By: Louise Jensen
Publication Date: 9/27/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars ++
Louise Jensen is on a roll! Three hits in a row—quite the accomplishment. Her passion shines through. The author’s previous two books reached #1 in the UK and abroad (if you have not heard).
The thriller queen returns following The Gift on my Top Books of 2016 and The Sister (2016) with her latest THE SURROGATE — her best yet!
NOTE to readers: PS. I continue to say, "I am going to keep my reviews short." That way I can write many more reviews. Right? However, when I get started they seem to go on and on. If you do not feel like reading them; my feelings will not be hurt. Just take my advice, and buy the book. Judge for yourself. I think you will find, there is much to be discussed. The good ones always are. If you spend time reading a book, why not spend just as much time writing a review?
Talk about "unreliable" narrator (s) ! These guys are pros. The author keeps you guessing until the final explosive conclusion with one last jab . . . and turns the knife a little more. A killer twist.
If you think this is the same ordinary surrogate story? The surrogate tries to keep the baby. Wife disappointed. Husband runs off with the surrogate. . . . "No, think again." Much more complex and multi-layered.
The reader does not know which character they can trust. The characters do not trust one another.
Complex with a Capital “C”. Each character has a secret past and as the novel progresses, skeletons come out of the closet— one by one .... Unraveling. You gasp and say, "WTH?"
This book is high anxiety and happened to be reading it in the middle of a hurricane, which only accelerated the intensity. The author creates clever twists (her master signature style) and keeps you on your toes.
Guilt, loyalty, revenge, love, trust, betrayal, and hate.
An array of emotions. Who is the real guilty party, or is it a combination of people? One wrong action and turn— causes a domino effect. Do you really know your friends and your spouse?
“So many lives ruined. What was one more?”
“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh. If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” — William Shakespeare
As the book opens there is a reporter. There are two bodies. A double murder?
Meet Kat and Nick. From then to now.
Overall they seem like a nice ordinary couple. Charity work. They have been married for eight years. Stroke Support. A charity Nick set up with his best friend Richard after Richard's grandmother had a stroke.
Kate had been a temp and this is how they met. They are set financially. She still works for them, while Richard is busy with his law firm and Nick has a property development company.
Kate wants a baby. Let me correct myself. She is "obsessed" with having a baby. She wants to be a mother. She is getting desperate and running out of patience.
Nick, her husband says he wants one too, but you get a strong feeling, not with the same level of enthusiasm and burning desire, as his wife. Maybe just wants his wife to be happy. She, after all, cannot have children. He can.
Their many attempts have been unsuccessful. From doctors, tests, to adoption agencies. Each time they get close, something falls through at the last minute.
Lisa comes back into Kate’s life after a long absence. A childhood friend. They were BFFs. What happened to separate the two? Is she a friend harboring a grudge, perhaps?
Can Kate trust her? Was this encounter planned or a by chance meeting? Fate? The two were great friends growing up but had a major falling out. We do not know in the earlier part of the book. A mystery. We know there was a car accident that rocked their small town and Kate ran away, leaving Lisa to deal with questions.
One thing Kat knows for sure. It is approaching the 10th anniversary of Jake, her ex-boyfriend’s death. Has fate brought the once best friends back together? Good or bad?
Mistakes were made.
“We learn that Kate is a keeper of secrets. A guardian of the truth.” . . . You mustn’t tell Kate.”
Lisa seems to have been the third wheel in their teen relationship. Very jealous of the relationship Kate had with Jake. Is there more to this story? You better believe it.
Lisa never wanted to be a mother. Kate is dying to be a mother. Lisa said she has been a surrogate previously, and it went well, leaving a seed planted in Kate’s mind. Is she genuine, or not?
Later an adoption falls through once again and Kate wonders, what if? Could this really work? Is surrogacy the answer? In the past, she never thought about this option, but Lisa? The person she has known her entire life. This could be a miracle.
You know when you are desperate, you are not thinking clearly and weighing all the options. Desire clouds our thinking.
However, from here on out, nothing is simple. What a roller coaster wild crazy ride. The psychological elements are slow burning to sizzling!
Each reader will have theories about the murders. They will change throughout the book. Lisa is hiding her past. Kate is hiding her past. Now, Nick is definitely hiding his past.(Nick’s is a doozy).
You do not expect this haunting tragedy. This poor guy cannot catch a break. However, in the present, he seems to have it together (to Kate, anyway). Kind of removed. Something is going on with him and he says work issues.
Kate is heartbroken about a past love. There was a car accident. She came from a very strict family, especially her dad. She lost her shot at motherhood, and love in one fatal night. Does she want revenge? She has never told Nick about her secrets. He has not shared his.
You are dying to know, what happened!
As a reader, you are also unsure about Lisa. Kate suspects something is not quite right with Lisa. She agrees to be a surrogate, but at times she appears to be hiding something. Kate is suspicious. She could ruin her life.
