Don’t close your eyes. Don’t fall asleep. Don’t let them in.
Thea is an insomniac; she hasn’t slept more than three hours a night for years.
So when an ad for a sleep trial promises to change her life pops up on her phone, Thea knows this is her last chance at finding any kind of normal life.
Soon Thea’s sleeping for longer than she has in a decade, and awakes feeling transformed. So much so that at first she’s willing to overlook the oddities of the trial – the lack of any phone signal; the way she can’t leave her bedroom without permission; the fact that all her personal possessions are locked away, even her shoes.
But it soon becomes clear that the trial doesn’t just want to help Thea sleep. It wants to control her sleep….
We are always being told we need 8 hours sleep a day, to help our brains function at there best, to reduce the risk of heart attacks, dementia and other health problems.
For Thea she is lucky to get 4 hours sleep a week and it’s starting to affect every aspect of her life. She has tried all the usual remedies medication, meditation and anything else that’s out there. So when she spots an advert for volunteers to take part in an experiment on a new app that claims it will not only help you sleep, but it will make you the best you can be, believe me I got the impression Thea needs that, I didn’t initially find her that likeable but as the story progressed I began to warm to her. She didn’t have a great deal of confidence, not much of a social life. Her mum Vivian was an activist always going on one crusade or another, painting her placards. Her reaction when Thea tells her of her plans to apply for the experiment is that it’s a cult.
After an initial interview, a sleep assessment and numerous other questions Thea is accepted. As it’s to take place over 6 weeks she realises to has to hand her notice in at her job but she isn’t like it anyway. Her instructions are to drive to a remote place and go to a pub known as “Sanity’s End” seems a little appropriate. The landlord Alistair with his flaking dandruff is not the most welcoming of hosts but as she is the last to arrive and there is no boat to the island until the following morning she has no choice but to stay the night. It turns out the sleep trial is in a purpose built centre on an island which used to be inhabited by monks in a monastery, the only other building was a lighthouse. It’s clear from the state of the pub that not many people travel there anymore.
Rosie is one of the other participants and decides she will be Thea’s friend whether Thea wants it or not. There are no mobile phone signals, no internet, the only way they have to communicate with the outside world is on a landline telephone. The trial is done is three stages each two weeks, stage one: orientation, stage 2: start tech, fine tuning as appropriate, this tech involves putting two discs one either side of the head, they don’t hurt to be put on but cannot just be taken off! Stage 3: use the tech to help you become the best you can be.
Once the trial starts things start happening, Thea is convinced she saw some strange man in the monastery when she was out walking, determined to go back and check she takes Rosie and Ethan with her, but things don’t go quite as planned and Rosie ends up seriously injured and is in a critical state, Thea says Rosie was attacked but when she takes a search party out there is of course no one there. But Thea knows what she saw. When she demands to search further Len the caretaker pulls out a gun, what is being hidden?
Thea hasn’t slept at all but still feels fine, she begins to wonder what they have done to her, when she sees another participant in an almost vegetative state she realises something is definitely not right about this facility. Who was the person who attacked Rosie, who is the person she saw chained up with an armed guard. Is this facility really helping people with insomnia or is it more to do with mind control. As she digs deeper things start happening to other participants around her. Can she escape without losing her faculties?
The initial start of the book is slow as we learn of Thea, but as it progresses the tension and plot builds, gripping you to the story, who is behind the sleep centre? who is Moses? Who are Aspire? Is it odd that all the participants are single people with hardly any family, and no one to miss them?
Then the final twist you will just not see coming, this was a good read as someone who suffers from insomnia I think I will avoid attending any sleep centres or apps!
I give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and would like to thank #netgalley and #HQ for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Louise was born and lives in South Wales. From a young age she loved books and dancing, but hated having to go to sleep, convinced that she might miss out on something interesting happening in the world whilst she dozed – much to her mother’s frustration! Insomnia has been part of her life ever since.
She studied English Literature at university and graduated with first class honours. As a teacher she tried to pass on her live of reading to her students (and discovered that the secret to successful teaching is…. stickers! She is aware that that is, essentially, bribery.)
In the summer of 2019 Louise experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment: she was discovered as a new writer by her publisher at the Primadonna Festival. Everything has been a bit of a whirlwind since then.
Louise lives in Cardiff with her husband and spends her time trying to get down on paper all the marvellous and frightening things that happen in her head.
Sleepless is her debut novel
You can follow Louise on Twitter:@louise_mumford Instagram:@louisemumfordauthor Facebook: @LouiseMumfordAuthor
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