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’ latest psychological thriller, ‘The Night You Left’. I read this book whilst I was on holiday and really enjoyed it! Emma Curtis is a truly fantastic writer. So, keep reading to discover my thoughts…
IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT TO UNRAVEL A PERFECT LIFE . . .
When Grace’s fiancé vanishes without a trace the night after proposing, her life is turned upside down. But has Nick walked out on her, or is he in danger?
As Grace desperately searches for answers, it soon becomes clear that Nick wasn’t the uncomplicated man she thought she knew. And when she uncovers a hidden tragedy from his childhood, she realises an awful truth: that you can run from your past – but your secrets will always catch up with you . . .
** TRIGGER WARNING ** Explores the theme of grief and loss in great detail. Explores the theme of domestic violence, including both physical and emotional abuse. Includes references to mental illness, particularly issues relating to trauma and guilt. Sexual abuse, including scene of rape, are also incorporated in the novel.
‘The Night You Left’ (July 2019) is Emma Curtis’ third novel, following on from ‘One Little Mistake’ (2017) and ‘When I Find You’ (2018). Curtis was born in Brighton and now lives in London with her partner. She has worked various jobs, before turning her hand to writing fiction.
The book has received rave reviews, from the likes of Daily Mail: “Conjures an atmosphere of quiet menace”. Many fellow authors also praised the novel, such as Claire Douglas: “Clever, unpredictable and beautifully written”, Sarah Vaughan: “A tense and twisted read”, Lauren North: “Filled with drama and twists that exploded on to the page at every turn” and Nuala Ellwood: “Psychological suspense at its best”.
‘The Night You Left’ tells the story of Grace and her fiancee Nick. Shortly after proposing, Nick goes missing, and Grace’s life is turned upside down. What has Nick been hiding from her? And will she ever get to the bottom of his disappearance?
The narrative is mainly told from the first-person perspective of Grace. The novel begins in the present day at “Day Zero”: the day that Nick goes missing. The characters is given a detailed insight to her thoughts, feelings and emotions. Some sections jump back in time to the past (18 years previously). These past sections are narrated from the third-person, focusing on the characters of Taisie and Nick. The narrative is fairly simple to follow, yet still very effective.
Grace is my favourite character in the novel. She’s strong-willed and determined, and loves her daughter Lottie and her fiance Nick more than anything. She has a troublesome relationship with her ex-husband Douglas, and she becomes confused when he comes back into her life after Nick’s disappearance. But it soon becomes clear that there is much more to Grace than first meets the eye. She has suffered a great deal of hardships in her life, and has a fair few skeletons lurking in the closet. Grace is a very well-written, three-dimensional character, and I felt a wide variety of emotions towards her throughout the novel.
Grace’s fiance Nick is a complicated character. He experienced a true tragedy in his childhood that he has been trying very hard to bury. When a blast from the past comes into his life again, everything is thrown into turmoil, and he must make some very difficult decisions. Nick is not without his flaws, but he tries his hardest to look after and provide for Grace and Lottie. I really enjoyed discovering more about Nick’s past and finding out all about his childhood trauma. He is another very well-written character.
Grace’s ex-husband Douglas is not a very likeable character. He’s angry and bitter, and he seems to be always trying to compete with Nick. He’s an excellent father to Lottie, but he is still very possessive over Grace and tries to control her. Douglas is used to getting his own way, and when he doesn’t he becomes very unpleasant. However, it soon becomes clear that there is a lot more to Douglas than first meets the eye. I was really intrigued by his character development throughout the novel, and enjoyed discovering more about him.
Other characters in the novel include: Cora and Tim (Nick’s parents), Sean, Jess, Taisie, Izzy, Alex and Rory Ritchie (Nick’s family friends), Angus, Lorna, Pansy and Freya Moody (another set of family friends). There is a relatively large cast of characters in the novel and it does become hard to keep track of them all at times!
** TRIGGER WARNING ** (I apologise for any spoilers here.) The theme of grief and loss is explored throughout the novel, related to a particular traumatic childhood incident. This novel explores the theme of domestic violence in great detail, including both physical and emotional abuse. The novel makes references to mental illness, particularly issues relating to guilt and responsibility following a traumatic childhood event. Finally, the theme of sexual abuse is explored in depth, including explicit scenes describing rape. All of these issues are explored with appropriate sensitivity – but if you feel that they may trigger a negative response, I suggest you skip this book.
As the narrative motors forwards, more and more curveballs are thrown into the mix. There are so many twists and turns, and the plot becomes increasingly complex. It soon becomes clear that Grace is in danger, and she must do everything she can to protect herself and Lottie. But is it already too late?
So, let’s talk about the ending! There’s a dramatic end scene in which Grace finds herself in a very dangerous situation, and she must fight for survival. All the pieces of the puzzle finally fit together in the most shocking way – I definitely never saw that coming! My eyes were glued to the page during the ending, and I simply couldn’t tear myself away. I really enjoyed the ending, and felt that it tied everything together brilliantly.
Overall, I highly recommend this novel to those of you who enjoy psychological thrillers, particularly ones about childhood secrets and trauma. This is a truly compelling read, jam-packed full of suspense and with plenty of twists and turns. My only criticism is that I felt the cast of characters was too large, and I did find myself getting lost a couple of times. But that being said, I still really enjoyed the book!
Happy reading 🙂