Throw Richard in the mix. He is an attorney and best friend of Nick’s from childhood. Kate gets the feeling Richard does not like her. He always handles their adoption affairs. Can we trust him? Is he sabotaging their chances?
Kate soon realizes maybe her husband is not so keen on the idea of their upcoming baby. He seems withdrawn and she suspects he may be having an affair. Has she pushed him away with her overwhelming obsession?
Lisa is acting strangely. Is Kate paranoid because she cannot control her own life? She is at the mercy of Lisa. The picture-perfect life she had planned seems to be falling apart.
Who is lying?
“Our version of the truth is pliable, we mold our reality to mask our lies, and sometimes it sounds so plausible we even convince ourselves.”
As the intense suspense builds all three characters’ lives finally intersect. Except wait a minute. It is not over until the fat lady sings. Just when you think it will end a certain way, BAM . . . an evil twist.
The Butterfly Effect: The butterfly effect is a concept that states "small causes can have larger effects".
If you have seen the movie The Butterfly: (2004) American psychological thriller supernatural fiction film starring, Ashton Kutcher.
“The title refers to the butterfly effect, a popular hypothetical example of chaos theory which illustrates how small initial differences may lead to large unforeseen consequences over time.”
When you finish reading you will be speculating how different things could have been, if . . . These two are different in many ways but reminds me strongly of-Harlan Coben’s, mini-series, The Five (which I binge-watched this weekend on Netflix on my Kindle). Loved! Top-Notch. One mistake. Again, the butterfly effect. The Sinner is another example (loved this book and mini-series).
People carry guilt their entire lives over certain things. However, we learn down the road there may have been other things, and persons and circumstances at play, which changed the course.
Mind-boggling. However, this person may go through their entire life and never know how each small thing contributed to the tragedy, as well. This is where mysteries and missing persons go, unsolved and very intriguing.
You've got to love books like this. I know I do. Heart-pounding. Enthralling! There are so many what-ifs. This is a prime example, as in the movie referenced and this book. Things we do in our teens, or as children. Small things lead to large unforeseen consequences. We live with them our entire lives. They will haunt, consume, and change the course of more than one life.
You want to reach out to our children, (my grandchildren). Be mindful of the small things. They can turn into large things. One wrong move can lead to disaster.
A cautionary tale. This husband and wife both are troubled and damaged souls. However, they both keep their hidden secrets from one another. Could someone be a hero in the end? Redemption?
Louise, you sure do know how to write a twisty complex tale with juicy dark secrets. When looking at the three main characters, not sure which one I am more shocked about. There are a few close ties here for vote for "most damaged." I mean, seriously.
Plus, we could hold an entire psychological discussion dissecting Kate’s dad and mom.
No matter what surrogate stories you have read in the past, I can pretty much say, you will find NONE, like this one. It takes you by surprise. Grabs you.
Who is the real monster? Read, and discover.
Shocking. Spine-tingling. A top psychological thriller.There is so much good stuff here. Ideal for book clubs and further discussions.
Jensen is quickly becoming my top UK author. This book needs to be compared, rightly so to The Girl on the Train and then some. Top books of the year list. 5 Stars +++
Other things about the author (in addition to her fabulous storytelling), which provides her books an added edge. I love learning the inspiration behind the book. She is very good about doing this at the end of her books, as well as wonderful thought-provoking book club questions.
THE SURROGATE is definitely movie-worthy, or a mini-series. Congrats, another hit under your belt. Don’t stop now.
Readers, If you loved Coben’s The Five, you will certainly enjoy The Surrogate. Ideal for fans of B.A. Paris, Wendy Walker, and Mary Kubica.
A special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an early reading copy. (great cover, as well)
About the Author
Louise Jensen is a No. 1 bestselling author of psychological thrillers. Her debut novel 'The Sister,' was published in July 2016 and reached No. 1 in the UK where it stayed for over 5 weeks, and it also hit No. 1 on the Canadian Amazon chart, No.1 in Apple's iBooks and is listed as a USA Today Bestseller. It was the 6th biggest selling book on Amazon in 2016.
'The Sister’ is a book about a grieving girl who thought there was nothing as frightening as being alone – she was wrong.
'The Gift' Louise's second book, was published in December and within a week of release gave Louise her second No. 1 in 2016 both in the UK, where it stayed for over a 5 weeks, was No. 1 in Canada and is also a USA Today Bestseller.
'The Gift' is a book about a perfect daughter and how a secret is eating her family alive...
To date Louise has sold over 700,00 books and her novels have been sold for translation in fifteen territories. Louise was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award.
Louise also writes flash fiction, and features and articles for both magazines and online publications. Louise specialises in writing about mindfulness, chronic pain and mental health. Read More