My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 2 days
Pages - 288
Publisher - Knopf
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
A dark, thrilling new novel from the best-selling author of Longbourn: a work of riveting psychological suspense that grapples with how to live as a woman in the world--or in the pages of a book--when the stakes are dangerously high.
When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote English countryside, it's meant to be a fresh start, away from the bustle of London and the scene of a violent assault she is desperate to forget. But despite the distractions of her new life and the demands of single motherhood, her nerves continue to jangle. To make matters worse, during class a vicious debate about violence against women inflames the tensions and mounting rivalries in her creative writing group. When a troubled student starts turning in chapters that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognizes herself as the main character in his book--and he has written her a horrific fate. Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it's too late? At once a breathless cat-and-mouse game and a layered interrogation of the fetishization of the female body, The Body Lies gives us an essential story for our time that will have you checking the locks on your doors.
I don't really know where to start with this one and I went back and forth on my rating multiple times. We open with the main character, woman - no name, who is sexually assaulted when pregnant. This has a huge impact on her as you could imagine, three years later she has given birth and is still suffering from the trauma. The opportunity of a teaching job, a good distance away, come up and she takes it. Her partner stays at home whilst she goes to pastures new with their son and they see each other as able. Before long trouble strikes and she finds herself in a horrible predicament with a student that risks her job and impacts even more on her mental health.
I was expecting something very different from this book which is maybe why I didn't enjoy it as much as other readers did. I didn't hate it I just didn't love it. I found myself getting very frustrated with some of her behaviours and choices, her interactions with her partner. I suppose the book maybe was going for the whole picture of impact and long lasting effects of an assault. I just found myself getting frustrated a lot and wondering where the book was going and what X had to do with Y.
Different and as I said a lot of readers have loved it, I think for me I just maybe missed what it was going for and was expecting a very different story as the blurb said dark/thrilling. It certainly has dark themes and mental health is infused throughout but I think I got confused by the blurb and thought I was going into a very different read which probably impacted my enjoyment. 3/5 for me this time, I would read this author again as she writes very well and paints vivid scenes in places but maybe I won't read the blurb before hand.