Today it is my turn on the Blog Tour for the fantastic debut from Jessica Jarlvi.
Teacher, and mother of two, Anna, is great at her job and seemingly well-liked so why would someone beat her so brutally that she is left in a coma? The police in the quiet Swedish town where she lives are investigating but Anna’s husband, Erik, decides to start a bit of detective work of his own. Soon he discovers his wife, and the people of their ‘perfect’ town had secrets they would rather stay hidden. The only person who can solve the mystery of the attack is the very woman who is lying in a hospital bed. Will Anna ever be able to reveal the truth?
It is fair to say that this book did not go in the direction I was expecting and the subject matter was most definitely a surprise! As a result, some of the very descriptive scenes were slightly uncomfortable to read, although they were integral in explaining Anna’s state of mind. What started off as a straightforward ‘whodunnit’ soon became a twisted tale of passion, infidelity and unhealthy fixations. To muddy the waters further, once the main suspects began to cross paths, more and more motives began to rise to the surface.
Each chapter is devoted to one of the main players in the plot. In addition to Anna and Erik, we also have Daniel, a student with an unhealthy interest in Anna; Iris, a local librarian and close friend of Anna, and Rolf, the artist husband of Iris. Initially, I found this quite confusing but once the characters were established, it provided the author with a way of exploring the same event from the perspective of multiple characters. I found it difficult to like any of the main characters, especially as more and more secrets began to emerge, and could fully appreciate how any one of them could be the guilty party.
There were several times in the book when I wanted to shake Anna for the poor decisions she was making, especially when dealing with the Daniel situation, and felt that the whole sorry affair could have been avoided if only she’d spoken to someone about what was happening. Of course, this would not have made a good plot, though!
I think I must have suspected every character at some time whilst reading When I Wake Up, so when the perpetrator was revealed, it was not a huge surprise. Although others had a motive, in the end, for me, there was only one person who could have possibly have done it and I feel that Jessica Jarlvi has chosen the correct one.
This is a great debut and I thank Net Galley and Aria for the ARC.
About the Author
Born in Sweden, Jessica moved to London at the age of 18 to obtain a BSc Hons degree in Publishing and Business. She worked in publishing in the UK for a number of years before heading to Chicago where she edited a magazine for expats. Back in Sweden, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing. Since 2010, Jessica has taught journalism and media at a local university, and has spent the last five years as the marketing and PR manager for a British firm. Last year, she was one of the winners in the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Jessica is married with three spirited children, and although she’s known for her positivity, her writing tends to be rather dark!