Friday, August 27, 2021

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner
1/4/22; 384 pages
Gallery Books

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner is a highly recommended psychological thriller.

Right from the opening, which is a letter sent to Helen from someone in prison, you know that something is going to go terribly wrong. Helen, Rory, and Charlie are siblings, adult children of a well known decease architect. Helen is married to Daniel and the two are now expecting their first child after several previous miscarriages. Rory and his wife, Serena, are also expecting and due around the same time. Rory and Daniel are partners in an architectural firm, which Rory inherited from his father. Helen inherited the Victorian house where she and Daniel reside. Charlie inherited cash. He is the family outcast and is dating Katie, a friend of Helen.

Helen is 24 weeks pregnant and attending her first prenatal class when she meets Rachel. After Daniel said he had to work late and Serena said she changed her mind and was attending a different class, Helen was left alone until a single woman, Rachel, showed up and sat next to her. Rachel quickly inserted herself into Helen's life. Helen, a quiet, socially awkward, insecure woman who has a difficulty making friends, is ripe for Rachel's friendly overtures so even though it sometimes makes her uncomfortable. Rachel's friendship is also welcome in many ways, in spite of the fact that Helen is being very careful with her pregnancy, while Rachel is still drinking and smoking during hers. The only trouble is that something seems off with, well, almost everyone and everything else.

Helen is a sympathetic character, but her lack of self confidence and doubt in herself is sad. She keeps making excuses for how busy Daniel is and puts up with his excuses. She is so clueless that her gullibility is a bit unbelievable. As Serena and Katie always seem busy, she is ripe for a friend and Rachel fills that need. Rachel is an outlier; you don't know what she thinks and there are plenty of reasons to not trust her. Serena is clearly untrustworthy, arrogant, and very self-assured. You will neither trust nor like her. Katie is a very appealing, likable character and the most authentic character in the novel.

The writing is excellent and the plot and pace of the revelations are perfectly timed. Greenwich Park is told through the point-of-view of Helen, Serena, and Katie and follows along Helen's pregnancy, starting at week 24. The multiple narrators and breaking the novel down into the weeks of Helen's pregnancy works very well in this novel and serves to keep the plot moving forward and increasing the sense of dread, that something is wrong. And there are plenty of indications that something is terribly wrong and that everything isn't right. Faulkner keeps you guessing, though and the true nature of what is going on is revealed very slowly and carefully. The ending of Greenwich Park is very well done and shocking. The very end of the novel is absolutely perfect.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

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