Greenwich Park By Katherine Faulkner
Book/Novel Author: Katherine Faulkner
Book/Novel Title: Greenwich Park
“A twisty, fast-paced” (The Sunday Times, London) debut thriller, as electrifying as the #1 New York Times bestseller The Girl on the Train, about impending motherhood, unreliable friendship, and the high price of keeping secrets.In this “gloriously tangled game of cat and mouse that kept the twists coming until the very last moment” (Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Helen’s idyllic life—handsome architect husband, gorgeous Victorian house, and cherished baby on the way—begins to change the day she attends her first prenatal class. There, she meets Rachel, an unpredictable single mother-to-be who doesn’t seem very maternal: she smokes, drinks, and professes little interest in parenthood. Still, Helen is drawn to her. Maybe Rachel just needs a friend. And to be honest, Helen’s a bit lonely herself. At least Rachel is fun to be with. She makes Helen laugh, invites her confidences, and distracts her from her fears. But her increasingly erratic behavior is unsettling. And Helen’s not the only one who’s noticed. Her friends and family begin to suspect that her strange new friend may be linked to their shared history in unexpected ways. When Rachel threatens to expose a past crime that could destroy all of their lives, it becomes clear that there are more than a few secrets laying beneath the broad-leaved trees and warm lamplight of Greenwich Park.
“Greenwich Park” opens with a question; “Dear Helen, what did you do that day, after I was convicted?” The story unfolds in Helen Thorpe’s first-person present tense narrative, so readers get to know her well. She shares what she thinks and feels. She reminisces, remembers, evaluates, and judges. Her home is being remodeled, and she just left her job on maternity leave. This is not her first pregnancy; the others did not end well. At her first prenatal class she befriends Rachel, a young girl who arrives alone. Chapters then count upward from 24 weeks until the arrival of Helen’s baby is imminent. There are also alternate chapters in other voices, friends, and relatives. The narrative is filled with everyday activities and family get-togethers; however, there are always casual mentions of things that happened “before,” echoes of a traumatic past “something.” Katie Wheeler’s story also unfolds in a present tense narrative. She is covering a high-profile rape trial with prominent defendants. The victim has been vilified on social media, and Kate desperately wants to talk to her. There is yet another voice, an alternate present tense voice, quite different, in Greenwich Park, watching, commenting, continuing to watch. Faulkner creates a narrative that starts innocently enough with a family and a friendship, but it takes a gradual turn; many things are not what they seem to be. Several secrets are buried in the past, traumatic ones, and they come bubbling to the surface. I received a review copy of “Greenwich Park” from Katherine Faulkner, Gallery Books, and Simon & Schuster. Things might seem to be over, but they are not and may never be truly over.
Katherine Faulkner’s debut novel Greenwich Park follows Helen Trope and her family (her husband Daniel, brother Rory and sister in-law Serena) as a mysterious woman, Rachel, worms her way into their lives and tries to destroy them. Helen and Daniel are expecting their first child in a few weeks, after years of heartbreak from many miscarriages. When Helen attends her first prenatal class she meets Rachel, a young, single pregnant woman. Rachel and Helen could not be any more different. Where Helen is quiet, shy, and excited about becoming a mother, Rachel is loud, smokes and drinks and does not seem all that excited about having a baby. Despite their differences, Helen is drawn to Rachel and a fast friendship is formed. But their friendship is soon falling apart, as Rachel’s behavior becomes unsettling. After a heated argument with Helen, Rachel goes missing. As the police investigate, it becomes clear that Rachel meeting Helen was not by chance. Rachel had an ulterior motive, and she was threatening to expose secrets Helen’s family has been keeping. While the story centered around Helen, and I did like her for the most part, her friend Kate was my favorite character. She is a reporter who is currently reporting on a rape case, and it is while she is working on this case that she discovers another rape case years ago that took place at the same college that Helen, Daniel, Rory, and Serena attended. As she digs deeper, she learns some disturbing facts about the case. I also really liked how she was there for Helen after Rachel disappeared and she even started investigating Rachel’s disappearance on her own. Kate’s digging into Rachel’s past turns up some disturbing facts and unearths secrets that Helen’s family was hoping would stay buried. As I said, I did like Helen for the most part, but there were a few times that she annoyed me. Helen was too trusting and naïve in my opinion. There was one point in the story when Rachel showed up at Helen’s house on the night of her and Daniel’s anniversary. She was upset and looked like she had been abused so Helen let her stay the night (rightfully so), but one night turned into a couple of weeks. Rachel pretty much took over Helen’s house and all I could think of is ‘Why are you letting her walk all over you?” I did enjoy trying to figure out what Rachel was up to. I liked the mystery about her and trying to piece things together. This book did have lots of twists I did not see coming and an ending that left me satisfied. Unfortunately though, for me the book did seem to drag at points. Despite the slow pace of the book, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Rachel and why she targeted Helen and her family. All in all, I thought Greenwich Park was a solid debut and look forward to reading more from Katherine Faulkner. 3 ½ stars
This is a fun thriller. Overall I enjoyed it , but did the main character need to be such an idiotic doormat? Really? It is just unrealistic that any woman in this century would be so clueless and trusting even when all evidence shows her she should take action. I’m disappointed that in her efforts to portray the main character Helen as a nice, somewhat innocent, she had to make her a weak-willed and naive fool. Would’ve been better if I hadn’t had to keep yelling “you’re an idiot Helen!” when I was listening to this.
Thank you Netgalley and Gallery Books for this advance reader copy in exchange for my honest review. I had higher hopes for this book. I enjoyed it and it was a page turner, but I’m still kind of scratching my head. It went sideways at some point, but I’m still deciding where. This story is told in alternating timelines by three different women, Helen, Katie and Seren, all three of which are somewhat unreliable narrators. Helen has two brothers, Rory and Charlie and a husband named Daniel. Helen, Daniel, Rory and Serena studied at Cambridge University together and upon Helen, Rory and Charlie’s parents untimely death, Rory and Daniel are left the family business. Rory and Serena marry and youngest brother Charlie has a high school sweetheart, Katie, that he keeps running back to. Confused? Yes. I was too. Then, throw in a mysterious woman named Rachel and you’ve got Greenwich Park. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good book. I just think the author tried the shock factor too much and the story got muddled. The book was not predictable. I thought I knew where things were going a few times and man, was I wrong. I liked the plot twists, I just thought the story lacked clarity in places. I found myself confused more frequently than I should have been. All in all, it was enjoyable, but not memorable. Three stars.
I love finding a great debut author. Greenwich Park was so full of twists and turns. I really recommend this debut thriller. It will have you shaking your head over and over again.
Fun and faced paced thriller with absurdly implausible plot twists and details. Also features a completely unoriginal and uncreative climax. Seems like the author is more interested in selling the movie rights to formula driven Hollywood. Too bad, with more effort and imagination she may have had a decent book.