Tuesday, September 27, 2022

REVIEW: A Familiar Stranger by A. R. Torre


Trust Alessandra Torre to write some twisted shizz. I think she must take pleasure in messing with our heads and taking us on a ride--things she definitely does in A Familiar Stranger. If you're a reader of her romances, then this may not be your read because even though there is definitely plot points that involve Lillian and relationships; this is more a story of deception and loneliness and boredom and anger and how all of those things result in some very interesting (poor) choices. 

So as the blurb explains, Lillian leads a fairly boring life. She's bored and frustrated and generally dissatisfied with everything. For fun she creates murder scenarios on Twitter and sometimes likes to imagine herself as someone living a more exciting life, like those of the people she sometimes writes obituaries for. This is exactly what she does when she encounters a man, David, in a coffee shop. She takes on the persona of Taylor and decides that to him she'll be a more carefree, well traveled, fun version of herself. What starts out as a friendly flirtation turns into an affair that fills her days with a freedom she's longed for for quite a while. The trouble with all of this, of course, is that she's married with a teenage son. Sounds pretty despicable, right? It totally is. But as you'll learn there are really only two characters who aren't terrible human beings in this novel. I won't reveal who they are but seriously, I detested almost everyone in this novel for most of the novel. Lillian's husband was a controlling jerk who did his own damage to their marriage and the other characters we meet each have their own issues as well. 

If you've seen other reviews for this novel you'll see that there are some readers who didn't care for the twist that we encounter about halfway through. I am not one of those. The twist didn't turn me off or disappoint me; I actually thought it was an interesting way to explore the rest of the story. The 'death' wasn't the mystery, you only have to pay attention to the table of contents to know that someone dies. It's the how and the why that is the fun part and while I had an idea of who was involved and why before everything was revealed, I nevertheless enjoyed it and found it a fun read.

A Familiar Stranger is a fun read, with twists and turns, characters you're going to enjoy disliking, and an ending that will tie up all the loose ends. It's a great weekend escape-give it a try. 

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Such a quiet and ordinary wife and mother. Who will even notice what she’s done?

Lillian Smith leads an unexceptional life, writing obituaries and killing time with her inattentive husband and disconnected son. Then she meets David, a handsome stranger, in a coffee shop. Lured into an affair, she invents a new persona, one without strings, deadlines, or brooding husbands.

Lillian has never felt so reckless, unpredictable, or wanted. But as her affair with David intensifies, she withdraws from everything that’s real, even her closest friend. When evidence of her life as a secret lover finds its way onto her son’s social media, she risks ruining much more than her marriage or reputation.

As lies beget lies, Lillian’s two worlds spiral dangerously out of control. And betrayals run deeper than she imagines. Because Lillian isn’t the only one leading a double life.

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