Psychological Thrillers

How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Date of Publication: 28th June 2018

Date of Review: 23rd Nov 2018

A wife who must keep her affair secret. A husband who has the power to bring her lover down.

A marriage that could end in murder.

Beth was still reeling from the end of her affair the night she met Albie – a man who knows her ex better than anyone, but has no idea of their history.

He’s perfectly placed to give Beth the revenge she craves – if only she can keep her secret safe.

But how far is she willing to go?

My Review

Set within the world of neurosurgery How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt is a creepy revenge thriller where supporting characters from Daughter (Jane Shemilt’s first novel) take centre stage for this modern twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The novel is full of unreliable characters, which is particularly chilling considering the characters are people who we put our utmost faith in.

Beth is a theatre nurse who is recovering from an affair with Ted, a married neurosurgeon. The affair ended badly and whilst Ted seems to have his life back on track, Beth is still heartbroken after the still-birth of their daughter. She’s also had to change her job (neuro to orthopaedics). When Beth meets Albie, the fact that he’s Ted’s surgical registrar/research fellow is a reason for Beth to run a mile; but there’s a spark between Albie and Beth that can’t be ignored and before we know it they’re married and planning a family of their own.

Like Macbeth, at first Albie is characterised as a man of integrity who is out to help others. He is a bright up and coming neurosurgeon who has researched and developed an innovative neurosurgical procedure for brain cancer. Ted has helped Albie along in his career, and Albie has great respect and admiration for him both professionally and personally. However, when Ted takes credit for Albie’s research project, Albie starts to doubt Ted’s integrity. This isn’t helped by Beth, who is still reeling from the way he took what he wanted from her, before leaving her to deal with the death of their daughter all on her own. But Albie is still in the dark on that one; he has no idea that his wife and his boss knew each other before.

At the beginning it was easy to empathise with both Beth and Albie. Although Beth had an affair with a married man, she’d had a raw deal; and at this point there was no reason to believe Albie was none other than a kind and talented neurosurgeon who wanted to help cure others. But with Beth subtly poisoning his mind against Ted, and his research assistant (who just so happens to have a couple of sisters, making them reminiscent of the three witches) providing him with snippets of overheard conversation regarding Albie’s promotion, Albie doesn’t know who to believe.

The deceit starts off seemingly inconsequential but before we know it, it has built into a web of lies with layer upon layer of dramatic tension ready to explode just like Albie’s research trial! The narrative moves up a gear as we move towards the climax but unlike a lot of novels, where the last couple of chapters drag after the conclusion, the author has added a further plot twist that had me racing towards the very end.

Jane Shemilt has a wonderful talent for bringing the narrative to life: the setting really drew me in and the characters leaped off the page. I really enjoyed reading this book and it was great to catch up with some of the characters from Daughter. I would love to see another book that reveals what happened to Naomi (the daughter from Daughter) and can’t wait to read more from this author.

Under Literature Love’s rating scheme this book has been awarded

5 out of 5 stars.

I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down.

I recommend you stop what you’re doing and go and buy this book now!

Thank you to the author

for a copy of this book

in return for an honest and unbiased review.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-far-we-fall/jane-shemilt/9780718183493

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