Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m posting my review of Emma Curtis’ second psychological thriller, ‘When I Found You’. Curtis reached out to me after reading my review for her debut novel, ‘One Little Mistake’ (which you can find here), and offered to send me an early copy of ‘When I Found You’ – thanks so much for that! Keep reading to discover my thoughts…
What do you do when someone takes advantage of your greatest weakness?
When Laura wakes up after her office Christmas party and sees a man’s shirt on the floor, she is horrified. But this is no ordinary one-night-stand regret.
Laura suffers from severe face-blindness, a condition that means she is completely unable to identify and remember faces. So the man she spent all night dancing with and kissing – the man she thought she’d brought home – was ‘Pink Shirt’.
But the shirt on her floor is blue.
And now Laura must go to work every day, and face the man who took advantage of her condition. The man she has no way of recognising.
She doesn’t know who he is . . . but when she finds him she’ll make him pay.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** Explores the theme of mental impairments/disabilities and their impacts on everyday life. Also explores the theme of sexual abuse, notably rape. Includes scenes detailing physical abuse, extreme violence and abduction.
‘When I Find You’ (9th August 2018) is Emma Curtis’ second novel, following on from ‘One Little Mistake’ (2017). Curtis’ fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write psychological thrillers. She was born in Brighton and now lives in London with her family.
‘When I Find You’ has received much positive praise from fellow authors, including Claire Douglas: “Gripping, tense and twisty with an unexpected ending”, Jane Corry: “A clever ‘who dunnit’ with a twist that almost made me miss my flight”, T.A. Cotterell: “It leads you down blind alleys and in to disorienting situations – I absolutely raced to the end” and Amanda Robson: “I was totally engrossed in this novel”.
‘When I Find You’ is an exploration of what happens when somebody discovers your deepest, darkest secret, and then uses it to their advantage. Laura is face-blind, and when she discovers that the man she slept with has tricked her in relation to his identity, she is determined to get revenge. But will she ever find out who is responsible?
The story is narrated by two different perspectives: Laura’s first-person account, and Rebecca’s third-person account. This gives variety and interest to the novel, as the reader is able to gain both an in-depth account of the characters’ lives, and also is provided with a more distanced account. The novel is mostly told in the present tense, with some sections narrated in the past of the night in question.
Laura is by far my favourite character in the book. She’s a very ambitious and driven person, with a successful career in the advertisement industry. But her conditional, prosopagnosia, more commonly known as face-blindedness, makes it difficult for her to go about everyday life. She’s determined to get on with things and not let her condition control her, but sometimes this simply isn’t possible. The portrayal of her condition is fantastic, and I assume it is very realistic. She lives alone and is often very lonely, so she seeks comfort from those around her. I felt a great deal of sympathy towards Laura and thought she was portrayed excellently.
Rebecca is Laura’s boss, who is having an affair with a fellow boss in the workplace. She’s clearly very insecure and lonely, and this leads her to continue the affair, even though she knows it is wrong. She’s not perfect and has many flaws, making her a very realistic character. I would say that I didn’t really warm to Rebecca that much, and I enjoyed reading the chapters that were narrated from Laura’s point of view a lot more. That being said, Rebecca is still a well-constructed character – but I just couldn’t really relate to her that much.
Other characters in the novel include: Laura’s mother, Isabel (Laura’s sister), Mark (Laura’s brother), David (Laura’s boss), Eddie (Laura’s creative partner), Guy and Jamie (other members of the creative team), Bettina (the company’s intern), Graham (Laura’s co-worker) and Felicity (David’s wife). As you can see, there is quite a wide cast of characters, but each brings something fresh and exciting to the novel.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** This novel explores the theme of mental impairments/disabilities/conditions, in particular prosopagnosia, and how it impacts on the sufferer’s everyday life. The novel also heavily explores the theme of sexual abuse, most notably rape – when Laura is tricked by a man in the bedroom, in terms of who she believes he is, he takes advantage of her sexually and the act is clearly not consensual. Later on in the novel, there are scenes detailing abduction, physical abuse and extreme violence. These scenes are disturbing and difficult to read. If any of these issues may trigger a negative response, I suggest you skip this book.
As the novel motors onwards, the quest to find the perpetrator becomes even more muddled and confusing. Every time Laura believes she has worked out who did it, they show a sign that they couldn’t possibly be the one responsible! Laura becomes more and more distraught and every aspect of her life is impacted by her search for justice. Will she find out who did it, before it’s too late?
So, let’s talk about the ending. Curtis throws a total curveball into the mix, and the novel takes an entirely different direction. The truth is finally revealed, in the most shocking way. Laura must fight for not only her justice, but for survival too. I was utterly engrossed during the final section of the book, and physically couldn’t put it down! I was very satisfied with the ending and felt that it tied the novel together very well.
Overall, I highly recommend this novel to those of you who enjoy darker psychological thrillers, particularly if you are interested in reading about characters with unique conditions such as prosopagnosia. The portrayal of the condition was the highlight for me, and I think Curtis did a fantastic job at capturing what life must be like with prosopagnosia. I would say that, for me, the novel lacked in suspense and tension, which I always look for in psychological thrillers. But that being said, I really enjoyed this novel and felt it was very unique!
Happy reading 🙂