A woman retraces an estranged friend’s last days following her seemingly accidental death.
Secrets can bind a friendship or tear it apart. For Rowan Winter, it’s been 10 years since she’s spoken to Marianne Glass, once her closest companion, but the news of Marianne’s death is still a crushing blow. A renowned artist, Marianne allegedly fell from the roof of the same Oxford home where, years earlier, Rowan once considered herself an honorary member of the lively, intellectual Glass clan. Whitehouse (Before We Met, 2014, etc.) teases the reader by withholding the specifics of what drove the two women apart that summer following college graduation and patriarch Seb Glass’ death, leaving just enough crumbs to generate a healthy dose of suspense. Encouraged by Marianne’s mother, Jacqueline, to attend the funeral, Rowan, currently living in London, finds herself back in Oxford, and from there, it’s easy to become ensnared in the life Marianne, darling of the art world, led. Convinced that her friend, who’d always suffered from crippling vertigo, didn’t simply tumble off the roof, Rowan volunteers to housesit—an offer that Marianne’s grieving mother and brother gladly accept—and begins digging into Marianne’s final, haunting series of paintings, as well as her tabloid-fodder relationship with her gallerist. Marianne isn’t the only one with secrets, and Whitehouse expertly unpeels Rowan’s layers to reveal someone who’s infinitely more intriguing—and darker—than she initially lets on.
A first-rate psychological thriller about the decisions we make that forever define us.