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Compelling, Addictive: Review of The Party by Lisa Hall

August 20, 2018

Don’t you ever wonder what would have happened if you hadn’t made that particular decision? If you had decided to go right, instead of left? If you had said no, instead of yes? It’s strange how one, tiny, sometimes seemingly insignificant decision can have knock-on effect on life…’

It’s New Years Eve – a time for celebration, laughter, and a glass (or twelve) of champagne. Rachel says goodbye to the year that has passed by attending a friend’s party, surrounded by people she knows, loves, and trusts.

Or so she thought.

When Rachel wakes up the next day, something isn’t right. She is in a room she doesn’t recognise, her arms are bruised, her husband is nowhere to be found – and, worst of all, she can’t recall a single detail from the night before. It isn’t long before Rachel descends into a state of panic – what has happened to her? Why is her memory betraying her?

With no recollection of her own, Rachel must rely on witness accounts – people from the party – to piece together the events of the night. The problem is, everyone remembers the night differently. Stories don’t match up, lies are told, and events are fabricated to cover-up the truth of what really happened to Rachel. It isn’t long before she learns that it is impossible to trust anyone, even those she once held closest…

The premise of The Party can best be described as a terrible nightmare. The idea of waking to find yourself bruised and sore, in a room that you can’t recognise, with half of your clothes missing, is powerful because it is so much more than an idea – unfortunately, this vulnerability and violation is a reality for many women, a fear that we carry with us, always.

It is interesting to read a thriller novel that deals with a fear that is relatable, and that you can empathise with as a reader. The suspense in this book comes not from a mystery killer or ‘bad guy’ on the loose; rather, it comes from the protagonist’s loss of bodily autonomy. Rachel creates the suspense, because her body is the scene of the crime, the evidence, the mystery to be solved. This changes the reading experience entirely.

Typically, in thriller novels, the detective or police are there to provide answers, but are not personally affected by the crime. Rachel is different – she is responsible for investigating, but she is also the victim. It’s an incredible burden to carry, one that makes the novel so emotionally engaging.

The Party deals heavily with the theme of trust – an issue which, in today’s age of deception, deceit, and lies – is as relevant as ever. The Party begs the question – can we ever truly trust anyone? It’s a difficult question to answer, and one that undoubtedly adds to the suspenseful atmosphere of the novel.

If you are looking for a thriller that makes you think, and gives rise to some relevant, modern-day issues and themes, then we highly recommend The Party.

About The Author:

Lisa Hall loves words, reading and everything there is to love about books. Lisa lives in a small village in Kent, surrounded by her towering TBR pile, a rather large brood of children, dogs, chickens and ponies and her long-suffering husband. She is also rather partial to eating cheese and drinking wine.

Purchase a copy of The Party here 

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  1. Helen Simic

    Sounds like a interesting read.
    I will have to put it on my to read list.

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