Beneath the Skin is one of those books that had made it on to my TBR but which, when I came across a copy at the library, I couldn’t for the life of me remember why (please tell me I’m not the only one with that problem). Beyond the title, it rang no bells.
Still, I knew it was on the list of books I wanted to read and I knew I had heard good things at some point so I picked it up and settled down to read.
At first, and partly based on the blurb, I thought I was settling into to read a psychological thriller, one of those books where – thanks to secrets being kept – a young woman finds herself in danger.
I didn’t get that at all and, given how many of these type of books I read, that’s probably a good thing. What I got was a look at the lives of three women and their husbands, none of whom are very good at telling the truth and all of whom find that their lies put their marriages at risk.
You have beautiful Antonio (Toni) and her husband David, who is in awe of the woman he married and terrified she will leave him, not understanding that Toni is just as worried David will leave her if she shows her true self. Then you have Sophie (Toni’s best friend) who has a hard exterior that is hiding a painful past and her husband Sami, a man who hides behind his looks. And finally Olivia and Mike, the couple everyone seems to think have it figured out when, really, things are very different.
Whilst Toni is front and centre of the book, every character here has a voice and a story to tell. These voices hard heard in alternating chapters. Each was incredibly well drawn and so different from each other that I was constantly engaged with them and the lives that were unfolding before me. There seemed to be tragedy lurking around every corner because people were scared to tell each other the truth and I had a constant feeling of dread from almost the first page.
Reading the inner workings of their minds was fascinating and made this book a real page turner. That it was so well written and so detailed a story made it a great book to read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended!
About the book…
No-one remembers your past. But you do.
‘Antonia, Antonia. My name is Antonia.’
It’s been her name for many years. But sometimes, like tonight, she forgets.
Antonia has a secret. A secret so dark and so deep that she can barely admit it to herself. Instead, she treats herself to Friday night sessions of self-harm while her husband David is at the pub, and her best friend Sophie is drinking too much wine a few doors down.
Nobody close to her knows the truth about what the teenage Antonia saw all those years ago. No-one, that is, except her mother. But Candy is in a care home now, her mind too addled to remember the truth. Antonia is safe. Isn’t she?
The lies start small. They always do. But when the tightly woven story you’ve told yourself begins to unravel, the truth threatens to come to the surface. And then what’s going to happen?
Publication date: 5th October, 2017
Number of pages: 362