Art college dropout Lucie arrives in a Swiss ski resort looking for work – but instead finds love in the form of the handsome and charismatic Mathieu.
Matt seems like perfect husband material – especially when Lucie discovers he’s from a wealthy family. But Matt’s dark side soon emerges. Manipulative, controlling and abusive, he is anything but perfect and will tear the life she has built for herself and their six year old son JP apart.
Then, one fateful night, things come to a head in the most shocking way….
Wrongly accused of her husband’s murder and left fighting for her freedom in a foreign prison, Lucie is starting to lose her grip on reality. Now, she must summon all her strength to uncover the truth about Matt’s death and be reunited with her son – before it’s too late.
The clock is ticking ….. but who can she trust?
This is the first book I have read by Louise Mangos although I have purchased Strangers on a Bridge the previous book. This is a stand alone psychological thriller.
After dropping out of Art college 19 year old Lucie finds herself in a Swiss ski resort looking for employment, but instead she meets a handsome and charismatic ski instructor Mathieu Favre or Matt for short and falls in love.
But Matt doesn’t really do love, despite warnings from her friends about Matt, Lucie doesn’t listen, she is in love, why would she and at 19 she is still so young and naive, believing in happy ever afters.
The story is told both in the present, where Lucie finds herself in the only all woman prison in Switzerland, charged with the murder of her husband, and the past, where Matt and Lucie met and got together through to his death. At first the pace was a little bit slow for me, but then it soon picked up, as I desperately wanted Lucie to be reunited with her son.
Throughout reading the story you aren’t sure whether Lucie had killed her husband or not, was it murder, was it self defence, was it precipitated by some incident. Matt had been cruel and abusive to Lucie over a number of years, this was handled well by the author, as she depicted what was happening.
I loved the setting, the descriptions of the beautiful snow capped mountains stunning to visualise.
It’s not long before Lucie gets to see the real Matt, he is manipulative, cruel, controlling and abusive there is nothing about him that is perfect, and with their six year old son JP what is Lucie to do?
Things come to a head one night … Matt is dead.
Lucie finds herself in a foreign prison charged with the murder of her husband, she is fighting for her freedom. She needs to be strong and try to somehow uncover the truth about Matts death, and be reunited with JP who is being cared for by Matt’s parents. Not people you would really want your son to be with. Natasha the Russian monster-in-law.
This is a very well written novel, with some great characters, making you wonder whether Lucie had killed Matt or was it someone else. The author kept you guessing on this.
Lucie’s time in prison where she learns the hard way, where drugs, sex and bribery take centre stage behind closed doors, her constant battle to stay upbeat when it would be so easy to just curl up and wallow. Whilst in prison she paints, holding out hope that she may one day be free. With little access to JP because of her in laws, Natasha the Russian mother in law who has secrets of her own is trying to take everything away from Lucie and wants to take JP to Russia. Lucie has to find a way to stop them and to prove that Natasha isn’t what she claims to be, but they have money, and money can equal power. Who can Lucie trust?
This was a great read, I really enjoyed the plot and the characters, ok Lucie was a little naive and at times a little annoying, but to a certain extent we all are when we first set out in life, sometimes we don’t see what’s going on under our noses, or we don’t want to see, especially if you are in love with someone. Until you take off the rose tinted glasses. Abuse can also come in many forms, and it can be so cleverly done by some, that to people on the outside the abuser will look and seem like the perfect gentleman. But what goes on behind closed doors can be so very different. No matter what class, poor or rich these behaviours go on.
I would like to thank #netgalley and HQ Digital for an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.
Louise Mangos writes novels, short stories and flash fiction, which gave won prizes, been placed on shortlists and read out on BBC radio. Her Husband’s Secret’s is her second novel. Her debut novel, Strangers on a Bridge, was a finalist in the Exeter Novel Award.
She lives on a Swiss Alp with her Kiwi husband and two sons.