Second Life by S. J. Watson
Published by Doubleday
12th February 2015
She loves her husband. She's obsessed by a stranger.
She's a devoted mother. She's prepared to lose everything.
She knows what she's doing. She's out of control.
She's innocent. She's guilty as sin.
She's living two lives. She might lose both . . .
This is the highly antcipated second novel from S. J. Watson following on from the success of Before I Go To Sleep which debuted a few years ago, and which I did enjoy, so I was looking forward to reading this. I have to say from the off, that I felt like I was watching one of those cheesy horror films, you know where there's a noise outside so the 'victim' opens the door and looks out, no one is there, but you, the audience, know that now the killer is in the house and that's it for them? Second Life felt a bit like that for me. I spent many pages yelling at Julia, the central character, that she was a total fool and not to proceed with any of her foolish ideas, but to no avail, she didn't listen to me one iota!
The plot is as follows: Julia is happily married to a surgeon, with a teenage son, and a younger sister who lives in Paris. Out of the blue she finds out that Kate, her sister, has been murdered, but there appears to be no motive for the crime. Julia goes over to Paris to see the scene for herself, and to meet Anna, Kate's flatmate and best friend. There she learns that Kate had been using websites to meet men, mostly virtually for sexual liaisons and Julia begins to wonder if this is what got her killed.
Not content to let the police handle the situation, Julia decides to pass herself off as Kate and log on to her account to see if she can find the man who might have been responsible for her death. There she meets Lukas, a single man living in Spain. They begin an online relationship, despite Julia's fears that this might be the man responsible for killing her sister. Then Lukas announces that he is in London for a night; he poses the question, does Julia want to meet him?!
Just to add to the confusion in Julia's life is the added fact that her son Connor is actually Kate's biological child but she was unable to care for him, so Julia and her husband Hugh have raised him as their own, but prior to Kate's death, she was adamant that she wanted her child back. We also flash-back to Julia's younger days when she was starting out as a photographer in Berlin and of what drove her back to the UK and into the arms of Hugh.
At this point, as you can imagine, my yelling at Julia began, and it didn't end until almost at the end of the book. There is defintely a touch of Fatal Attraction going on throughout the story, and at times I did shake my head in disbelief at some of the things that went on. But, it is fiction, and therefore, doesn't it require the ability to suspend any notions of reality, in order to submerge yourself into the fantasy world that is being created?
I read this very quickly as it is a page-turner but did I enjoy it as much as Before I Go To Sleep? I'm not entirely sure that I did, but that's not to say that it isn't a good book. Maybe if I hadn't wanted to bash Julia so much for being stupid I'd have enjoyed it a little bit more.
Miss Chapter x