Cover Image: The Perfect Life

The Perfect Life

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Member Reviews

This started slowly and the Then and Now where slightly confusing but as I progressed things became clearer and more fast paced. Great characters, a creepy element to the story with a twist at the end.
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I enjoyed this book, it was an easy read, good story and i liked the main character- there were bits that frustrated me though and some unanswered questions.......
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Not everyone has the life they want and always want something they can’t have. It was as good story incorporating it all
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This was a great read, enjoyed it thoroughly, great storyline and loads of twists and turns , highly recommend this book x
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
I have just finished reading this, and completed about half of the book at one sitting! This is quite unusual for me, as I usually read at a fairly staid rate - but I found it so compelling that I just kept reading until I had reached the conclusion!
Which really sums up my thoughts about this novel. It was gripping and well plotted - although I did suss out two important things about the plot before they were revealed to the reader, this in no way affected my enjoyment of the book. (I won’t say anything more, for fear of spoiling it for others, although if you do read this - and I highly recommend that you do, if you enjoy a thoroughly gripping mystery - you may well guess what I mean). The characters were, I thought, well-drawn and believable, and the premise unusual and intriguing. I felt all through the book that things were not as they seemed - read the book to find out whether this was so, or not!
I am quite an emotional reader, so this is not terribly unusual for me - but I had tears in my eyes as I completed this, which is testament to its emotional impact. It had been a while since I had read anything in this genre, but I will not hesitate to look out for other books by this author - an enthralling read, indeed!

(Have written a review on Goodreads but don’t know how to add a link; also tried to write one on Amazon, but it came up with this message: “This item is not available to review” - although I was on the book’s page - sorry!)
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A Perfect life was a struggle for me to read and I almost gave up a third of the way in as I found it confusing.
Vanessa is 32 and lives with her friend Lottie until she meets Connor, a friend of one of her bosses.
She has an unusual hobby of visiting properties for sale that she can’t afford to buy, under an assumed name - why she uses an assumed name I don’t know as who would check at an initial viewing stage.
She has lost her job and has also visited a house where the owner Geoffrey River, a children’s writer has been found dead. He is one of Vanessa’s favourite writers. She had given an assumed name but her sister’s address where she is now staying. 
She seems to shift from real world to make believe as easily as the story moves from present to the past. Both of which I found confusing.
Vanessa’s  sister Georgie  is a much more likeable character than she is and a lot of the time I struggled to care about ‘Nessa.’
I skimmed through some of the book as I wanted to get past a lot of the details of houses she visited and the children’s books which were repetitive and not that interesting.
3 Stars ⭐️ 
Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin for allowing me to read this book in return for a fair review.
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A woman wearing a pink sundress with blood on her hands is seen on CCTV running away from Holly Maze House in Hampstead.  She’s just been viewing it and told the estate agent that her name is Iris Lawson but that was a lie.  It’s just another false name as she views upmarket houses that she can never afford and steals a souvenir from each one.  
Until one day the police knock at the door of her older sister’s house where’s she’s now living and arrest her for the murder of a once famous children’s novelist, Geoffrey Rivers.   They soon discover that her real name is Vanessa Adams and her history of viewing upmarket houses. Vanessa’s life is in freefall and she’s ended up living in a bedroom at her older sister’s house in London. Jobless after she trashed a career that once meant so much to her and at the end of a toxic relationship with her partner, Connor.  She doesn’t know how she ended up in this situation.
But she remembers the past vividly and her connection to Geoffrey Rivers and his books which she loved as a child.  The viewing at Holly Maze House was too good to resist as it gave her an opportunity to look round the house that featured in his books and to meet him in person.  Vanessa’s fixation with him is a return to happier times; listening to him on the radio with her mum as a child, reading the books and being a member of the Holly Mazers club.  
In the meantime someone’s watching her from the shadows, someone who she met briefly a long time ago and doesn’t remember it. But he’s never forgotten her.  And she’ll wish he had as they meet again at Holly Maze House.  Who really knows the truth of what happened that day?
This book wasn’t for me as I found its complicated narrative structures with several timelines confusing and each chapter is in a different one. This gave the novel a disjointed feel and at times it was hard to follow as the story switched from one timeline to another.    I also found one of the plot elements didn’t work for me and the ending felt rushed as all the plotlines came together.  However, I liked Vanessa who was a good, strong character trying to cope with the bad hand she’s been dealt.
When she met Connor her life began to spiral out of control and that was very well described.

