So I read through all of the “Getaway” collection the other day and thought some stories hit harder than others. Per usual, here’s my rating per story in the collection.
“Uncharted Waters” by Sally Hepworth (3 stars)-Yeah this one shocked me too. Probably because I have pretty much loved most of Hepworth’s mystery novels set in Australia. This one is also set in Australia, but follows a married woman named Ella who is going on a cruise without her husband Mac. While on the cruise though, Ella finds out more about not just Mac, but herself. I just in the end felt a bit letdown on this story. I mean I figured out what was going on and why. But the ending just kind of sits there and you go, that’s it???
His Happy Place” by Zakiya Dalila Harris (5 stars)-This story follows Ama. Ama meets her “hot” boyfriend Nathan who has a cabin in the woods, upstate. What could go wrong? I loved loved loved this. A place that is not quite what it seems and is full of something there waiting. I loved the character of Ama and her friend Corie cracked me up (the little we get of her). But Ama thinking of how sweet and husbandy (is that a word) Nathan is and thinking of what their future may bring after they go to “his happy place” was great. The story starts off at the end, and then you work backwards to be able to see what caused Ama to take the actions she did. The ending was fantastic and I did not see it coming. I am going to look for more of Harris’s work in the future.
ETA: I have read The Other Black Girl, and it didn’t resonate with me fully. But will definitely look at another novel that she puts out in the future.
“Stockholm” by Catherine Steadman (5 stars)-I haven’t liked a lot of her longer novels, but this short story was actually very good. A woman named Olivia is married to a doctor named Sebastian. Initially enthralled with him she feels like she won when they got married. How quickly she finds out that her husband isn’t what he seems and the life she once had is in shambles. Going on a vacation to Stockholm, she finally has a chance to break free.
“Belle Mar” by Luanne Rice (5 stars)-Does Luanne Rice write really good Gothic type style mystery novels? Why did no one tell me? I am going to find her other books to see if they speak to me the way this one did. I loved loved loved this insane little story. We follow Clea McAllister, who we find out lost her family home after the death of her grandmother. Clea believes that her grandmother’s lawyer, took advantage of her and was able to get her to change her will to leave him her home, Belle Mar. Belle Mar is a mansion by the sea which Clea always found comforting. But she returns back to Belle Mar when she is able to rent it out for a week and realizes that her family’s help is still working there. Clea slowly starts to wake up to what was right in front of her all along. Once again, I loved this story. It was fantastic and Rice really does a great job with the Gothic elements. And that ending…ah so good.
“Catch Her in a Lie” by Jess Lourey (4 stars)-We follow two women in this one. One is Evangeline (known as Van) Reed working for a Cold Case Unit and another named Pamela Reed who seems to be on the fun with her daughter. I thought the story was interesting, but the pace moved a little too fast for this to really work. I liked the idea of someone having “visions” and what would they do about the monsters that walk among us, but the story left a lot unsaid.
“Shell Game” by Rumaan Alam (4.5 stars)-A man, Mark is away on vacation with his wife’s brother (Geoff) and his family. Things become more and more unsettled with Mark realizing that he doesn’t really know Geoff that well, and his wife has hidden things from him. At one point when Geoff starts talking about the white race, I would have left that vacation home and took my kids home. Mark also slowly becomes obsessed with a lifeguard (a young boy) on duty, but obsessed with his beauty, of what he was like as he was young, when he was a boy, before he will become a man. I thought this was a great story, but a bit slow at times that just is full of symbolism throughout.