Author : Clare Empson
Title : Him
Pages : 352
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : August 23, 2018
Catherine has witnessed something so traumatic that she can’t speak. Or won’t speak.The doctors say the only way forward is to look into her past.
Catherine needs to start with HIM .
Fifteen years ago she met Lucian at university and fell into a passionate love affair. They were meant to be together forever. But something happened. Something that destroyed them.
Catherine married someone else. Had two children. She moved on – or so she thought. Now Lucian is back, showing her how different life could have been.
But going back to the beginning won’t change the ending.
In fact, it might be the thing that finally breaks her…
This didn’t quite turn out the way I thought it would. I was expecting a psychological thriller and while it does have some of the elements of that genre and a bit of a mystery to solve, at its core Him is a love story gone badly, oh so badly, wrong.
Catherine doesn’t talk. She suffers from elective mutism after witnessing a traumatic event. It all has to do with “him” but the why takes a while for the reader to discover.
Fifteen years ago, Catherine met the dashing Lucian at university. Theirs was a passionate love affair but then Catherine breaks up with Lucian. No explanation or anything. She just disappears and refuses to talk to him ever again, leaving Lucian utterly devastated.
But her obsession with him and what life could have been like by his side continues through the years, through a marriage and the birth of her children. This is a love that can’t be forgotten or denied, but also one with devastating consequences. What exactly happened when Catherine met Lucian again four months ago?
This story switches back and forth between events from fifteen years ago, four months ago and the present day. This may sound a little all over the place but it’s really not. It’s done incredibly well and never gets confusing. Slowly but surely, the pieces of the puzzle come together.
I found the characters hard to connect with though. Lucian and his friends are an elitist and snobbish club of rich and privileged people that Catherine never really quite fits into. Yet some are drawn to them like moths to a flame. And while Catherine wonders what her life would have been like had she stayed with Lucian, I was wondering how different her life with her husband, Sam, could have been had she been able to let Lucian go. To be honest, Sam was the only person I was able to muster up any kind of sympathy for.
Him is a dark and tragic tale of love, obsession and guilt. Despite it’s relatively slow pace, this character-driven story is rather gripping and at times incredibly sad. I was desperate to know why Catherine stopped talking and if she’d ever utter another word again. I enjoyed it but I found the psychological thriller label a tad misleading so my advice to you is to go in with an open mind and let Catherine take you on a moving journey through her memories.
My thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.
Him is published today!