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The Bed I Made by Lucie Whitehouse

(Bloomsbury $38.99)

I’m sorry but I am just an old-fashioned sucker for a book where the heroine has been unlucky in love and so escapes to an off-season island to walk on windswept beaches as she revisits the sins of her past and their dreadful consequences. If I had the right sort of sins of my past, it’s exactly what I would do.

In the case of The Bed I oade, Kate has escaped her usual life in London for the wintry Isle of Wight, a place where she remembers life being happy and uncomplicated when she spent summers there as a child.

Life these days, of course, is anything but uncomplicated: her relationship with boyfriend Richard has ended abruptly in a mysterious situation involving stitches and a lot of bruising and her best friend Helen is decidedly pinched about the whole situation.

Kate runs away to her island just in time for the wife of a tall, handsome, extremely lip-lickable heartbroken type to go mysteriously missing at sea. As Kate nurses her broken heart and her increasing awful suspicion that Richard has not quite finished with her, she walks on windswept beaches wrapped up in woollen jerseys.

Part anything by Anita Shreve and part the movie Sleeping with the Enemy, this is a really good, page-turning, intelligent, accessible read. The only thing that put me off is that it’s described as “literary”. Don’t get me started on what that means. Just rest assured that if you like a story where you don’t know everything at the beginning, it unfolds at the right pace as you go along, and delivers a supremely satisfying ending, this book has it all.

It wasn’t till I was googling Lucie Whitehouse (and I think you must google authors if you have a computer and have found a new writer you love) that I realised I had read and reviewed her debut novel, The House at oidnight. I was gripped by that story too, but thought the main character slightly unlikeable. Not so Kate in The Bed I oade. Whatever it’s called, it’s gripping.

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