A Double Life

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Great idea - based on a true story. I was excited to read this as it had a great premise. I was hooked from the start. It was also short and a fast read. I read a lot of thrillers so I think I can get bored or underwhelmed with some books. I think this was solid but it wasn't WHOA for me.
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I picked this book up a couple of times to read and stopped. I struggled at times. The author moves between Claire as a child whose father committed a brutal crime in their home and disappeared to present day Claire who is a doctor and in search of what really happened to her father and what did he really do. For me, the book was too slow moving until the last five percent of the book. Just didn’t do it for me.   2.5 stars
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Berry's novel follows a young woman searching for her father who disappeared decades ago after being accused of a horrendous crime. It has all of the elements of a suspenseful read (murder, red herrings, build-up to an exciting climax), but this book left me disappointed. First, I was turned off by the switches in perspective (it didn't really make any sense to switch between the main character's voice to her mother's in some chapters). Second, the pacing of the plot was frustrating - not much happened for most of the book, and then the most exciting parts all happened in the last few chapters. This also made it feel like the ending was super rushed. I appreciate Berry writing a strong, female character (even if some of her choices made zero sense), as well as her trying to portray a secondary character with a realistic painkiller addiction. However, I kept getting bogged down by parts of the book that didn't make sense. The resolution was impressive (I didn't put all of the pieces together on my own), but it didn't completely save this for me. Finally, I had initially thought the premise of this story was pretty original and fresh sounding. So I was then really disappointed when I learned after reading this that it's actually loosely based on a true story that happened in the UK in the 70s (and thus, not as creative as I thought). Overall, this just could have been so much better than it was.
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Unfortunately this did not rank high on the list. The characters were a little annoying and hard to empathize with. The storyline was just mediocre. It was confusing as the storyline jumped around.
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I am sorry for not reviewing fully but I don’t have the time to read this at the moment. I believe that it wouldn't benefit you as a publisher or your book if I only skimmed it and wrote a rushed review. Again, I am sorry for not fully reviewing!
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Firstly a special thank you to Flynn Berry, Netgalley and Viking for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Man was I disappointed! I’m in no way saying this book was a bad one but there was little to no suspense whatsoever. Everything was pretty predictable and nothing really exciting happened until about the last 15% of the book. I know sometimes books take you without surprise and whisk you away on a magical ride then there are books that no matter what you just can't get into it. This was the later obviously.

Nearly thirty years ago a brutal crime was committed in her family's townhouse while she was upstairs. The next morning, her father's car was found abandoned near the English Channel, with bloodstains on the front seat. Her mother insisted she'd seen him in the house that night, but his powerful, privileged friends maintained his innocence. The first lord accused of murder in more than a century, he has been missing ever since. 

When the police tell Claire, now a doctor, they've found him, her carefully calibrated existence begins to fracture. She doesn't know if she's the daughter of a murderer or a wronged man, but Claire will soon learn how far she'll go to finally find the truth.

Now, it was difficult for me to finish this book and I almost gave up on it as I have with very few books. But I kept going and the end I enjoyed although I foreshadowed it.

I will say the ending was a little surprising but nothing that had me shocked which is what I was expecting. Would I recommend this book? Sure, as long as you don’t have high expectations like I did for a suspense-packed thriller! However, there are so many positive reviews for this book so don't let this review sway you. It might be perfect for you.
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Thirty years ago, a vicious attack took place in Claire's home, leaving a young woman dead and her mother injured. Claire's father has mysteriously disappeared, and while her mother says he was in the house that night, all of his many friends paint a totally different picture of him and declare that the mother is the truly unstable one.
Claire has spent the last years trying to find her father and get the answers to all her questions.
When she receives a call that her dad has been possibly spotted again, she decides to find the truth once and for all. 
There are so many lies, secrets, and mysteries in this book you can't put it down. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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When reading the info about A Double Life, I saw it was loosely based on the Lord Lucan case.  Perfect, because I didn’t know what this case was, so everything was fresh to me.
I enjoyed Under the Harrow, and was excited to read Flynn Berry’s newest novel, and it did not disappoint.
Claire is introduced to us as a child whose nanny has been killed, while her mother has been violently attacked.  Her father is missing.  We then see Claire as an adult, who decides to find out the truth of what has really happened to her family.  Did her father commit these acts, or was he also a victim?
A satisfying story with an ok ending, I now need to go look up the Lord Lucan case!
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Thank you #NetGalley for a copy of #ADoubleLife!

