Synopsis from Good Reads:
Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.
What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.
The Vanishing Year combines the classic sophistication of Ruth Rendell and A.S.A. Harrison with the thoroughly modern flair of Jessica Knoll. Told from the point-of-view of a heroine who is as relatable as she is enigmatic, The Vanishing Year is an unforgettable new novel by a rising star of the genre.
I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.
The Vanishing Year will be available September 27, 2016.
I was expecting The Vanishing Year to be a suspenseful and shocking read. Instead I found it be a very character-driven story about a woman trying to figure out who she is, with a bit of mystery thrown in. This isn’t a bad thing, it just wasn’t the book I was hoping for.
Zoe has married one of New York’s most elite, eligible bachelors and she’s struggling to fit into his world. While Henry’s love at first sight infatuation and his determination to woo her into a quick marriage made him seem very romantic at first, he’s now pretty controlling and even borderline abusive. She’s changed a lot for him and it’s causing her to question her self-identity, which is already muddled due to her troubled past. The story mostly focuses on Zoe juggling her precarious relationship with Henry with trying to find her birth mother and being afraid that her past has caught up to her.
The pace of the story is pretty slow for most of the book. It’s a lot of Zoe thinking about her past and struggling with being a “kept woman.” While she was a sympathetic character for sure, she did get a little on my nerves. She was often a contradiction. She would be very scared about her new life being discovered, but would put herself out in the public eye and then tell half her story to a reporter she just met. She would try to stand up for herself when Henry was trying to control her and then relent at the smallest nice gesture. Despite this, she was an overall pretty likable character, though.
The action and the little suspense there was didn’t really kick in until near the end of the book. I had a suspicion about something from pretty early on and then there was a surprise I wasn’t expecting, which was nice, but as soon as it was revealed I immediately knew what happened. The (supposed to be) shocking plot twists after that felt pretty Lifetime Movie inspired.
Overall, The Vanishing Year, was a decent read. The character development of Zoe was good and I also really liked her new reporter friend, Cash. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t the suspenseful tale that I was hoping for. However, if you are looking for a good character-driven story with a little mystery (and some slightly campy plot twists), I think you would enjoy it.
Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars