Thursday, January 10, 2019

I Invited Her In

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks
MIRA Books: 2/5/19
eBook review copy; 432 pages
ISBN-13: 9780778369219

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks is a recommended thriller.

Melanie Harrison is surprised to receive an email from her university friend Abigail Curtiz. They haven't been in contact with each other since 1999 when Mel became pregnant with her son after a one-night-stand and dropped out of school. Seventeen years have passed and now Mel is happily married to Ben, and living in Wolvney, England, with their three children. Abi sends her an email explaining that she is in the midst of a contentious divorce and is returning to the UK after living in America. Abi is a minor TV personality who interviews celebrities for a living, so Mel is surprised that she doesn't have other friends to contact.

Mel ends up inviting Abi to come and stay indefinitely with her family and is shocked and surprised when Abi accepts. Once Abi arrives, Mel is consumed and infatuated with her every whim. Soon it becomes quite clear to everyone but Mel that Abi does not mean well to Mel or her family. Abi's stay is without an end point and the family is beginning to crack under the strain of hosting this  demanding guest.

First, the opening premise requires that the reader set aside a healthy dose of disbelief. For me it remained ludicrous throughout the novel and required a conscious effort to believe that anyone would invite a famous someone they hadn't seen for years to come and stay indefinitely in their modest home just because she showed some support for her years ago. Sure, I'd exchange emails, maybe meet them somewhere for coffee, but I would never invite them to stay for however long. That is stupid. Mel's instant devotion to someone she really was never that close to is odd.

Now, after you manage to set that huge MacGuffin aside, Parks does get kudos for creating tension and suspense as the narrative switched perspectives between Mel, Abi, and Ben. The narrative is a bit padded, but the plot is intriguing. Neither Mel nor Abi are likeable characters, but if you read thrillers and enjoy predicting plot developments, you'll keep reading to see if your predictions are right. (You will be correct, btw.) Continuing to read the story will be based on how engaged you are in seeing lives disintegrate and plans for revenge take place.

There are some nice details and emotional insights about raising children and marriage. This isn't an awful book, but it is predictable. In spite of my lack of surprises over any plot twists, I was engaged with the plot, even if it was just to see the train wreck I knew had to be coming at the end and I wasn't disappointed.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of MIRA Books

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