Note: This is my very first review so please bear with me, and hopefully I will get better at this.
This was sent to me for review.
The review is spoiler free!
Synopsis: It’s the middle of the twentieth century, World War II is finally over, and Claire Wagner is on the brink of an exciting new life. With a well-deserved scholarship in hand, and much to her immigrant mother’s dismay, Claire flees the Chicago tenements for a prestigious graduate school program in California.
At first Claire keeps her nose tucked firmly into her books, but when her brother asks for a favor, she reluctantly agrees to a blind date. Greg turns out to be handsome, successful, and rich—and he’s definitely smitten with Claire. He introduces her to a sophisticated world she thought only existed in the movies, and before she knows it she’s trading her bobby socks and German home cooking for black silk and caviar.
When Greg starts to show signs that he’s not as perfect as he appeared, Claire’s friends urge her to overlook his occasional short temper and controlling behavior. But the warning signs pile up, building to a crisis that will test even Claire’s power to persevere.
Inspired by true events and steeped in the details of the 1950s, when vulnerable women weren’t protected by the law or society, The Other Side of Him is a provocative look at how darkness can lie under the most polished exteriors.
Wanting to go into this book a bit blind-sided, I only read the first few lines of the synopsis, but that was all I needed to get hooked in. I’m not going to lie, when I was reading the first 20 or so pages, I truly thought I wasn’t going to enjoy the book as much as I had hoped. I figured it would be a book with a simple plot and a lot of romance. But boy was I wrong! This book was such an emotional rollercoaster and I couldn’t put it down.
There are so many things that I loved about this book:
- The pacing is very fast, Alice Rene does not waste any time with unnecessary characters or information. Every single interaction and scene served a purpose, which was so refreshing to read.
- The writing style was absolutely wonderful; it made the book such an easy read. It was so simplistic yet so addictive.
- Not once did I find any of the characters insufferable, aside from Greg (for reasons I won’t mention because, spoilers). The story is told from Claire Wagner’s point of view and even though there were times she made unwise decisions (what 22-year-old doesn’t), she learned from them and constantly tried to improve herself.
- The family and friendship dynamic in this story was possibly my favorite part. Claire’s family may not be perfect, her German mother is more interested in her marrying a man than her being an independent, working woman, and her brother was the cause for a lot of Claire’s troubles. However, just like Claire, they both end up growing and learning from one another and from their mistakes. Barb, Claire’s best friend, was my favorite character through out this book. They had such a strong friendship, constantly being there for one another and understanding each other’s decisions. Differences aside, both family and friend rushed to Claire’s side whenever she needed them, which I loved.
- So much suspense! It comes out of nowhere, just smacks you in the face. One minute I was feeling so happy for Claire and was mesmerized by Greg’s charm, then a few chapters later I began feeling scared for Claire and for the people around her. I couldn’t put this book down until I knew what would to happen to them.
- There is romance, but it’s not overbearing and not the main focus of the story, instead it’s more of a subplot.
- So many 20th century pop culture references, such as, actors, movies, music. etc. It really set the tone of the story and made me feel connected to the time period.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Whenever I put the book down I ended up picking it back up again within a few minutes, because I couldn’t shake it off my mind. I highly recommend this book, and if you end up picking it up I hope that you end up enjoying it as much as I did!
This may be a spoiler, if you are planning on reading this book then don’t read ahead:
There was just one thing I didn’t particularly like, I’m posting this at the bottom because
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
I wish that we found out more about Dr. Carleton and how he ended up coping with everything. I am aware that being around Dr. Carleton could have brought bad memories for Claire, but I felt they could have been really good friends and could have helped each other move on. He helped Claire a lot and I felt like he was important to her, but he ended up being forgotten.
Have you read this book, if so, did you like it or dislike it ? Let me know!
Thanks for reading ❤