The Perfect Betrayal

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

A thrilling read which kept me turning the pages, characters you care for and just brilliantly written.  Great novel!!
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Oh dear gods, make sure you have plenty of hankies at the ready for this one!

A truly jaw dropping book, "The Perfect Betrayal" is a tale of grief, loss and mystery written by a master storyteller to deliver a real gut punch of an ending. Beautiful in a bittersweet way, this is one of those books which will stay with you long after you finish it. 

Very few books are truly must read, but this is one really is.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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I couldn't stop reading this! I loved the fact that the narrative flipped between the countdown to Jamie's birthday and excerpts from present-day interviews with Tess. I felt a real sense of foreboding as the countdown got ever closer to the big day.  Plenty of twists and turns and the ending was perfect, didn't see it coming! I'll definitely look out for more from Lauren North in the future!
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Tess' s husband has been killed in a plane crash leaving just her and her son, Jamie. To say she is not coping is an understatement.  She is literally falling apart and drowning in grief. Grief counsellor Shelley arrives into her life, and takes control, which Tess is only too happy to relinquish.  When Tess starts to suspect shes being followed and her husband's finanacial affairs are questioned, particularly over a "secret project" he was working on prior to his untimely death, she begins to suspect that Shelley may have an ulterior motive. With nowhere to turn, Tess doesn't know who she can trust.

This book really wasn't for me. Irritating characters, repetitive narrative, long and very drawn out, I seriously struggled to finish it.  The big reveal at the end did surprise me but only because I had something darker in mind as the possible ending.  2/5*
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A widow has lost her husband in a tragic aeroplane crash. Her grief was heart breaking to read and brilliantly portrayed.
Her son is missing early on in the book and she is being interviewed and they are refusing to answer her questions. 
There are twists and turns throughout and I didn't expect the ending.
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The Perfect Betrayal was a good read. It created a deep sense of foreboding throughout, so much so that I had to stop reading for short breaks every now and then because I had the jitters. Tess is in mourning, suffering terribly from grief after her husband’s death. We meet Shelley a councillor and Ian, her brother in law, both of whom claim to have her best interests at heart. Her grief isn’t subsiding however and her state of mind appears to be spiralling downwards. 
The plot itself was good in my opinion, and I did not see the ending coming at all. I had the novel penned as predictable for the most part until the last 10%  when I was very pleasantly surprised. I did feel however that Ian’s deception was somewhat unnecessary, and didn’t contribute well to the plot in general. It was a good thriller though, heartbreaking at times and well thought out.
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If I could just say READ THIS BOOK and leave it there, I would. Because that is really what it comes down to. You just have to READ IT! 

This book is just so bloody brilliant I have no words! The twist and that ending. No way did I see that coming! The shock left me reeling as it culminated to the last page. And then all the pieces finally fell into place and everything made perfect sense now. By the time I finished I wondered how on earth I was going to review it.

As the story begins, Tess is in ICU after being stabbed. How she was stabbed or by who was a mystery at this stage. She is incoherent from the strong painkillers they have her on but of one thing she is clear - her son Jamie is missing.

Of course the police are investigating, taking statements and asking questions...but why aren't they out there looking for Jamie? Tess points them in the direction of Shelley. She must have Jamie. Her and Ian, her brother-in-law. They are working together. Please, she whispers...find Jamie.

This may be where the book starts off, but it's not where the story begins...There is so much more that culminates to this point that will leave you tingling, breathless and yes, even crying. This book is so emotive I cannot even begin to tell you the range of emotions you feel reading it. So let's start at the beginning...

After the untimely death of her husband Mark in a plane crash, Tess is devastated. She struggles to come to terms with losing him, her grief and how to go on living without him. But at least she has Jamie, their 7 year old son. Without him, she would have nothing. Together, they would get through this. But neither of them know how to express their grief without anger, each drowning in their anguish.

