As a teenager, Sarah D’Villez famously escaped a man who abducted and held her hostage for eleven days. The case became notorious, with Sarah’s face splashed across the front of every newspaper in the country.
Seventeen years later, Sarah’s attempt to build a normal life for herself in London has failed. When she hears of her kidnapper’s impending release from prison, fearful of the media storm that is sure to follow, she decides to flee to rural Wales under a new identity, telling nobody where she’s gone.
As Sarah settles in to her isolated new home and gets to know the small community she is now part of, it soon becomes creepily apparent that someone is watching her. Meanwhile, back in London, her mother makes a shocking discovery – something she fears will put Sarah’s life in danger. She must urgently find her missing daughter before it’s too late…
The Primrose Path begins as a fairly slow burner of a story and, bit by bit, develops into a really page turner, filled with mystery and suspense and that slow realisation that nothing is quite as it seems. The synopsis makes it sound like it’s all about the crime that happened to Sarah, but actually the story is about so much more than just that, and not at all like the many other crime/ thriller novels out at the moment about missing people.
The writing in this novel is fantastic; Rebecca Griffiths strikes the perfect balance between including plenty of description, without being too one winded. She really paints the scene in the reader’s head, including details such as what someone is eating, how they’re eating it and the feelings they have whilst eating it. All this information is given that at times seems surplus to the story, but all contributes to really helps the reader understand, and want to read more about, the characters – who themselves are indeed complex and mysterious. No one is perfect – everyone has their own flaws and negative traits.
There are actually very few characters that aren’t hiding something; their secrets ranging from the small to the devastating. I loved this about The Primrose Path; the way some people aren’t quite what they seem, whilst others are exactly who they profess to be. I reached the end of the end of the book and gave a smile of satisfaction with the twists and turns of the book’s journey.
The first half of the book definitely starts more slowly, taking its time to introduce characters. This is a good job, really, because there are lots of different people, with different relationships and links to each other, to get your head around, and it took me a little while to do this myself. Because of this, I did wonder if I’d soon lose interest, but once the characters are a little more established the story ramps up a gear, and you begin to understand the secrets lurking beneath the surface… Or you think you understand, anyway! Though saying this, the story never seems to need to rely on dramatics or crazy stunts to keep the reader interested; Griffith’s skilled writing does that without any help! Make sure you keep reading on and I’m sure you’ll find yourself sucked in as I did!
I’d definitely recommend this novel – it slowly draws you in, leaving you feeling, at the end, that you haven’t wasted a moment reading it. Entertaining, atmospheric and raw.