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I Looked Away by Jane Corry

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

#psychologicalthriller #amreading #twisty

Publisher: Penguin

Published: 27th June 2019

Date of Review: 6th June 2019


Every Monday, 49-year-old Ellie looks after her grandson Josh. She loves him more than anyone else in the world. The only thing that can mar her happiness is her husband's affair. But he swears it's over now, and Ellie has decided to be thankful for what she's got.

Then one day, while she's looking after Josh, her husband gets a call from that woman. And just for a moment, Ellie takes her eyes off her grandson. What happens next will change her life forever.

Because Ellie is hiding something in her past.

And what looks like an accident could start to look like murder...

My Review

I looked away is a compulsive and twisty domestic noir that has been impossible to put down. With a past and present timeline, the dual first-person narrative explores the lives of Ellie - a middle-class grandmother, and Jo - a homeless woman. We see the two characters meet at the beginning of the story but just how they are connected and to what degree this seemingly inconsequential liaison has on the storyline is not revealed until we reach the story’s climax. I did have an idea as to what this might be, and as somebody who devours psychological thrillers like no tomorrow, I was right. But this did not in any way spoil things; in fact it made it all the more satisfying!

Ellie’s timeline is mostly in the past, where we see a very different lifestyle to the middle-class woman she is today. Ellie starts off as a woman who you immediately root for. She has a lot going for her from a materialistic perspective but the one thing she can’t buy is her husband’s fidelity. We don’t see much of Roger in the present, but they have a long history together and there are a few shocks and twists as details of their relationship emerge. You just know he is a complete dick and you will be willing Ellie to pack her bags and find a better life without him. But this is a psychological thriller, so things don’t work out quite so simple as that!

But it was the characterisation of Jo that totally drew me in. Firstly, we see her arrive in Bristol. As a Bristolian, it was like I was wandering the streets with her, and it really makes you think ‘What would I do? Where would I go?’ if placed in Jo’s shoes. The character is so real, when I was in town a week after reading the book, I saw a woman who looked just like the character in my head and I thought ‘Oh look there’s Jo!’

As the two time-lines gradually converge, all the seemingly inconsequential events scattered throughout the narrative are brought to light. At the beginning of this year I decided to only review those books that excite and inspire me as a new writer. Jane Corry does this in abundance. Everything from the way the novel is structured, to the twisty and compelling plotline, to characterisation, to the writer’s colloquial and compelling voice. My list is endless. I absolutely loved this book and can’t recommend it enough.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley

for an Advance Review Copy of this book

in return for an honest and unbiased review

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About the Author

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