Lucy Atkins - The Night Visitor
"...an outstanding psychological thriller. I loved it."
Professor Olivia Sweetman, glamorous TV presenter and respected historian, has just published what she hopes will be a best seller based on the life and career of Annabel, a Victorian woman who emerges from a difficult life at home to create a professional life as a doctor at a time when this is extremely rare. She bases the story on a diary presented to her by Vivian, housekeeper to the elderly Lady Burley who is in a nursing home.
Olivia apparently has it all: career, husband, family and looks. Vivian is the opposite with a mundane job, ordinary looks and few relationships apart from with her beloved dog.
But Vivian holds a secret which could topple Olivia from her perch and destroy her reputation. The reasons for this and the workings of her mind are half of the fascination of the book. The other half is the effect that this secret has on Olivia and the way in which her comfortable values are tested when all is at stake.
This is a fascinating study of the way in which human minds work. Revenge is a powerful motive and a twisted intellect can produce a frightening result. The development of the relationship between the two women is cleverly handled from the smug well-meaning attitude of Olivia to the cold blooded obsessively planned retaliation of Vivian. As the truth emerges it appears that revenge is truly a dish best served cold. Both women are victims in different ways.
The atmosphere generated by the power of the unknown and the suitably Gothic surroundings make this an outstanding psychological thriller. I loved it.
Reviewed by: S.D.