Monday 1 December 2014

REMEMBER ME THIS WAY by Sabine Durrant

'Everyone keeps telling me I have to move on. And so here I am, walking down the road where he died, trying to remember him the right way.'
A year after her husband Zach's death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place. 
As she makes her way along the motorway, she thinks about their life together. She wonders whether she has changed since Zach died. She wonders if she will ever feel whole again. 
 At last she reaches the spot. And there, tied to a tree, is a bunch of lilies. The flowers are addressed to her husband. Someone has been there before her. Lizzie loved Zach. She really did. But she's starting to realise she didn't really know him. Or what he was capable of . . .

I didn't know anything about this book when I received it, and after not particularly enjoying the author's first book, I wasn't sure what to expect. But then I started reading, and before I realised it I'd read three chapters. I was hooked!

It's been a year since Lizzie lost her husband. He was involved in a car accident and she's finally decided to visit the spot where he crashed, as well as the house he kept by the sea. A place where Zach used to go to paint. But when she leaves flowers, she notices someone else has left a bunch before her. Along with a note featuring a name she doesn't recognise. And at his holiday house, she finds out that he did actually read the letter she wrote and sent him telling him she wanted a separation.
Then she finds the lonely painting that makes her believe Zach might not be dead after all.
There are other things, like phone calls. Hearing his favourite song played outside her bedroom window. Her lost lipstick suddenly appearing. Zach's pens disappearing. A dead bird thrown through the window. She feels like he's one step behind, watching her. And one step ahead, anticipating her next move.
Lizzie is so consumed with the possibility of him being alive that she starts to uncover some awful truths about him.
Everything he told her about his past is a lie. His possessive nature had nothing to do with a violent, unstable childhood and everything to do with Zach being a sociopath. A person who was as possessed with her as she was obsessed with him. 
The appearance of a strange young girl called Onnie, someone Zach supposedly tutored but never told Lizzie about, throws her already unstable life into chaos.
The story is told in the alternating POV of Lizzie--in the present--and Zach--in the past. We get to experience how she stumbles on his many deceptions, and the carefully constructed patchwork of lies he's left littered in his past. It's also interesting to delve into Zach's messed up way of thinking. He's very aware of how much he lies, manipulates and even hurts the people around him, but always blames the other person. It's never his fault, it's always someone else's fault.
Remember Me This Way is a compelling, page-turner that keeps you guessing until the end. Once Lizzie uncovers the first lie, the dominoes start to fall and reveal that her husband was a very messed up individual. He was a man who made up scenarios because of his blinding jealousy, and she's a woman who is determined to please others. Zach is like a disease that keeps infecting her even after his death, and what she goes through in order to purge his aftereffects is chilling, creepy, and leaves you on the edge of your seat.
This was one very intense and screwed-up psychological thriller. I couldn't put it down!

Also, my theory turned out to be right. I just never imagined it would, not after I found out what Zach's connection to this particular character was. O_o

Remember Me This Way, December 2014, ISBN  9781444762457, Mulholland Books

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