Then one day Shelley Lange breezes in, filling the dark house with her bright cheeriness where there had only been sorrow. As a grief counsellor, Shelley was enlisted by her concerned mum to help Tess through her bereavement. But as Tess soon discovered, unlike anyone else, Shelley understood her pain, her anguish, her sorrow and her complete heartbreak. And unlike anyone else, Tess let Shelley into her world. She came to look forward to her visits and Jamie adored her. His face lit up each time Shelley was around, and Tess' heart broke a little each time wishing she had that same effect on her son.

As the days turn into weeks, Tess finds herself depending on Shelley more and more, cutting herself off from everyone as Shelley fends off calls from family and friends on Tess' behalf. 

But then strange things begins to happen. Tess gets the feeling she is being watched. Someone is following her. She starts getting threatening calls from an unknown number along with hang ups. Cars tailing her in the lane. Items are missing from her house and papers have been rifled through. Someone has been in her house. But who? She can only think of one person who has a key - her brother-in-law Ian.

Ian began bothering her about money Mark had supposedly lent him. But she can find no record of the loan and still Ian is adamant, claiming he told her all this at the funeral. The funeral?? For pity's sake, she was burying the love of her life and Ian was worried about some money??!! Why talk to her about it at the funeral? She could barely remember it, such was her grief. But he keeps pestering her, to the point Shelley stepped in and blocked his moves. In the end he leaves her with a form to sign to renounce herself as executor of Mark's will and leaving Ian as sole executor. Does he have an ulterior motive?

But between the calls from the man with the gravelly voice about Mark and Ian's claim that he'd had borrowed £100,000, Tess begins to wonder just what had her husband done? And why hadn't he told her?

Then Jamie begins to act out. He starts screaming at her and saying he wishes Shelley was his mummy! What has Shelley been saying to her son? Then one night, Tess wakes to find Shelley in Jamie's room sitting on the bed and singing him a lullaby, just as a mother would. When Shelley turns, the hate in her eyes pierces Tess to her core.

With the series of unsettling events, Tess begins to wonder just who can she trust? She begins to suspect Shelley as well as Ian, and more than once Tess heard Shelley and Ian angrily exchanging words in hushed tones. Was Shelley protecting her? Or was there something else going on? She begins begins to write things down, making note of all the unsettling occurrences, her fear that someone was out to get her and Jamie, the phone calls, the man in the garden...and then the hushed tones between Shelley and Ian. Was she going mad with grief or should she feel afraid? Tess didn't know anymore.

Which leaves us with the question - just who was betraying who?

Narrated primarily by Tess, there are snippets from Ian and Shelley sprinkled throughout as well as the questioning of Tess in the aftermath of her stabbing. These chapters are layered perfectly as the main story gradually unfolds through Tess' eyes. Her one line responses to conversations with Mark are heartbreaking, as she relives moments in time of the life they had shared together. An emotionally charged book, it is also an absorbing, riveting and massively addictive thriller I could not put down!

THE PERFECT BETRAYAL is exactly what a good psychological thriller should be. It was well written with deftly woven layers of emotion and suspense creating the type of thriller that makes you question everything everyone says and does - even Tess. And yet I never thought such a twisty thriller like this could have me crying by the end...but it did. The wealth of grief is so immense that your heart just breaks for Tess by the end of this book.

Honestly, I thought THE PERFECT BETRAYAL was going to be just another domestic thriller. And that's OK - as long as the story is compelling and intriguing I don't care as I would enjoy it anyways. But I was so wrong! This book is NOTHING like that. It is so much more. The immense depression, grief and emotions are completely heartbreaking. Everyone's motivations remain hidden throughout. Nothing is as it seems as you question everything. But it's the ending that will have you shocked and in tears. The twist that changed everything and yet it changed nothing. One thing is for sure, that ending will remain with me for a long time to come...and not every book does that to me.

THE PERFECT BETRAYAL is a title you really have the think about to make sense of. And by the end, you will. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If I could give it TEN STARS I would!

