Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough
Published by HarperAudio on September 4, 2018
Genre(s): fiction, mystery, thriller
Format & Length: audiobook, 10:23:41
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The New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes returns with a twisty, hair-raising psychological thriller about a single mom, her daughter, and her best friend, the secrets they hide, and the danger they can’t escape.
Lisa lives a very quiet life. A single mother nearing forty, she devotes herself to raising her sixteen-year-old daughter, Ava. Wary of men, Lisa doesn’t speak of her past or Ava’s absent father. Her best friend Marilyn wishes she would open up more and maybe finally go on a date—with the sexy new client who’s obviously keen—but Marilyn has problems of her own.
Ava is getting tired of her overprotective mother. She wants to live like a normal teenager—chill with friends, go to swim practice, study for exams, have a boyfriend. Her mom would freak if she knew that Ava’s already got someone special, someone who makes her feel sophisticated—and wanted.
Lisa has spent a long time looking over her shoulder, but lately she’s been especially uneasy. Small things from the past have begun to appear in the present, feeding her anxiety. As her life begins to unravel, Lisa knows that the only way she can protect herself and her daughter is to face her fears. Yet courage won’t be enough. She’ll need help from the only person she can trust—Marilyn. Between them they have to save Ava, and to do that, they have to be honest with each other. Truly honest. Marilyn did promise she’d do anything to help.
But a long time ago, Lisa made a promise too. Then she broke her word. And that betrayal hasn’t been forgotten—or forgiven.
Now, someone is going to make her pay for her sin.
After listening to Pinborough’s previous book, Behind Her Eyes, and really enjoying it, I was looking forward to see what she did in Cross Her Heart. Unfortunately, this one didn’t work as well for me.
Let me start with what I did like. I enjoy the author’s writing style, she has a way of writing characters and dialogue that feels realistic, even when the events occurring are fairly unbelievable. The narration by Antonia Beamish was great, helping to immerse me in the story in a way that I might not have been had I read it in print. And the premise here was one that intrigued me.
Unfortunately, I just had a difficult time feeling invested in the story. I listened to the first half at a fairly slow rate, not feeling that urgent pull to find out what happens next. It wasn’t until about the halfway point that I became more curious, and even then, didn’t find it difficult to put this down in favor of doing something else. And I guessed a big twist fairly early on, making much of the book a waiting game to see if I was right.
In the end, Cross Her Heart was fine. The plot and characters were well thought out and developed, and the pacing of the story arc felt right. I’m still open to checking out other books by this author, but this just didn’t have anything that took it from “okay” to “wow” for me.