured have gone on to be the victims of crime – one is burgled, the other murdered.

Running parallel to this story is that of Kelly a police officer who is returning to the beat after assaulting her sister’s rapist. Kelly takes on Zoe’s case and fights tooth and nail to get to the bottom of it.

Zoe ends up losing her mind; she has to take time off from work and accuses everyone of being the culprits from her daughter’s boyfriend to Simon.

Throughout the novel Melissa, the glamourous next door neighbour keeps popping up as the angel figure – she’s babysat Zoe’s kids, she’s offered one of them a job and she’s listened as Zoe breaks down and thinks a man is following her on the tube.

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So obviously it was Melissa who is behind the picture in the paper and the malicious attacks. Her little business on the side works by men seeing Zoe’s or the victim’s picture in the paper and ringing the number beside it. They pay a fee and for this they are given the victim’s daily commute route on the tube so they can follow them.

Melissa shows no remorse and holds Zoe captive whilst she reveals Zoe’s daughter in the latest to have her picture in the paper and makes her set off on her usual route, while Zoe tied to a chair, watches helplessly as her daughter is followed. Luckily she’s intercepted by the transport police however Melissa and Zoe ended up in a fight with the latter killing her next door neighbour, however this is later deemed self-defence.

I found the whole concept of Melissa’s business slightly strange and at times a bit unbelievable but on the whole the book had me on the edge of my seat. Its definitely one you want to read as quickly as possible!

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The Muse by Jessie Burton

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The Muse by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist was a book which we will look back on in 20 years’ time and it will be one of those contemporary novels you study in education or one of those where we think what on earth was that all about. Even 18 months after reading it I still can’t make up my mind about it.

There has been a lot less hype (I think) about The Muse. I decided to give it a try and see if it was as odd as Jessie Burton’s last offering.

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Set between 1930s Spain and 1960s London the story focuses on a set of paintings from the enigma Isaac.

Odelle is just starting her career in 1960s London from the Caribbean and gets a job a typist for the weirdly wonderfully Madame Quick. She meets the dashing Lawrie at a wedding and the two loosely become romantically involved. He manages to get his hand on a painting which he believes is of worth. He has it valued by one of Madame Quick’s friends, an Edmund Reid who believes it is one of the rare paintings by Isaac.

Flip to 1930s Spain and Olive lives with her English parents, Harold and Sarah. Harold, an art dealer, takes a fine fascination in a painting which he believes Isaac, a home hope with his sister Teresa, produced. It was actually painted by Olive who has an place at art school but believes her parents wouldn’t approve. Being a female artist at that time wouldn’t have suited so Olive sees this as the only chance to show her work. Another painting follows as does a romance with the dark and brooding Isaac. The paintings sell for big money and make Harold happy. Isaac however is no angel and sets the local church on fire.

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War breaks out and Malaga is no longer the safe haven Olive has always known. Their relationship falls apart when Olive and her family refuse to leave Spain for England. Isaac torches his father’s house and soon people from the Malaga come after him for the damaged he’s caused. Teresa refuses to give him up even when she’s torched in front of the town by her father’s friends. Olive still holds love for Isaac and Teresa tells her of his locations. Olive goes to the hills to find him only to be greeted by a naked Isaac with her pregnant mother. Olive shoots Isaac and in the process of running away is shot herself by Isaac’s father’s friends.

Fast forward to 1960s London and when staying at Lawrie’s step father’s house we learn that Sarah was actually pregnant with Lawrie when found with Isaac. Lawrie’s father is never revealed. Madame Quick throughout the novel is sick and at the end of the book dies from cancer. She is very keen to protect Odelle and equally as eager to dismiss Lawrie. And we learn why; Madame Quick is Teresa.

Halfway through I did lose interest. Perhaps because I read before I go to bed and only read snippets before I fell asleep. The last hundred pages I was glued but it definitely takes a while to build to a climax.