The other day I googled the best psychological thrillers with shocking twists... this book was on that list. Man was I disappointed! I’m in no way saying this book was a bad one but there was little to no suspense whatsoever. Everything was pretty predictable and nothing really exciting happened until about the last 5% of the book. I will say the ending was a little surprising but nothing that had me sitting back saying “OMG” which is what I was expecting. Would I recommend this book? Sure, as long as you don’t have high expectations like I did for a suspense-packed thriller!
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This book was very well written & the pace was perfect. I really enjoyed it.
This was my first novel by Flynn Berry but will not be my last!
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I was a big fan of Flynn Berry’s “Under the Harrow,” so I was delighted to score an ARC of her newest book, “A Double Life.” The novel is loosely based on the real life mystery of Lord Lucan, a British peer who disappeared after being suspected of the brutal murder of his children’s nanny and the assault of his wife during an ongoing custody dispute. To this day, it is unclear if he committed suicide or escaped England with the help of well-placed friends. He has never been found.

In Berry’s telling, the bare bones of the Lucan story are the same. The father purportedly kills the nanny, beats the wife and disappears. His children Claire and Robbie are traumatized. Claire is the narrator and has spent her life obsessed with her father. She is a doctor now who spends her spare time raking the internet for clues and stalking her father’s privileged childhood friends, hoping for any evidence that they might know where he is and give him away. Her unhinged and completely unethical stalking finally lead to a potential payoff - will Claire be able to discover if her father is alive or dead, and if alive.....what then?

I enjoyed this in a squirmy sort of way because Claire is so off-the-rails OBSESSED.....but I also completely understood why and could empathize. The ending was not my fave, but overall, I found this to be a pretty decent light thriller. Not up to “Under the Harrow,” but a good sophomore effort.

Recommended to readers who enjoy domestic thrillers that aren’t too intense. This is a 3.5 but rounding up to 4 for keeping me entertained.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group Viking for an Advance Reader Copy of this novel. My review, however, is based on the hardcover edition.
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Great story loved how the author out this book together. I like how the book kept you on the edge of your seat wanting more. This book was truly a page turner from start to finish
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Inspired by the Lord Lucan case, Berry creates a story that is suspenseful and atmospheric. Clare is the daughter who survived her father's attack where the Nanny was killed and the mother viciously injured. Clare likens her father to a Nazi Criminal living another life and she wants to find him. Using duplicitous means to gain information, Claire becomes obsessed with her father's double life as she seemingly lives one of her own. A good gripping novel.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
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A story line that pulls you into the page along with Claire, a doctor with a double life.  One is her everyday routine life as a doctor.  The other is the daughter of a man accused of a murder who disappeared and has not been heard of until nearly thirty years after the crime.  The author uses flash back to build the background of the main story, is Claire's father guilty or not?  Does his wealth and privilege give him the benefit of the doubt?  The book is loosely based on a true crime.
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Apparently this book is based on the infamous real-life disappearance of Lord Lucan which I have never heard but I love historical fiction so that made it more interesting for me.  The story is told from the point of view of now grown up Claire, who was one of the children in the house when her father supposedly beat her mother, murdered her nanny and then disappeared.  Claire is a successful physician now but is obsessed with finding her father and uncovering the truth of what happened so many years ago.  The premise of the book is really interesting and I think could have been even better with a little more characterization (besides Claire).  It was not super exciting or fast moving but still held my interest as the plot slowly unfolded.  Seems like it could have been a little more thrilling and packed a little more punch especially at the end.  Definitely worth reading though.
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Definitely an interesting read, but one that i had high expectations for after seeing so many glowing reviews. I definitely enjoyed it, though not as much as some other reviewers.
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The story and the storytelling are amazing. Startling. Modest. Understated.
A murder took place within a home 25 years ago, for which the father was assumed to have been the assaulter, in what could have been mistaken identity in both victim and perpetrator. The father disappears and the family is left with the pieces, whatever they might be, honestly this is where Flynn shines., because it’s in the everyday minutiae that you realize how this has permeated this family’s individual sense of self., internally and outwardly. 
In addition, the story has an extra sense of urgency to it, that it speaks to current awareness and issues concerning women/victim safety/ self identification, white privilege, class and money, without ever being heavy handed.
So the story is told through the eyes of the daughter, hos she gages herself and life, she has never stopped looking for answers.
So the continual undercurrent is, what she thinks happened, did it happen that way? And not in the weird way some authors handle this type of persistent question.
This is everyday questioning of herself, it hinges on her self doubts. 
Outwardly she is a productive and successful physician, whose identity is changed, no one knows her relationship to that night. 
Flynns lines are almost thrown away, but they are written so beautifully,it blows you away.
“There’s a relief in knowing the truth—a completion, a block finally dropping into place— but I’m also so stricken it hurts to breathe....I’d thought there might still be a way out of this. A notch in the circle through which all of us... could escape.”
“I don’t answer. I don’t run or start screaming, because part of me is expectant, like I’m about to learn the answer to a question.”
HIGHLY recommend, although ps the Kindle format version was terrible and distracted from the sheer joy of reading this story.
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Sometimes a book can capture your attention immediately, grabbing you tightly from the start. Leaving you to fully expect a great read you can sink your teeth into. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just cannot get that connection. Unfortunately, with this read I fell into the latter category.

