All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Close My Eyes – Sophie McKenzie

on May 10, 2013

Close My EyesClose My Eyes
Sophie McKenzie
Simon & Schuster
2013, 390p
Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster AU

Eight years ago, Gen went for a check up at the hospital at 37wks pregnant only to be told that the baby no longer had a heartbeat and had passed away in utero. She was given an emergency C-section to deliver the baby, a little girl that she and her husband Art named Beth.

Since they lost Beth, Gen has been in limbo. Art has worked at building his business, his reputation, making money. Gen, who had published three novels previously hasn’t written anything since Beth died. She teaches a few hours a week at a college but she can’t find any joy or satisfaction. They’ve been through 6 attempts at IVF and it’s failed every single time. It seems like Beth may have been her one and only chance to be a mother.

Then a woman knocks on her door and tells her that it was all a lie, that her baby was born alive. The delivering obstetrician, the anesthetist, the midwife present in the theatre were all in on it. Somewhere, her baby is out there… waiting for her.

Gen doesn’t know what to think, what to believe. This woman sounds genuine and Gen is sure that she absolutely 100% believes what she is saying. She confides in Art, who immediately tells her that it couldn’t be possible, that he saw the baby. But then the woman tells Gen that Art was in on it, that her own husband is aware of what really happened that day and all of a sudden Gen  feels like she can trust no one. They’re trying to make out like she’s crazy, like after all these years she’s finally losing it.

But what if she’s not? What if it’s really true and her baby is really out there?

I love a good thriller, but I don’t read enough of them. I think it’s because I sometimes can’t control my urge to “kill a fairy” (read the last page) to see what happens. I think the reveal is best left to be experienced within the narrative but sometimes the urge to find out who is good and who is bad is too overpowering. However – I’m happy to say that despite desperately wanting to read the last page and find out the answers to some questions that I had, I resisted. And this book rewarded me for my self- control.

Gen is pushing 40 now, still crippled with grief over the loss of her baby 8 years ago which, she was told, died of Trisomy 18, an almost always fatal chromosomal abnormality, in a huge majority of cases death occurs before delivery. However, when Gen is told that this isn’t the case it sends her on an amateur detective mission to uncover the truth of what really happened during the delivery she was unconscious for.

McKenzie is a master in crafting this story of making me go back and forth. There were times when I thought, despite all evidence to the contrary, that there was a chance this baby had been born alive and had been removed from Gen for some reason. And at other times Gen’s grief and determination do make her seem a bit… well, unhinged. She seems shadows and people following her, she begins to question those she loves and trusts the most. You wonder if maybe she just might be cracking up after all. And then something else would happen which would have me suddenly on her side again and looking suspiciously at her husband, who seems devoted, charming and considerate. And then there was the mysterious newcomer Lorcan, who seemed interested in Gen from the beginning. Why does he want to help her? Why does he so unerringly believe in her story? Is he able to be trusted?

This is the author’s first psychological thriller for adults, previously her books have been thrillers more in the YA genre. I haven’t read any of her YA novels but the deft way in which this novel is executed definitely makes me want to. I read it in one sitting, in bed at night, home alone wanting to race through it to get to the end so that I could know everything. I found it so easy to sympathise with Gen, losing a baby like that, in that way at 37wks would be so confusing. Gen had the best medical care, why did her scans not pick up on this earlier? She was gearing herself up for a beautiful natural birth in an idyllic setting only to be told that it wasn’t going to happen that way anymore. That her baby was gone and should come out as quickly as possible, it was for the best. Gen never even got to see her, something that was decided by other people and it is that fact that makes her uneasy about everything.  Gen begins to question and second guess everything that happened at that time, trying to decide who she can trust and who might have possibly had a hand in playing the cruelest trick of all on her.

This is definitely a book that will keep you turning the pages until you have all of the answers. I didn’t pick many things, which only increased my enjoyment of the book. I’d rather not have all of the answers and enjoy each reveal as it comes and this book definitely allowed me to do that. I’ll be putting other books by Sophie McKenzie on my TBR list.


Book #111 of 2013


3 responses to “Close My Eyes – Sophie McKenzie

  1. Lily Malone says:

    Sounds like a great read, Bree… 37 weeks would be terrible to lose a baby and I can imagine the emotion in those pages… so might be a book for a certain brain space.

  2. Melinda says:

    Interesting subject!! 🙂
    That’s what they told my mother (the heartbeat part that is) and here I am!
    Regarding the book – sounds like a good read 🙂

  3. emziixgx says:

    I really enjoy Sophie Mckenzie’s thirller and action books, can’t wait to give this one a go

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