In a genre where every book considered domestic suspense is dubbed, the “next Gone Girl,” I have become skeptical to read anything with that kind of marketing. However, Kate Moretti’s book, The Vanishing Year, is a true psychological thriller. I chose this book for my book club’s June selection to appease my thrill-seeking readers, and I think it was a success! There were all sorts of disturbing topics: drugs, sex trafficking, sociopathic behavior, psychological abuse, and more. (Thus, a warning for victims; Triggers abound.) Even for those of us who read a lot of thrillers, it was just enough to scratch that itch and delivered a dark, twisty, satisfying read.
The book is told by our protagonist, Zoe. She married a Wall Street tycoon and mingles with Manhattan’s social elite. But her past is dark; just 5 years earlier she was on the run from her past and for her life. Then, strange things start happening that lead her to believe the evil from her past is coming back for her. One thing after another happens and soon she starts to doubt even her closest friends’ intentions.
If you’ve read the classic, Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier, you will notice similarities in the plotlines. Like Rebecca, The Vanishing Year is narrated by the protagonist, from a lower class, yet marries into wealth. In both stories the husband’s previous wife is dead with the cause of death somewhat of a mystery. There is a sinister housekeeper who is fiercely devoted to the first wife and who becomes a crucial part of the plot.
While the plots are closely aligned, the endings are not the same. The primary theme throughout The Vanishing Year is that of identity. How much of your past influences your future? Do we create an alternate identity in order to escape our past? I think we do, to some extent, but we can’t hide from the past forever. The readers from my book club agreed – she could’ve handled her past problems much easier if she’d have just faced them rather than hide from them.
You will be shocked by the twists that come one after the other in this novel. The puzzle pieces do not connect right away. I have to admit I didn’t truly put it all together until one of the last few chapters (when she literally revealed it.) I’m not kidding when I say you will not see the ending coming!
There were a few shortcomings, though. Some of the secondary characters’ stories were left unfinished. Once the plot was revealed, the story ended abruptly. I was left wanting more closure. Still, it was a decent thriller and I’d recommend it!
Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Get Lit! (erary) Wine pairing: Wine Spritzer
Just in time for summer, our book club indulged in a fruity, refreshing wine spritzer while discussing this book. To make it, I started with a bottle of chilled Stone Hill Pink Catawba Rosé wine, then added 4 cans of LaCroix Cúrate Piña Fraise for the bubbles, and rounded it off with fresh sliced strawberries. It was so easy and delicious!