Sarah Rock appears to lead a sad and lonely life, despite living in a beautiful and spacious apartment in Upper East Side Manhatten and being able to go to museums, art exhibitions and social events she used to love so much. Her children have been sent to attend a boarding school and she is missing the sense of purpose they gave her life. Her husband Eric has become more distant and seems to spend more and more time away on business with his assistant Juliette, whose photos Sarah found on his phone. Eric keeps saying Sarah’s jealousy is totally unfounded, but Juliet turns up everywhere they go . Worse than that, Sarah keeps noticing people giving her looks of pity and treating her as if she is particularly fragile.
One day, Sarah moves forward her appointment with her therapist Dr Helena Robin for an hour and spends this time in the park nearby, reading Therese Raquin by Emile Zola. Immersed in the world of passion, Sarah is surprised to be approached by a young and handsome stranger who strikes a conversation with her. Lawrence is an aspiring writer, although he is quite reluctant to tell Sarah anything else about himself. There is something familiar about him. Could it be that they have met before but Sarah cannot remember it? Four weeks later the police knock on Sarah’s door and inquire about a woman Sarah saw in the park the same day she met Lawrence. Can she help the police without giving herself away? who was the woman and why is Lawrence impossible to find?
The nature of the book is such that Sarah will keep you guessing what is real and what is not. There is no omniscient narrator to help you make sense of the events and the clues, you just have to experience it together with Sarah and try to understand who (and what memories)you can trust.
It is a short read, quite fast-paced and well-written. What I liked the most about it is the way the authors rendered Sarah’s feelings: pervasive sadness, hope, elation, elusive moments of peace and calm, interpersed with confusion and emotional pain.
I saw one major twist coming because the book reminded me of ‘The trick is to keep breathing’, which made an impression on me when I first read it years ago. If you have read this book by Janice Galloway, you might begin to see Sarah’s experience from a certain angle quite early in the story.
Having said it, Teresa Sorkin’s story is original, written in a different genre, and will appeal to readers who enjoy psychological thrillers with masterfully portrayed unreliable narrators.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Beaufort Books for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
- Have you read The woman in the Park or is it on your tbr?
- Do you enjoy reading mysteries with an unreliable narrator?