The Sleeper is Emily Barr’s latest novel and it’s definitely a page turner from start to finish. It is a tense thriller that keeps the reader guessing throughout as he or she tries to work out what has happened to the elusive Lara Finch – a woman with at least one secret and probably more.
Lara Finch has a pretty quiet life living with her husband, Sam, in Cornwall. They moved from London with the hope of starting a family but years later after several rounds of unsuccessful IVF, they are broke, childless and unhappy. When Lara gets the chance to work a contract in London, she realises that as well as helping to pay off their debts, it will be exciting and give her a new outlet in life. Although Sam is initially unhappy, she takes the job and starts travelling to London on the sleeper train each Sunday night. From the start, she starts living a double life; that of a successful businesswoman in the week and then as a devoted wife at the weekend. However, things become complicated when the allure of the London life becomes so strong that Lara feels that she can no longer keep returning to Sam at weekends. Before she can tell him of her decision though, Lara disappears and at the same time a shocking discovery is made on the sleeper train. What has Lara done and what has happened to her? Only her friend Iris seems to want to find out and her determination for uncovering the truth leads her on a dangerous journey across continents
The Sleeper is a tense and exciting novel that had me hooked from the very first page. Emily Barr writes in a clever way that slowly and tantalisingly reveals details that make it very hard to predict what is going to happen. This is exactly what I want as a reader and it’s the promise of all these slight revelations that make me keep reading. It is also an absorbing story with many sub plots running alongside each other. I found Iris to be a particularly interesting character and her own story is especially poignant. I also liked the fact that much of the story at the start of the book was set on the sleeper train and it was fascinating to read of this ‘other world’ and the camaraderie between all the passengers as they set off on their journeys.
Emily Barr is one of my favourite authors and her writing never disappoints. Each book is new and fresh and there is nothing predictable or formulaic about her stories. This is about the tenth book I have read from her and I am still left wanting more.
The Sleeper by Emily Barr
Published by Headline Review, July 2013
Thanks to the publisher for sending a review copy.
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