I would like to thank #LaurenNorth, #NetGalley and #RandomHouseUK #TransworldPublishers for an ARC of #ThePerfectBetrayal in exchange for an honest review.
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The Perfect Betrayal is ostensibly a psychological drama.  A young wife grieving the loss of her husband in a plane crash becomes paranoid following his death.  Featuring an unreliable narrator, this is a novel about bereavement and mental health.
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4.5 stars 
A heartbreaking psychological thriller.
No matter how much you love a person, no matter how many times you go through every second of the past, one second can change everything in one's life.
Tess is a mother and a woman who lost her husband recently. She woke up in a hospital bed with various stab wounds and realises that the persons she thought she knew, are actually the ones she has to stay away from. Her son is missing and after losing her husband nothing can be more terrifying. Her mother is trying to help through griefing but the person who she sends over is not what it seems and on top of that, her brother in low is requiring a debt payment of her husband. 
Honestly, i enjoyed this story so much, is hard to go through the loss of the one person you ever loved and there are so many small turns and big twists that kept me so engrossed in this story that i finished it in one sitting in a few hours.
Good writing, great story and so much more that one can expect from a psychological thriller.
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The Perfect Betrayal is a psychological thriller that follows Tess. She is grief-stricken at the death of her husband Mark. She’s now alone with her young son Jamie and doesn’t see how she’s ever going to get through it. Then Shelley, a grief counsellor, arrives on her doorstep and shows Tess real kindness and she wants to help.

The Perfect Betrayal opens with Tess in hospital having sustained a stab wound and her son is missing! The novel then goes back in time to 55 days previously and the novel is then predominantly told in the weeks after Mark’s death leading up to Jamie’s 8th birthday party a few weeks later. It counts down the weeks in each chapter. Interspersed with this are snippets of Tess in hospital, and an interview with the police. This makes for a gripping and fast-paced read because I just wanted to know what on earth had happened! The tension builds slowly at first but then becomes so heightened that I felt like I was holding my breath at what I thought might happen next.

Oh my goodness, this book was brilliant! I was drawn into Tess’ story from the start, I really felt for her as she struggles to keep going after her husband’s sudden and shocking death. Her son Jamie is also devastated and Tess knows she has to keep going for him but she doesn’t know how to put one foot in front of the other. The depiction of grief in this book is so well done, so believable and I couldn’t see how Tess was ever going to get through it.

To make things worse for Tess her husband’s brother, Ian, is putting pressure on her to start Probate so that Mark’s finances can be put in order. He seems too aggressive and pushy with Tess at a time when she’s so vulnerable and she starts to feel quite threatened by him, which I completely understood.

I was suspicious of Shelley, the grief counsellor, as the way she comes into Tess’ life seemed strange at first and she seems to cross the boundaries of how a counsellor would behave. At the same time I could see she was offering friendship to Tess at a time when Tess was feeling so vulnerable and alone. I was never sure if I could trust Tess and had a feeling that she might have ulterior motives.

I’m keeping this review fairly vague because I want future readers to get the same experience as I did reading this book. So I will just end by saying that the characters in The Perfect Betrayal are so perfectly drawn and the storyline is breathtakingly brilliant. I had so many suspicions about everyone in this book and genuinely had no real idea of what might happen. This book is flawless; it really is the perfect psychological thriller! This is a book that I won’t ever forget and I already can’t wait to read more by Lauren North!
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Could not put this down even if i tried - was amazed and addicted by it from thee first to last page.   Just wow! 

I literally can't say anything about this tightly crafted plot, in part because I'm still reeling from the revelations, and also pondering how on earth I didn't see it coming.  I had various theories of course but on the whole I was believing what Tess was believing at the same time as her - as everything was so confusing. 

I couldn't work out how to second guess it all, and my strongest theory for one aspect of it was so far from the mark  its almost laughable. 

How do you review a book when everything you want to say may give part of the game away -  I find it so hard to believe this is the authors first book of this genre.  It is so accomplished and has completely messed with my head. 