Claire grew up having to shoulder the knowledge that her father may have been a killer. She hasn't seen or heard from him since she was a child. Is he on the run because he was guilty? Or is he hiding until he can prove his innocence! 

Though Claire has managed to create a successful life with a high-end profession, she's never given up wanting him to face justice and either prove his innocence...or guilt, if that's the case. Is she even prepared to see him after all these years? 

I have to admit I had struggle somewhat with this book. It never quite came into focus for me until the final 10%. 

The majority of the reviews for this book are extremely positive so don’t let this review sway you. It might be the perfect fit for you!

A buddy read with Susanne🌸

Thank you to both Penguin Publishing Group - Viking, NetGalley and Flynn Berry for an ARC to read and review.
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Published by Viking on July 31, 2018

The police have been looking for Colin Spenser for 26 years. He is wanted for the murder of his wife’s nanny, Emma. The police theorize that he mistook Emma for his wife Faye, who survived a subsequent attack and was able to identify Colin as her assailant.

The case made headlines because Colin Spenser was Lord Spenser, an earl. His brother and sister helped him flee and then told the press that his wife hired someone to kill the nanny so that Colin would be blamed. The family has enough money to mount an effective smear campaign and the British press laps it up, because smears are so much more interesting than the truth.

Colin’s daughter Claire has changed her name but lives in unlikely fear of her father’s return, concealing pepper spray in various locations inside her home. Claire’s other worry is her brother Robbie, whose drug addiction causes seizures and other problems.

A Double Life gives the reader a glimpse of Colin’s courtship of Faye, their honeymoon and separation and short-lived reconciliation. Sometimes the backstory is told from Claire’s childhood perspective and sometimes in the third person, focusing on Faye. Other flashbacks acquaint the reader with Claire’s perspective of the night that Colin committed murder. On occasion we get some insight into Robbie’s life, although he is largely a secondary character.

The main plot follows Claire’s clandestine search for answers about the role various people played to conceal her father’s guilt and current whereabouts. During the course of her stalking and still disguising her true identity, she befriends the daughter of her father’s brother, who has not seen Claire since childhood. She meets other family members, considers rumors about their actions on the night that her father killed the nanny, and plots a course of action after learning where he might be living.

I admire the fluid style in which A Double Life is written and the careful attention Flynn Berry pays to the details of Claire’s strained life. Berry does a fine job of depicting British aristocracy in the unflattering light that the story requires without turning them into stereotypes. While it is easy to sympathize with Claire and to understand her obsession with her father, Berry does not make a convincing case for her continued fear of him a quarter century after he disappeared.

The buildup to the climax generates a modest level of suspense, but the climax is underwhelming. The plot resolves with a couple of twists, but the story’s construction creates the anticipation of a more surprising ending than the one Berry delivered.

Colin is loosely based on Lord Lucan, who is suspected of murdering his wife’s nanny before disappearing. I suspect that the true story is more interesting than Berry’s fictionalized version. While much of the story is strong, the ending dampened my enthusiasm for the novel as a whole.

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The premise of this book is intriguing.  A man seemly vanishes into thin air after killing his children’s nanny, whom he had mistaken for his wife.  Fast forward 26 years and his daughter, Claire, is still on the lookout for him and wondering what had motivated the attack in the first place.

The story bounces between Claire’s current life and her past, which includes the past of her mother and father as well.  There are many actors in this story.  It took me awhile to get used to the movement between different time frames but eventually it fell into a rhythm.  

Flynn Berry writes beautifully and the book is quite descriptive, especially concerning Claire’s surroundings and her reactions to them.  However, the story did lag now and then and the summary at the end was a little more than was necessary in order to finish it.  I would give A Double Life 3.5 stars and I will definitely pick up Ms Flynn’s next book.

Many thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
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