Imperfect Women Hardcover – 4 August 2020
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- Publisher : MCD (4 August 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0374272581
- ISBN-13 : 978-0374272586
- Dimensions : 16.15 x 2.74 x 23.67 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 613,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
**Editors' Choice at The New York Times Book Review**
A Best Book of the Summer at Stylist
A Most Anticipated Book of 2020 at The Millions
A Most Anticipated Book of Summer at CrimeReads
Here [Araminta Hall] turns her close attention to women--how complicated their lives are; the Faustian bargains they make when they get married and raise children, or not; the complicated nature of their friendships; how hard they are on each other and themselves . . . The book creeps on you slowly, like a fog, until you find yourself enveloped in this tangled skein of relationships, eager to see how all this is going to play out, who is going to betray whom and in what way . . . Imperfect Women is not a conventional detective story, but an investigation into character and motivation.
--Sarah Lyall, The New York Times Book Review
--Elisabeth Moss, on Instagram A gripping thriller that has me racing through the pages.
--Laura Jane Williams, Good Housekeeping Promises to please those who enjoy psychological thrillers and all those who love Elena Ferrante but wish her series was just a bit (okay, a lot) more twisted . . . Hall's suspenseful and astute thriller should keep us guessing till the very last reveal.
--Molly Odintz, Lit Hub "A psychological thriller in the truest sense of the word: a thoughtful examination of the psyche of three credible women with baggage and flaws. So much will resonate: not least Hall's exploration of gender politics and motherhood. At points I was folding pages repeatedly. Deeply unsettling."
--Sarah Vaughan, author of Anatomy of a Scandal Imperfect Women mines that grey area where friends' lives feed our own insecurities to dazzling effect.
--Francesca Brown, Stylist "Imperfect Women is a stunning, dark novel about who women want to be and the reality of who they are. Beautifully written, thought-provoking, and should not be missed."
--Samantha Downing, author of His Lovely Wife Readers who enjoy a challenge will appreciate how deftly Hall paints nearly every character as a viable suspect . . . Imperfect Women is an engrossing deep dive into the individual and shared history of a long-term friendship, an acknowledgement of the slow poison of being confined by gender roles, and an exploration of what can happen when reasonable expectations begin to seem sadly unattainable.
--Linda M. Castellitto, BookPage [A] heart-wrenching psychological thriller . . . Hall shows each woman being emotionally drawn to doing something she knows is awful, revolting against feeling trapped, and feeling separated from her support system by guilt, evoking both empathy and outrage in the reader. The suspense alone is crafted skillfully enough to hold interest, but the dark portrait of the stifling nature of contemporary womanhood makes this story really stick.
--Publishers Weekly "A brilliant exploration of the secrets and hidden lives women create for themselves as they try to navigate their way through life. A fabulous novel of modern love, life and people, with an excellent twist."
--Dorothy Koomson, author of Tell Me Your Secret At times surprising and other times disturbing, Imperfect Women is a suspenseful mystery with depth, a frightful look at domesticity gone awry, intricately written with layers of female frailty and ferocity that are impossible to turn away from.
--Paula Priamos, New York Journal of Books Rare and very refreshing . . . Middle-aged women are represented in all their wise, sensual, flawed complexity. I enjoyed it so much.
--Marian Keyes, author of Grown Ups
Out come secrets galore, plus a nuanced depiction of complex female friendships. For fans of Patricia Highsmith and Paula Hawkins."
--The Millions Beautifully written and expertly structured--a masterclass in psychological thriller writing
--Simon Lelic, author of The New Neighbors
[This] absorbing psychological thriller is much more than a classic whodunit. Readers who think they finally know who the killer is will be confounded by the twists and turns the plot takes . . . The story goes deep into guilt, love, and the ties that bind us. Recommended for fans of Paula Hawkins.
--Kristen Calvert, Library Journal Although there's a murder at the heart of Imperfect Women, it's not a conventional detective story. Its real mysteries concern love, friendship, obligation, and the disappointments that come with the passage of time."
--The New York Times, 12 New Books We Recommend This Week It's been clear from the start that Araminta Hall has a talent for telling unpalatable truths and Imperfect Women is no exception. She expertly peels the layers from the everyday lies we tell each other, and ourselves.
--Sarah Hilary, author of Come and Find Me A perfect slow-burning thriller.
--Nikki Smith, author of All in Her Head The investigation into Nancy's murder is the electric cord charging [Araminta Hall's] absorbing novel . . . Hall's astute novel unravels a gripping mystery and explores the complicated shifts of personal and familial relationships and the conflicts between societal expectations and inner desires.
--Leah Strauss, Booklist A psychological page-turner . . . that deftly explores the dark and confronting dualities of womanhood.
--Laura Jane Williams, author of Our Stop Pitch-perfect, meticulously observed, and utterly absorbing.
--Philippa East, author of Little White Lies An emotionally-drenched novel that focuses on guilt and betrayal . . . Araminta Hall has done an excellent job with Imperfect Women. Her style is eminently readable, her characters believable.
--Mark Rose, bookgasm A dark take on friendship and festering secrets.
--Caroline Hulse, author of The Adults Tense.
