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Friday 17 June 2022

‘The Sinner’ by Caroline England

Published by Piatkus,
16 June 2022.
ISBN: 978-0-349-43148-2 (PB)

A vicar’s wife has to be above reproach, especially when the vicar is as dashingly handsome and charismatic as Vincent. So, Dee supports him in every way she can, attending every service and meeting, cooking elaborate meals for half the parish, maintaining the church Facebook page, and never offering a cross word to his determinedly disapproving mother Harriet, who shares the vicarage with them and their teenage daughter. She even tells herself she’s lucky and happy.

Dee’s sister Mari, on the other hand, sees right through Vincent’s munificent charm and realizes Dee is being manipulated, controlled, even. And deep down, Dee knows it too.

And then there’s Cal. He appears in Dee’s life by accident – literally – and they tumble into an affair which leaves Dee with mixed feelings. Gradually it’s revealed that he’s harbouring a secret or two – but then so is everyone. Especially Vincent.

Whether this well written and absorbing novel really qualifies as a mystery is open to debate. There are certainly secrets, and they generate a certain amount of tension, and there are characters any normal person would like to beat over the head. But the only real crime is Vincent’s ever-so-subtle way of holding Dee down and failing to allow her to be herself – and for the record, that’s not a spoiler, since it’s obvious from the early stages. 

For me, the absence of murder and mayhem is no detriment. The characters are so real they could walk off the page into my living room. I could picture the locations – the rambling vicarage, slightly spooky river bank, affluent neighbourhood side by side with slightly downmarket area. And most of all, I cared about these people and wanted to know what happened to them and what all those secrets were.

Is Mari right about Vincent? Will snide Harriet get her comeuppance? Can Dee and Cal be happy? Read it and see. You’ll be as engrossed as I was.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Caroline England was born in Yorkshire. She studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border. She writes multi-layered, dark and edgy ‘domestic suspense’ stories that delve into complicated relationships, secrets and the moral grey area. Her debut novel, Beneath the Skin, was published by Avon HarperCollins in October 2017, followed by My Husband's Lies, Betray Her and Truth Games.  Under the name CE Rose she has also penned gothic-tinged psychological thrillers The House Of Hidden Secrets and The House On The Water's Edge.  Drawing on her days as a divorce and professional indemnity lawyer, she loves to create ordinary, relatable characters who get caught up in extraordinary situations, pressures, dilemmas or crime. She also enjoys performing a literary sleight of hand in her novels and hopefully surprising her readers! Caroline has had stories and poems published in a variety of literary publications and anthologies. Watching Horsepats Feed the Rose, and Hanged By The Neck are her two dark, twisty short story collections. Caroline’s new psychological thriller is The Sinner published in June 2022.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives in Oxfordshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this fantastic review, Lynne! You have summarised it much better than I could! So pleased you were engrossed ☺️