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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Bed I Made

The Bed I Made is the title of an excellent atmospheric thriller set on the Isle of Wight written by Lucie Whitehouse. Kate - and English/French translator - decides on the spur of the moment to move to the Isle of Wight after the break up of her volatile relationship to Richard. This is not the Isle of Wight the tourists see but an island lashed by storms and pounded by high seas as it is the middle of winter.

Kate finds it is not so easy to get away from Richard who keeps leaving her phone messages and sending her e-mails which gradually become more threatening and sinister. As we get to know her daily life on the island we also hear about her relationship with Richard. Kate - almost as displacement activity - is fascinated by the disappearance of Alice Frewin from her boat on a stormy sea. When Kate gets to know Alice's husband, Peter, through the owner of a second hand bookshop, she becomes more and more involved in their lives. Why did Alice disappear? Was it a suicide attempt or a tragic accident? But Richard has not finished with Kate yet and the tension is mounting even though for a time her does not know where she is living.

I really enjoyed this book and cared what happened to Kate. It is written in a subtle understated style which makes the build up of tension even more convincing than if it had been written in a melodramatic style. My only reservation about it was that I could see ways of combating Richard's stalking - change her mobile phone number (which she did eventually) and change her e-mail address as well as reporting the threatening e-mails to the police. But in that case there would have been no story and I found myself quite able to suspend my disbelief until I'd finished reading.

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