My thanks to Penguin and Netgalley for an ARC.
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I was drawn to the premise of the book as the idea of wanting more than the cards you have been dealt in life is very relatable. However, the events of the novel and the reactions of many of the characters, for me, weren't convincing enough to carry the premise through to a deeper level. Nonetheless, it's entertaining and well-written, the flashbacks were very effective, and the many twists and turns compelled me to keep reading so I finished it in a day. The denouement was unnecessarily drawn out but overall a good, fast-paced read.
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I chose this book based on the publisher's blurb:  'Vanessa has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape.  That's how it started: looking round houses she couldn't possibly afford. Harmless fun really.  Until it wasn't. Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead.  And everyone thinks Vanessa killed him...'

However, the reality is that the book is quite different.  Vanessa had a tough start when her mother died suddenly, but her sister Georgie stepped in and looked after her.  She then made a life for herself - she had a good career, a good friend Lottie and then she met the man of her dreams, Connor.  However, Vanessa is quite unstable, and the threads of her life begin to unpick with the dead homeowner just becoming a catalyst.  

I didn't enjoy this book, but I couldn't really identify why.  Its well written, it does leap around the time frame a little but its still clear where we are.  I just didn't like the main character very much and did not find her, or the events that took over her life, to be very believable.  Maybe just too much happens to her, so the reader is left wondering what is real and what is in her mind.   Which is maybe what the author intended, as she tries to make us think about what it is to be a victim.

For me, it didn't really work, but make up your own mind!  

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin General UK for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Not a bad read, but great.  Quite interesting.  I read it all and found it to be a reasonably good read, if rather       far-fetched.
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I am sorry but I thought this story was extremely contrived and dare I say cheesy? I read it until the very end so it wasn't... awful. I just thought the plot was just extremely far-fetched and there were a lot of loose ends that were left untied by the end. The flatmate? The ex? A lot of drama leading nowhere very exciting...
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Vanessa has a wonderful job that she loves and now she meets a new boyfriend and life appears near perfect.  She starts to think about buying a house together but he's not keen.  As a few cracks begin to appear in their happiness she finds she gets relief by going to look a houses she can't possibly afford..  Eventually a house catches her eye, it was the inspiration for a series of books that captivated her as a child.
The plot contains a slowly unravelling dysfunctional relationship and an unexpected final development to this psychological drama.  Excellent.
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Really enjoyed about 3/4 of the book and was looking forward to finishing reading it.
Found the ending let the story down but maybe just not to my taste.
I would recommend reading it in case I am in the minority.
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A story of want...……………...wanting what others have and you desire. A little bit of 'make believe' is it so dangerous?  It can lead to accusations of murder even when you are innocent. A well thought out, constructed story with a conclusion that you may not suspect.
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An interesting storyline and a view of the escapism that many of us use when looking around other peolpes homes and lives. Really engaging.
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Lots of twists and turns in the plot. 

The ending was a surprise. 

Good strong believable characters.
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Heart stoppingly good. I stayed awake ling into the night unable to stop reading til the totally unexpected and brilliant finish. Vanessa is able to try on new personas as easily as trying on new clothes, which comes in handy as she fools estate agents into thinking she is a cash  buyer for the expensive dream homes they show her around. But is she a killer? When is caught on camera running from a house where the body of her favourite childhood author is found, all indications point to Vanessa as the killer. I don't want to spoil the suspense for the reader but you will never expect the nailbiting denouement. So cleverly written with shoals of red herrings, this is the ultimate psychological thriller. Highly recommend
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This is the story of a woman, Vanessa, in her thirties with a range of problems many of which stem from her childhood. Making friends was difficult and after the early death of her mother, she relied as she still does on the steadying influence of her much older sister Georgie. Her childhood escape was into stories written by Geoffrey Rivers who lived nearby in a house called Holly Maze. She identified with his fictional character, a boy called Angus. Vanessa enters an apparently steady relationship with Connor but it turns out there are control issues there too. Then she becomes obsessed with contacting estate agents to view houses for sale. She uses an assumed identity each time and steals an item from each. It turns out that the author Geoffrey was not all he seemed to be. The story around that is revealed late on in the book and stretches credulity a bit. Nevertheless, the book is well written and keeps the reader keen to know where it is going.
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I enjoyed this book! I was guessing from the outset and I thought it tackled the topic of domestic abuse really well. 

Vanessa is likable and you find yourself hoping she will prevail. And yet, you don't know if she's the murderer until right at the end of the book. I didn't enjoy the last few chapters as much as the start of the book but on the whole it was an enjoyable read!
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This story had me guessing right until the end. I couldn’t read it at bedtime because I just couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed it, although I did get confused with the different time periods from time to time. I’d recommend this book to family and friends.
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