It's a book full of suspense and tension, that keeps on ramping up,  It is addictive unputdownable writing at its very best. 

My only regret is that I've had the book on my kindle for 6 months, and it has taken me that long to get to it.  Utterly brilliant book that I whole heartedly recommend to psychological drama fans. 

Thank you to Transworld and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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If you’re feeling the psychological thriller genre is flooded and that all books sound the same, grab your copy of The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North. The author will prove you that there is still a lot of ground to cover!

Psychological thrillers are my drug. Others enjoy coffee, some can’t go through a day without a cigarette, all of us need air. I can’t imagine my life without novels making me check twice if the door is really locked or hide a little more under the cover before holding my breath while a character is going through some kind of hell. The problem with such addictions is that you devour all books available. Sooner or later, you recognize patterns, you can see twists coming, and you become pickier, more difficult to surprise. That’s when you need a hurricane to clean up the air and make room for some spicy, astounding action!

The Perfect Betrayal is built around grief. Tess is trying to cope with the death of her husband and makes her son Jaimie the center of her world. But the weight of their loss wraps Tess in a tight fog, spurring her to cut herself from family and old friends. The author beautifully captures the impact of grief and loss on a family.

Page one, Tess is in a hospital. The day before was her son’s birthday. The reader and main character have no idea where Jaimie is. I was confused and intrigued. Right that moment, I knew I was dealing with a strong plot. Then I noticed the timeline brought me back to weeks before Jaimie’s birthday, with Tess going through the motions of learning how to be a widow and a single mom. I immediately felt for her and I was more than happy when a grief counselor appeared in the picture. Shelley, with a heavy background herself, wants to help. Quickly, she becomes irreplaceable and Tess relies on her more and more as days go by. Shelley becomes a wall between Tess and the rest of the world. Now, as the ever-suspicious reader I am, I started to wonder if this relationship was really healthy. Turning your back on your family to entrust your heart, soul, and thoughts to a woman you turned out at your door one day sounds a bit reckless! How come Shelley is always at the right place at the right time? Re-reading my review, it is clear I am becoming more paranoid with each good psychological thriller I read!!!

Back to the point! As chapters bring us closer and closer to the day Tess found herself in the hospital room, a threatening cloud hangs over her and her son. Something is wrong. What happened?? Where is her son? Why is she in hospital? Like small drops slowly falling on your window panes, the author scatters hints and brings shadow to the picture. One of those shadows is Ian, Tess’ late husband’s brother. Ian comes with news… Mark owned him money. And suddenly, Tess helplessly witnesses her world grow even darker. Was her husband hiding secrets from her? As bad news never comes alone, creepy and unsettling things begin to happen, sending Tess’s world spinning. Anonymous calls, memory loss. Is Tess losing grip on reality? If you love unreliable character, welcome Tess to your world! I painted everything I was told through her eyes with a light layer of gray, not knowing what to trust, sensing the tiniest piece of information was vital, feeling I was missing something.

Truth is, I was actually missing something. Something big. Something I was not expecting. This is the moment I unleash the ‘amazing twist’ / ‘OMG moment’ / ‘magnificent and explosive climax’ propaganda. All the above applies. Yet, they are not strong enough to convey how unexpected and superbly refreshing the ending was! Imagine spending hours with a character, getting closer to her, rooting for her, grieving with her, getting the chilling vibes, fearing for her life, only to find yourself alone and naked at the end of the journey! I remember thinking ‘What on earth just happened????’ I considered going back all the way to the start to understand why I hadn’t seen the big finale coming. But Lauren North is a master storyteller and there is no point in dissecting the novel, you won’t find any flaw.

Flawless indeed. Flawless and taut, The Perfect Betrayal had the seasoned reader I am at a complete loss and I just loved it! This novel has the power to take you by surprise and delivers an ingenious, bitter, and stunning ending.

