Book Review: The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth

Hey everyone!

In my last book review, I said I was going to start doing singular book reviews as I finish my TBR, instead of waiting to put them all together in a blog post.

And then I hit a reading slump.

For a while it’s been like every book I pick up, I put down after two hundred pages. Maybe it’s because I had such a good reading month in February. Maybe it’s because of this migraine I can’t seem to shake that has slowed me down considerably.

Who can say?

Well, I finally finished my first book for the month of March. (Only took me 15 days.) And here are my thoughts…

The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth

Summary *Trigger Warning: suicide, mental illness

Gabe and Pippa Gerard and their two daughters live in a cottage on a cliff known for being a popular site for people looking to take their lives. Since they moved into the house, Gabe has been able to talk those looking to commit suicide off of the edge. However, one night there is a woman who he is unable to save. Her suicide sends Gabe and Pippa’s lives into a whirlwind, leading them down unimaginable paths in an effort to keep their family safe.

Overall Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I got this book as part of my Book of the Month subscription, so be advised that it doesn’t come out, officially, until April 2023.

As mentioned above, this book talks a lot about suicide and mental illness. Of course, check for other trigger warnings.

Overall, it was a compelling enough read. I’m really in my thriller era, so I enjoyed the twists and turns of this one. And, I must say, there were a couple twists that made my jaw drop.

I did have some issues with the book. In terms of the writing, the final sentence of each chapter was pretty repetitive. A lot of “And then, he did” or “And then, it was over”. So, after a while, that phrasing got a little irritating.

I thought the discussion of one of the character’s mental illness felt a little hollow to me. Maybe it lacked research or the author has never experienced mental illness personally or via someone in their lives. Maybe the author has. I don’t know. But there was something missing from the depiction of the discussion of mental illness in this book that made it feel like a convenient plot device rather than a fully fleshed out aspect of the character’s experience.

To that effect, most of the characters felt two dimensional. The story is told from duel perspectives and timelines. Don’t get me wrong. I liked the characters, I guess. But I wanted more. I wanted to connect with them more emotionally. Like the depiction of mental illness, the characters felt hollow.

This novel reminded me of The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. The premise is interesting as is the setting. But, in the end, it just fell flat. I wanted more from the characters and I didn’t love that some of the twists were pieced together very conveniently in a way that made me go, “Really? *side eye*”

The Unhinged Spoiler Review

There was one twist that really gave me the ick. Like seriously. You’re really expecting me to believe that your husband cheats on you and has a baby six months apart from when you and he had your baby…and then when the woman he cheated with dies…you’re like, “Oh! Let’s go adopt your affair baby!” I understand there are people who will forgive anything their partners do because they are afraid of losing them, but come on! I did not believe half of the things the character let her husband get away with.

And maybe I am wrong. Please correct me if that is the case. But how could the doctor have misdiagnosed the character with ADHD when it was clearly bi-polar disorder? I am not a doctor, but the way the author portrayed the character’s mania and depressive episodes was so very clearly textbook bi-polar disorder. I don’t know why this made me so angry. The mental illness aspect of this novel just felt like a mess to me.

Final Thoughts

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book! Let me know in the comments if you’ve read or are planning to read it. And, of course, I’m always looking for book recommendations.

Currently, I’m between four other books, none of which are really exciting me at the moment. (Except maybe The London Seance Society. I have to get back into that.) So, my plan is to get back to you soon with another one of these single book reviews.

Until next time, friends. Happy reading!

Published by Robyn Neilsen

I am a writer and educator based out of New Jersey. My creative nonfiction essays and flash fiction stories have been published by Thought Catalog, Vocal Media, and On Mogul. As a lifelong learner, I enjoy honing my craft through writing workshops with LA Writers Group, Gotham Writers, and The Moth. I am currently querying my first novel and am actively working on my second.

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