As I have often said, I am not a fan of books with subtitles that tout the story within. It seems to have become a popular way to grab prospective readers’ attention. That being said, the blurb for He Will Find You was enticing enough to encourage me to give it a read.
Let me say from the beginning that author Diane Jeffrey does an excellent job of describing the settings, especially the Lake District, land of Wordsworth. I’ve visited the area and her descriptions of the region brought my memories to the surface.
The primary character, Kaitlyn Best, arrives at her new home, The Old Vicarage, and is immediately dismayed. Using words like “isolated”, “cold, dark grey stone”, and “prison-like” the author sets the tone for the story to come. I felt a thrill of fear from the first page. Kaitlyn Best is not my favorite idea of a heroine, and she is definitely an unlikely one. Even as she questions whether she is making a mistake, she continues stubbornly push her hesitation aside and runs full tilt into a marriage with a man she hardly knows.
Alexander Riley had gone to school with Kaitlyn. Finding him on Facebook, they strike up a friendship. When they finally reunite after twenty years, they have a one-night stand. This happens despite the fact that Kaitlyn has a boyfriend she lives with. This tells me Kaitlyn has some underlying unresolved issues. It turns out that is true. Her twin sister Louisa had been murdered and she never truly got over the loss. (Louisa’s specter hangs over portions of the story rather like Hamlet’s father). Subsequently, her mother had died leaving only her father and her older sister, Julie. She does have a best friend, Hannah, and of course the boyfriend she betrays and leaves behind, Kevin.
Alex has a sad story as well. He is divorced and his ex is keeping his daughters away from him. He only has his mother who is not very impressed with Kaitlyn. There is an uneasy shadow over the relationships in this book, almost as though a dark cloud hangs over everyone and everything. Author Jeffrey does give the book a gothic feel which plays well as the story unwinds. At times Kaitlyn seems a bit too gullible, Alex seems extremely controlling, and the other players brush aside any doubts they have about the upcoming nuptials.
As the story advances, the mysteries increase. The more Kaitlyn learns about her new husband, the more concern she has about her decision to marry him. There are tense moments; phone calls when no one speaks, accidents and misunderstandings, and the shadow of dark secrets.
I don’t like Kaitlyn. She is far too weak in the beginning and I often wanted to smack her in the back of her head, warning her to stop acting like a simpering Victorian damsel. She is far too accepting of Alex’s often bizarre behavior. I find it difficult to reconcile this with a young woman who had lived with a boyfriend yet succumbed to a one-night affair with a man she hadn’t seen in twenty years.
There are some sad moments, suspenseful moments, and a neat little surprise in the end. (I had already figured it out almost from the beginning.)
It’s a fairly good story with some interesting subplots. Some things are a bit unbelievable, but if you are willing to suspend disbelief and you enjoy suspense and the English countryside, you will enjoy the book. I would recommend the author remove the lengthy subtitle. Let the reader make up her own mind about what kind of story she is reading. Show, don’t tell. The author’s vivid descriptions of the Lake Country have given this four stars.