The Party by Lisa Hall
It was just a party. But it turned into a nightmare.
When Rachel wakes up in a strange room, the morning after a neighbour’s party, she has no memory of what happened the night before. Why did her husband leave her alone at the party? Did they row? Why are Rachel’s arms so bruised? And why are her neighbours and friends so vague about what really happened?
Little by little, Rachel pieces together the devastating events that took place in a friend’s house, at a party where she should have been safe. Everyone remembers what happened that night differently, and everyone has something to hide. But someone knows the truth about what happened to Rachel. And she’s determined to find them.
‘Something happened. Something bad’ – Rachel
Rachel wakes up, the morning after the night before. She is in an unfamiliar room and feels unwell. She has bruising and is naked from the waist down. She slowly becomes aware, she is in her neighbours Neil and Liz’s spare room. But how did she get there? And what happened to her?
‘I’ve never had a hangover like this before’ – Rachel
As Rachel battles with her own memory, pain and embarrassment she makes her way home. Only to be met by her husband Gareth and his unsympathetic response. . .
‘Look at the state of you, you’re a disgrace’ – Gareth
We begin to learn that Rachel’s marriage is far from perfect and that Gareth’s anger is understandable to some degree. They attempt to keep the peace for the sake of their 18yr old son Robbie. But as Rachel’s realisation sinks in, she is left alone to deal with the emotional and physical pain. Which is made worse by her lack of memory. What happened to Rachel?
‘Something bad happened. Someone did this to me – someone hurt me, and did things to me against my will. Someone raped me’ – Rachel
The novel then jumps in timeline, to four months before the New Year’s Eve party. It continues to flick between the build-up to the party and modern day narrative and the aftermath of the assault. We learn that life is not so rosy in the little West Marsham cul-de-sac, The Vines.
Eventually Rachel confesses the truth to Gareth and they go to the police in search of justice and answers. But Rachel must navigate the world of rape victim, where you are not instantly believed and treated with suspicion yourself. The novel also covers the lack of evidence, DNA and how complex it can be to prove rape took place. Then Rachel begins to receive sinister notes. She is being watched!
The novel is gripping and intense. Rachel’s story and constant state of fear seeps from the pages and I HAD to know what happened to her and what took place that night. When the truth is finally revealed, my jaw hit the floor!
It’s all going on in suburbia 5*
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