Do yourself a favor, buy what is for me one of the intelligent and cracking psychological thrillers of the moment!
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This book was brill! I was hooked from the start, I loved the storyline and fell for the characters. Tess is a grieving wife who lost her husband in a tragic accident, she suffers with dealing with the grief and looking after her 7 year old son. 
Jamie is a little boy lost without his Dad and confused by his Mum's erratic behaviour and takes comfort in Shelley when she arrives in their life.
Shelley is a grief counsellor that ends up becoming a significant part of the grieving family for reasons of her own. 
Her and Ian, Tess' brother-in-law are entangled in this storyline from start to finish. 
It's exciting, nerve wracking and addictive and I finished it in about 3 and a half hours! I just couldn't put it down. I will definitely be picking up books by Lauren North in the future :)
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Wow what a twist at the end, This was a very enjoyable book a nice easy read. I started to get to the end and still hadn't worked out the twist. I would recommend this book.
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I have had so much on in real life as I started this book that I’ve been eager to get back to it. I hadn’t been able to read the second part of the book for 2 weeks. Unheard of by me, but there you go.

Tess has a son Jamie, both are grieving the loss of her husband, Jamie’s dad.

This starts off with Tess waking in ICU, she has stab wounds. Of course the Police are there asking questions but......Jamie isn’t there, where is he?

There’s a lot going on and Tess mother things she needs counselling , grief counselling. 
We are introduced to Shelley. Shelley seems very helpful, too helpful. 

Ian is her late husbands brother who comes to tell Tess he wants his money back that her husband borrowed. She knows nothing about this and is astounded at the amount. And how is she going to pay this?

Shelley becomes her kind of go between and Tess comes across Shelley whispering to Ian many a time.
So Tess starts to write things down. 
Is she going slightly mad with grief?

There’s a person who keeps ringing her, following her.
Should she feel afraid?


This was bloody amazing.
The ending was jaw droppingly amazing, I didn’t know where this was going.
I reeled from this stunning climax.
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To anyone who reads this book my first piece of advice is "bear with it".  I spent the first half of the book feeling angry and frustrated at the lead characters (Tess) indulgence in her own grief.  Having lost her husband in a plane crash she seemed totally unable to pull herself together to look after her 7 year old son Jamie properly.  I could sympathise with her loss but I felt the boy must have been suffering too and any mother would want to be there for him.  However, as the story progresses it becomes clear that there is more to her behaviour than just being grief stricken.  The book then raises many questions , is Shelley, the grief counsellor who befriends Tess, really trying to help or is she trying to replace her own dead son with Jamie?  Is Ian, Tess's brother in law, also trying to help or coerce her?

The end of the book explains it all but the last chapter leaves the reader still shocked and feeling sad.
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This one was painful to read because I knew what was coming. I enjoyed the story but found it difficult to settle into the book. Don’t read this if you’ve had any recent losses!
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After the sudden death of her husband, Tess is drowning in grief. All she has left is her son, Jamie, and she’ll do anything to protect him – but she’s struggling to cope.

When grief counsellor Shelley knocks on their door, everything changes. Shelley is understanding and kind and promises she can help Tess through the hardest time of her life.

But when a string of unsettling events happens and questions arise over her husband’s death, Tess starts to suspect that Shelley may have an ulterior motive. Tess knows she must do everything she can to keep Jamie safe – but she’s at her most vulnerable, and that’s a dangerous place to be . . .

I love an unreliable narrator, and honestly I wasn’t certain who it was.  There is so much I’d like to say about this book, but I can’t say too much without giving spoilers.  This book certainly packs a punch: I was so surprised at the ending!  Loved this book 5*
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A heart-rending story with a clever twist, which I didn't guess until relatively late on in the book.
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Tess is struggling to look after her son, Jamie, after the death of her husband. She has been stabbed and Jamie is missing. Is it her brother in law, Ian, or her grief counsellor, Shelley, that has taken him? 

I struggled to get into this and then at about 70% I got really engrossed in it. I did guess the ending but this didn’t spoil it for me at all. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
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