Review: The Vow

The Vow by Debbie Howells
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Publication Date: 15 October 2020
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Find it on: Goodreads
Find the author: on her website; @debbie__howells

CW: domestic abuse; suicide

52427452._sy475_The Vow is a twisted psychological thriller with enough turns to keep you second guessing everyone until you reach the end.

As much as I love murder, horror, and all things dastardly, I’m very rarely kept up all night flipping pages in a book because I have to get to the end before I can sleep. But something about The Vow kept me up until I saw it through to its conclusion.

“[Try] to imagine the kind of sick bastard who sends flowers with their stems encased in a bag of blood.”+

While this is a domestic psychological thriller, Howells manages to craft a story that keeps pushing forward. Even the pauses are pregnant with anticipation and when the story slows I wasn’t left feeling like this would be a great place to stop and do the dishes. I still wanted to know what would happen next.

Amy (the main of three narrators throughout the book) is unreliable, but unlike Gone Girl’s Amy or The Girl on the Train’s Rachel, we’re never sure what she’s saying isn’t true or that her judgment has really been impaired. And the complexity of her doubt, and our doubt of her, is another element that drives this book to the end.

Howells uses her background as a florist to fill the novel with the secret language of flowers, an added element that offered some Victorian-era villainy to the plot without playing too heavy-handedly into symbolism. A balance I found impressive here and lacking in similar genre books.

The eventual revelation of the villain and conclusion of the plot does require a bit of suspension of disbelief, but as with every good mystery, it doesn’t matter if a story like this happens often only that it could happen once.

Similar books to read now: Sophie Hannah’s The Other Woman’s House

Read it? Liked it? Adding it to your TBR list? Let me know in the comments!

*I received a galley of this book for review purposes*

+this quote was taken from an ARC of the book, when the book is published all efforts will be made to ensure accuracy against the final copy.

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