RedDoor Publishing: 3/2/17
eBook review copy: 304 pages
Because I Was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell is a recommended domestic thriller about four people/two couples and their unhappy marriages.
Rachel is suffering from postpartum depression and sleep deprivation. She's unable to cope and gets little reprieve from taking care of the kids 24/7. She also never had time to properly grieve the loss of her mother. David is married to Rachel. He's tired of her inability to cope. He's taken her to the doctor. Now he wants to come home to a clean house, clean kids, and a wife who has bothered to take a shower. Of course it's not helping that he's sleeping in his study and eyeing the barmaid where he stops off after work to avoid going home.
Adam is also depressed, suffering from severe anxiety, and trying to mentally recover from an accident that killed his parents. He blames himself for their deaths. Adam is unable to hold a job and currently stays home, taking care of the house. He is has developed strict routines and rituals to help him through his day. Julia is Adam's wife. She is currently supporting the family by working away in the city during the week and comes home on weekends. While she is ambitious and can be critical, Julia also wants Adam to get better, She knows his routines and flaws.
Rachel and Adam used to be friends years ago in school and have recently renewed their friendship on Facebook. Adam spends his days following his routines and part of that is chatting with women on Facebook, a little flirting, sometimes more adult content, but all removed and from a distance. Adam and Rachel are thrilled, but cautious in their reunion on Facebook. They are both very careful to not share what is really going on in their lives for quite a while. Both David and Julia know that their spouses are conducting some kind of secret chat/sex talk on Facebook, but feel it is not serious. They have their own responsibilities to attend to and frankly are glad in some respect that the two seem to be getting a bit better, even though they are secretive about what is going on.
The book is divided into two parts. In the first you get to know the characters. In the second you see the Facebook obsession developing and escalating. All the characters are well developed and the obsession plays out naturally. Mitchell introduces her characters and then has chapters from each individual character's point-of-view, which makes it much more difficult for the reader to start the blame-game against the spouses who initially seem unsupportive and impatient with their partner's illnesses. The novel is well written and the tension mounts as the obsession escalates. Mitchell certainly shines a spotlight on the dangers that can lurk when using social media.
I'll have to admit, however, that I'm rather surprised at the number of high ratings Because I Was Lonely has received. Certainly there is suspense and building tension in the plot, but, while I liked it, I didn't love it. I also could have lived my whole life without reading the explicit Facebook messages Rachel sends to Adam. From the description I wasn't expecting this novel to head quite so much in the adult direction. I also would have preferred a definite conclusion, with all loose ends tied up.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of RedDoor Publishing via Netgalley