The Only Child - Miranda Rijks

Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from Booksprout

Official Blurb:

One little boy. One little lie. Where will it end?
Chantal and Stuart are a golden couple. She’s a high-flying divorce lawyer dealing with the biggest case of her career, and he’s the darling of daytime television, on the cusp of A-list celebrity. Their seventeen-year old son Alex is a passionate environmentalist, the apple of his mother’s eye.
And it’s all built on a lie.
A lie told by Chantal.
When someone discovers her secret and starts to blackmail her, Chantal’s perfect life threatens to go into freefall. Her marriage, her career, and even her relationship with her son are at stake. She can’t let it happen!
She decides to fight fire with fire, but soon finds her actions have extreme - and unexpected - consequences. As she is pulled ever deeper into a web of lies and deceit, she has to ask the most terrifying question of all…
Where will it end?

My Thoughts:

Hmmm, so the is the second book in a row of Rijks’ that I’ve come away feeling a bit disappointed.
My frustration started right at the beginning where there were a few story inconsistencies. Firstly Chantal says she and Stuart have been married for 18 years, but the ‘then’ chapters start as 17 years ago, meaning they can’t have been married that long, or it was, in fact, 19 years ago since she went to Manchester (this would actually make more sense in regards to Alex’s age as well).
Secondly, Jade says she can’t come back to clean as she has no other available slots. She then tells Chantal later that she is struggling to get a job and that she only cleans Chantal’s and the landlord’s place, meaning she would have lots of other slots available.
It is discrepancies like this that make me feel as a reader that the author herself isn’t invested in the story enough to have kept track of what her characters have said in pages gone by.
I tied to put these problems aside and enjoy the book and hoped the author’s proofreading and editing team would pick up these problems in the final round of edits before publication.
However, the book as a whole was just not enjoyable. Chantal makes some very questionable decisions. Her actions are sort of explained at the end, but even this doesn’t marry up with the Chantal we have been in the mind of.
It is hard to marry the ‘now’ and ‘then’ versions of Chantal as the same person, and I sometimes felt like I was reading two different stories.
The ending is bizarre. We have predominantly had Chantal’s point of view throughout the book with the odd chapter in Alex’s voice. However, when it comes to the conclusion, we don’t hear from Chantal again. I think it would have been nice to know what she thought when everything was revealed. I came away from the book feeling like I missed something or there should have been more. I felt like I hadn’t finished the book.
Even though the majority of strangeness that had occurred throughout the book is explained, there were a few things that just didn’t add up or make sense.
So, overall, not the most enjoyable book from Miranda Rijks. I enjoyed her books until the last two, but I feel like something has changed. I might have to take a break from reading her books and hope that she finds her groove again in the future.

The Only Child
by Miranda Rijks
Date Started
27th September 2021
Date Finished
29th September 2021