By: A.J. Banner
Publication Date: 12/27/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
A.J. Banner returns following The Good Neighbor, with the powerfully evocative THE TWILIGHT WIFE —an intricate conundrum, a modern-age twisty domestic psychological mystery suspense puzzle of lies, secrets, deception and an intriguing past.
A heart-pounding adventure of one woman's desperate search for answers. Uncovering the truth about those we love. A story, the past, an obsession, a forgotten identity, and pieces of memories- just out of reach.
Kyra Winthrop is recovering from a harrowing diving accident. Her memory is still cluttered, and foggy. Her doting husband, Jacob, recounts her past to her, filling in the gaps left by an unusual form of memory loss.
When Kyra begins to remember details that don’t align with what she knows to be true, she must fight through her hazy memory, her isolation, and her own suspicions to discover what—and whom—she can trust.
What happened on the fateful dive on which a woman loses her memory and her life? She is desperate to learn the truth. Where nothing is as it seems. A constant state of perplexity and confusion. Lies, deception, and dark secrets are revealed slowly as the threads are unraveled.
Kyra is a thirty-four-year-old marine biologist currently recovering from a head injury. She taught at the Seattle University previously they say, and yet she has no memory of those times. Now she has only this secluded Mystic Island in the Pacific Northwest, where the wind blows in cold from the sea.
She has a husband, Jacob who sticks close by her side, follows her everywhere, her guardian angel. She also has a peculiar recurring dream. She fractured her skull in a diving accident near Deception Pass. The waters are supposedly gorgeous, but deadly.
The island haunts her, but she has no conscious memory of the area. Just like water, and things of the sea; they can be dangerous, but beautiful.
She has no memory of her decision to move here. Nor does she recognize the jagged scar on her right thumb, (from a dive) per her husband, Jacob. She barely even remembers her husband. Why does she forget only the four years she missed?
They say her name is Kyra Winthrop (she dropped her maiden name Munin). She has been married to Jacob for nearly three years. Who is this man? How did she end up here?
She is only a shadow of her former self. When she stops taking the meds to clear her mind, she begins a computer search. Jacob was a computer genius educated at MIT and founded his own software company. What else will she find? She had to keep things secret until she solves the mysteries of her past. She is grasping at any clue or person she can find, for answers.
Who is Aiden Finlay? She feels there is someone else. Her husband’s friend? She is disoriented. Does she have repressed memories? Could something bad have happened? Traumatic? Another diver?
What if her brain is choosing to block out not trauma, but something else altogether? Can she believe Jacob? She questions her marriage. What secrets is her husband hiding? Was there another man? What about Jacob’s past?
From fuzziness, the fog, to dreaming of a yellow house; where nothing is as it appears. From constant confusion, Kara sees herself kissing Aiden one minute and Jacob the next. Was there a third diver?
The more she learns, she becomes afraid for her life, and she had to figure a way out of this madness – a dark nagging cloud of doubt. What was Jacob holding back? A trail of cryptic clues, and a computer genius husband, who is holding all the cards.
Piece by piece, everything her husband has told her falls under suspicion. Who can she trust? Why is Jacob lying to her? Who is this other man who thinks she looks like someone else? She wants her own grasp of memories, not what her husband has told her. She feels something is missing.
“I feel as though my memories stop short, before the storm, at the edge of a precipice leading down into darkness.”
In trying to make sense of her world, Kyra learns about anterograde amnesia (difficulty storing new memories) and retrograde amnesia (difficulty retrieving old ones).
She begins explores the island, in search for answers to evoke memories—seashells, the contents of her purse, photographs, and the local shops, the B&B inn, and coastal tide pools. (loved this part, which keeps your senses on high alert). In addition, she seeks out everyone she can to help her find answers.
A frighteningly cool portrait of a serious sadist, THE TWILIGHT WIFE is a gripping, claustrophobia-inducing thriller. Looks are deceiving. The most dangerous kind. Utterly compelling exploration through the darker side of the human psyche.
Banner creates a strong sense of ambiguity, darkness, confusion with a constant state of obscurity, a perplexing mystery, and an intriguing haunting puzzle.
Jacob and Kyra are both fascinating mysteries, and Banner knows how to maintain the tension from the first page to the last twisty turn. A nice addition with the secondary characters: Van and Nancy, as well as Doug (enjoyed his connection).
As a reader, you do not know who to trust, and who is dangerous. Compellingly hypnotic with a spellbinding seaside remote setting, adding to the ongoing strong sense of foreboding and mystery, combined with beautiful lyrical prose, well researched, and fascinating sea life, making this an absorbing read.
For fans of Kate Moretti, Kimberly S. Belle, Mary Kubica, Susan Crawford, and BA Paris. Looking forward to the next!
I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Cassandra Campbell, my Top 2016 Audio Narrator for a mesmerizing performance! She has an ideal voice for the role, with her soothing voice to transport you.
Ideal for book clubs or discussions. Would make a great movie!
A special thank you to Touchstone & NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
A Conversation with A. J. Banner "What significance does the title hold to the narrative?"
"The word twilight suggests falling away into darkness, the strange, dreamlike in-between time, when day isn’t quite finished and night hasn’t quite begun. Kyra hovers in that limbo, not entirely herself without her memory and plunging into a terrifying night as her life unravels.
However, she also finds beauty and hope in twilight. She remembers magical nights, when she walked the beach and discovered unusual marine species beneath the moonlight. And night always becomes day again. Darkness leads to dawn. She discovers her own inner strength and reclaims her life."