The Honeymoon - Rona Halsall
Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from NetGalley
‘I’m your husband, Chloe. We’re a partnership now and we do what’s best for us as a couple.’ Chloe finally feels like she’s got her life together. After a difficult childhood and losing both parents, she worked hard for the life she loves in lively Brighton, helping people as a physiotherapist. And then she meets the perfect man. It’s a whirlwind romance, but Dan is handsome, funny, and simply the kindest man she’s ever met. When she sees him standing by the altar, tears glistening in his eyes, she knows this will be for always. As they sunbathe on their honeymoon island, laughing over drinks, planning their future with their feet in the sand, Dan jokes that he’d like them to stay there forever. At first, Chloe couldn’t agree more. It’s tempting to imagine truly leaving her troubled past behind. But as the honeymoon goes on, he becomes increasingly adamant. They shouldn’t leave. In fact, he won’t let her…
I found the suspense and tension of this book really enthralling. This is a true psychological thriller whereby you feel the protagonist’s horror and fear. Chloe has always wanted a husband and a family to love her after her dark past with her own family. So when she meets Dan, she thinks this has finally happened. After a whirlwind romance, they marry and head off on honeymoon as blissful as can be. However, things start to turn very fast, and we begin to see Dan in a completely different light. He is egotistical and controlling, and Chloe is suddenly trapped. The tension Chloe was feeling kept me turning the page to see how she was going to get out of the predicament she found herself in. It actually started to make me feel claustrophobic like I couldn’t escape. I was in the book in her shoes, feeling it all. The conclusion took a while to come; the author really built up the suspense and left us, the readers, and Chloe in the unknown. The ending was quite dragged out. You get all the answers and more, but it felt like it went on a bit. Up until about 75% in, this was a five-star read, but the ending, unfortunately, took it down to a four. I like to know the outcome of a story and the aftermaths, but when it said one year later, then six months later, then two weeks later, I found myself rolling my eyes. Some of Chloe’s actions later in the book were frustrating as well. If I had felt as wary of Dan as she did, and knowing the potential to be trapped, I would keep all my valuables on my person and not let them out of my sight, but she was leaving them all over the place which only landed her in further trouble. This was very annoying as she had seemed on the ball, and wasn’t prepared to put up with any nonsense up until this point. She was a likeable character as she wasn’t one of these weak-willed protagonists that you usually come across in psych thrillers. She knew her own mind and was prepared to stick up for her rights and her life. This made the silly actions even more disappointing. Overall, it was a good read and kept me hooked to the end, but unfortunately, the ending left me feeling a little disillusioned.