The Patient by Jane Shemilt
5/3/22; 320 pages
The Patient by Jane Shemilt is a recommended novel of domestic suspense.
Set in Salisbury, England, Rachel Goodchild is a doctor, her husband
Nathan teaches at an elite private school and their 24 year-old
daughter Lizzie is a librarian. When French architect Luc Lefevre
comes to her practice for a consult concerning his depression,
Rachel is immediately attracted. She meets him again when his wife
throws a party at their restored a historic home in Rachel’s
neighborhood.The attraction between her and Luc continues at the
party and turns into an affair. At the same time her daughter
Lizzie is increasingly distant and hostile toward Rachel and
Nathan has grown progressively more remote. Adding to her
uneasiness are the footsteps and the feeling that someone is
following Rachel all the time.
This is a slow-moving novel that really never picks up speed until the end. We know that Rachel is being held for committing some crime at the beginning but reaching more information about what happened and why is slow to be revealed. The story of the beginning of her affair with Luc seems related to the crime. It also becomes obvious that a whole lot of people are lying about something. The key to everything is knowing who is lying and the clues crawl to the resulting ending. This isn't a psychological thriller as much as it is a novel of domestic suspense.
Although it is an interesting story, it is not quite as
suspenseful as one would hope. Readers are required to follow
every thought that Rachel has in order to follow the plot. It is
really about an affair and requires you to buy into all the
excuses for a 49 year-old doctor to start up an affair with a
younger patient. I know you are expected to approve of their
relationship but there really is no reason given to do so. Neither
are appealing characters. The events leading up to the ending are
not especially intriguing and the ending is a little over the top
and beyond belief. It is technically well written and the plot is
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of William Morrow.