Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Blood Wedding – Pierre Lemaitre

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

In what is becoming a theme, I was really unsure about this book for a good while, but another blogger warned me to hang in there, they hadn’t been convinced by the opening both… so I took their advice, and do you know what? By the end you couldn’t prise this book from my hands!

We first meet Sophie Duguet when she is working as a nanny. She has problems with her memory which include lack of concentration and a complete absence of memory at times combined with problems sleeping she has to write things down to remember them. She loses things constantly and spends her free time blankly watching the television. One night when Madame Gervais, the mother of her charge returns home late, Sophie sleeps over and in the morning on going to wake Léo, she, finds him dead. Not a natural death either. Sophie remembers nothing but an item belonging to her is there on the body and she flees.

Yes, I hear you. I’ve read other books that feature memory loss, and it seems like an easy device to create tension when really none exists. This was part of my issue with this part of the book, that and seemingly random violence and a young woman whose actions I didn’t understand at all, however much the author tried to make me sympathise with her, I struggled.

However we know a little about Sophie; although only young, she has been recently widowed, her ever-patient husband dying in a car accident. This combined with her memory problems and her guilt over the increasingly annoying incidents that this provoked has worn her down further. She is clearly a vulnerable young woman, but… she killed a child, whether she remembers it or not!

Sophie’s face is plastered across the papers – she is wanted for murder and she knows that the police will be seeing if she contacts her dear father or her best friend. Sophie is resourceful and decides to move far away, to a place where she has no connection. She assumes new identities, works cash in hand and after many low-paid jobs and moving neighbourhoods decides that she will start again by getting married. She has three months to do the deal, and so she goes on the internet to find a man.

Despite me being extremely wary of the underlying premise and being slightly sickened by some of the violent scenes and not overly fond of imagining life on the run, Pierre Lemaitre’s writing is stunning. I felt Sophie’s panic and could picture her at the train station with her newly dyed hair trying to buy a ticket, while desperate not to do anything that would mean she stood out from the crowd. The author had me there at Sophie’s side, witnessing her as the third person who narrates the novel, so convincing was his portrayal, I believed in Sophie, she was real.

In part two we meet Franz through his diary written before Sophie’s descent into hell. He also documents Sophie’s problems and it as it this point that Pierre Lemaitre’s incontrovertible skill as a creator of one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve ever read becomes clear. It was one of those books where I felt the author really had got one over on me. He constructed his central characters knowing that he was making even this fairly suspicious reader, look in every direction, except the right one, and he keeps it up right until the bitter end.

I am not going to say anymore except if you pick up this book, stay with it and enjoy the ride, I’m off to see what other books by this author are going on my Christmas list!

Blood Wedding was published on 7 July 2016 by Quercus who kindly gave me a copy. This review is my unbiased thanks to them. I can’t leave this review without stating what a fantastic job the translator, Frank Wynne, did. Although the book ‘felt’ French, the translation to English was flawless with none of the stiltedness that can occur during translation.

First Published UK: 7 July 2016
Publisher: Quercus
No of Pages: 320
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

31 thoughts on “Blood Wedding – Pierre Lemaitre

  1. I did not know whether or not I should add this author to my reading list but from your review, I guess the answer is yes! Plus it should make a great Frenchie gift for fellow book lovers who don’t speak Molière’s language 🙂

  2. I liked this one especially because of the ending part. The beginning was a bit confusing and I didn’t connect…but after that it was amazing!

  3. Sounds like a really good book once you get past the beginning. I’m definitely curious now! As for the violent scenes, I find they make more of an appearance in books by male authors…

  4. I’m not usually one for a whole lot of brutal violence, Cleo. But the whole idea of taking on a new identity raises all sorts of interesting questions, even if it does stretch credibility. I’m very glad you found that this thriller kept you reading and kept your interest.

    1. This was one of those books that I really changed my opinion about – once I read the final two parts the first part was proportionate in its illustration, I just didn’t ‘get’ it until later. A latecomer to my favourite books of the year.

  5. I’ve only read one title by this author (“Alex”), and I really enjoyed it. Your review has reaffirmed that I must read more by him.

  6. Excellent review! I’m on the fence about this book as I have it from the library but I did’t realize it was a psychological thriller. I’m struggling with not really enjoying psych thrillers right now

    1. This isn’t a psychological thriller in the newly accepted term, it is crime fiction that has its roots in the psyche – as much as I enjoy a good modern psychological thriller this is something which really got under my skin.

  7. I wasn’t sure for the first half of your review how this was getting five stars but, like you with the book, by the end I was of a different opinion. I now have to read it.

  8. His earlier book Alex was one where a particular scene was so frightening I almost couldnt read any more. But he doesn’t do this just for the sake of it, the violence is there for a purpose. sounds like he has delivered another equally solid book.

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