Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: Undertow by Elizabeth Heathcote

Title: Undertow
Author: Elizabeth Heathcote
Published: June 2017, Park Row Books
Format: ARC E-copy, 320 pages
Source: Netgalley 

An exhilarating debut novel that follows one woman's hunt for the truth when she realizes she might have married a killer

They said her death was a tragic accident. And I believed them…until now.

Carmen is happily married to Tom, although she knows she'll always live in the shadow of another woman—the mistress who ended his first marriage: Zena. Mercurial, mesmerizing, manipulative Zena—a woman who, Carmen begins to discover, had the potential to incite the darkest of emotions. Zena, who drowned in the sea late one night.

Zena seems ever-more present, even in death, and when Carmen unknowingly stumbles on evidence that her husband has not been telling her the whole truth, she can't shake her unease. As she uncovers documents and photographs, a very different tale than the one Tom has led her to believe begins to unfold, and she finds herself increasingly isolated and paranoid. As the twisted events of that night begin to come to light, Carmen must ask herself if it's really a truth worth knowing…even if it destroys her and the lives of the people she loves most.

My thoughts: This is one of those books that I have to admit, the cover totally drew me in...isn't it just mesmerizing? Luckily, the story itself was gripping and addicting and kept my interest - I would have been quite bummed if it didn't work out!

I do have to say, I had a hard time connecting to the main character, Carmen, but once I got a little further into the book, I got over that. I found myself totally engaged. I wanted to know as much as Carmen did about what really happened and found myself just as suspicious of Tom as Carmen soon became. 

All the characters in this novel were so real - they may not always be likeable, but they were true to life. They had their flaws and their relationships felt real and complicated - isn't that what family life is all about in the real world? This added such a true ring to the story, giving it that true-to-life feeling. After all, this is a complicated family system we are following here, so having the family dynamics to mirror that really added to the already heavy tension.

This is much more a character-driven story than action-driven and with all the twists and turns it takes as Carmen makes her discoveries, it has that chilling, disturbing quality to it. It really gets under your skin so that you become as desperate as Carmen is to get to the bottom of what really happened to Zena.

I ended up really enjoying this book and found myself guessing as to what was going to happen all the way until the very end. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for what comes next from this author - as a debut novel, this one was quite good! 



  1. Thanks for the review. A new one for me.

  2. Love the cover, great synopsis and your review really makes me curious!

  3. It's hard when you can't connect with the character, but I'l glad to hear that changed as the story moved along. This does sound really good.


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