--Julie Cohen, author of Dear Thing Immersive, intelligent and gripping.
--S. E. Lynes, author of The Women A slow-burning, tense build to a furious conclusion. It's great.
--Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange Hall's fifth novel takes a refreshing approach to the multiple-narrator thriller . . . it culminates in a satisfying solution to the crime . . . Good bone structure.
--Kirkus A brilliantly unsettling exploration of secrets and lies.
--Jo Spain, author of With Our Blessing A deeply satisfying psychological thriller . . . insightful and sometimes disquieting.
--Cara Hunter, author of In the Dark Toxic relationships, crushed hopes, and rebuilding yourself from rock bottom. Fabulous.
--Liv Matthews, author of The Prank Dark, visceral, proper psychological thriller with a powerful feminist agenda.
--Laura Wilkinson, author of Skin Deep A painfully honest, haunting portrait of friendship, betrayal, marriage and disappointment.
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Top review from Australia
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Imperfect Women is an enjoyable read with relatable, although not necessarily likeable characters, that will have you eager to keep reading. The husbands are terrible, the children suspicious and the women all have their own individual struggles. An enjoyable read that wraps up nicely at the end.
Top reviews from other countries
It was totally overhyped as far as I'm concerned, though. I don't get all the accolades its being afforded myself.
I didn't understand what Nancy's mum meant when she said "If she could have waited a few more years I could have been gone as well" since Nancy was murdered, she hadn't done herself in !! As far as it was going with Eleanor, it was all me, me, me all the time and I was finding her extremely tiresome.
The author did one of those appallingly twee things Americans do of having all the same initialled names, so Mary had Marcus, Maisie and Mimi....stop doing this, it's ridiculous, America !! At one point, Eleanor is watching a body being removed in a body bag and she is ruminating as to whether this was how Nancy had left the riverbank where she was found.....well, she hardly skipped to the ambulance, did she, so that was a totally needless thing to have written !! When we hear of Davide, and Eleanor plans to meet him, she has to go to him cos' he still wasn't up to making long journeys.....why ? He isn't crippled !!
I noticed the odd misused apostrophe and she wrote tusked and not tsked and another TERRIBLE mistake writing freind and not friend !!
I packed it in when I got fed up with all the superfluous stuff she includes. Sentences like "She felt her muscles harden and knew that movement would soon feel jagged and clumsy".....are just guff and I got to "Her legs felt heavy and she let them buckle" and packed it in !! Ridiculous stuff.....
I'd reached 39% and there was no hint of this supposed investigation by Mary and Eleanor so I gave up on it altogether. They're both so wrapped up in themselves, Eleanor especially, that I don't see them ever being interested enough to learn what happened to Nancy, and I didn't care enough to finish it !
Eleanor – she’s never been married or had children but has always had a secret crush on her friend Nancy’s husband. When she first met him she believed him to be interested in her, but he contacted her as a route to get to Nancy. She’s never found serious love and concentrated on her career.
Nancy – the beautiful, glamorous one who gave up her career to bring up her family. She has a daughter Zara and a husband who loves her, but she’s bored with her life and looking for excitement.
Mary – mother of three who gave up her career to bring up her family. She met her husband, a married university professor, when she worked for him as his assistant. She was younger than him and fell for his charms. When she got pregnant he left his wife for her. She is treated badly physically and emotionally by him and it is rumoured that he has had many extra-marital affairs.
One night Nancy is found dead. Mary knows that she was having an affair but believed it to be over. Neither of her friends knew who it was with but believed it to be with an author, Davide. There are twists and turns which surprise us all the way through.
After Nancy’s death Eleanor starts a relationship with her husband, who she’s always had feelings for. She has to battle her feelings of love for him with her feelings of guilt over her friend’s death. She is also battling feelings of guilt over the death of an elderly neighbour she felt responsible for.
The book explores friendship, betrayal, breakdowns of relationships and the guilt all women feel every day trying to juggle work and family life and the many roles women are expected to play. All the characters are relatable and you love, dislike and empathise with them all at different points in the book.
This is a brilliant book that I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend to all.
The book is about 3 friends nancy, Mary and Eleanor who have known each other since university. When one of them is murdered, the 2 remaining friends are left to pick up the pieces. The book is split in to 3 parts for each of the 3 women ana, as we read on, secrets and lies are revealed.
the biggest problem for me was I struggled to identify with any of the characters and really didn't like any of them very much with the exception of one of the women who I felt sorry for. they all seemed to make poor and selfish decitions and had very little to redeem them. I also think the structure of the book didn't help in terms of building the suspense, i guessed who the murderer was pretty early on and was proved right.
I most certainly didn't see the twists coming but it's more than just a domestic thriller, or whatever genre it's supposed to be, it goes deeper than that in , that it teaches us to look deep down in psyche.
I love a good mystery, however, this was terribly predictable. Filled with dreadful stereotypes and characters that were so unlikable it was hard to believe how any of them were friends. None of the characters felt like they could be real people, or even spoke to each other in a realistic manner.
This book also would have benefitted from the use of chapters, without them, the book feels even longer. Do yourself a favour and skip this one.