Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson – Review
By Sandra Callard
Start to read this book at your peril; you will not be able to put it down! Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson is a thriller extraordinaire, and will leave you breathless, excited and stunned by the sheer speed and imagination of this mesmerising tale. Author of six previously best selling thrillers, Swanson has a talent for writing unexpected, wildly different novels, and this latest one is of that ilk.
Set originally in New York City, the story gravitates to a beautiful and expensive small island when the heroine, Abigail, is taken by her rich new husband, Bruce, to what appears to be a perfect place for their honeymoon. There’s a luxurious hotel that has everything a couple would want – if they have loads of money, of course. Abigail is overjoyed, but things are not what they seem in this beautiful place and soon she is enmeshed in a situation that she never envisioned only a small time ago.
The characterisation of this novel is first class and Abigail is a strong and likeable woman who the reader is happy to follow as she gets to know this opulent place. Bruce is brilliantly written and his character is the one who stands out very clearly as a person to be watched. Once you realise there is something wrong with the place the reader’s mind will be suspicious of everything and everyone in the novel, but the writing is so good that it can take some time to suss out the villains of the piece, and you may find you are wrong about your early suspicions. The book almost has an Alfred Hitchcock feel about it, and we all know the pitfalls he placed for the moviegoer.
The story moves on quickly and steadily, growing stranger and more frightening at every turn. When a novel is as compelling and bizarre as this one it is impossible to resist attempting to work out what is happening, but try not to, it’s a waste of time and energy and the denouement is startling. In fact it is the only facet in the whole book that lies uneasily with the plot. It is extreme, unexpected and just a tiny bit out of tune with the rest of the book, as well as being a tad unexpected and implausible.
Having said that, the above is merely a tiny shadow which is certainly eclipsed by the vastly interesting and fantastically composed plot of the rest of this book. Swanson is a master of suspense and the book is for sure one of the most compelling and original novels of its type that I have read in a long time. I read this book in two sittings only, and I know those who have read it from end to end in one day, and it is somewhat rare when a novel is as compulsive as that.
‘Every Vow You Break’ by Peter Swanson is published by Faber, £12.99 hardback