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Obsession by Amanda Robson

May 4, 2017

One evening, a wife asks her husband a question: who else would you go for, if you could?

It is a simple question – a little game – that will destroy her life.

Carly and Rob are a perfect couple. They share happy lives with their children and their close friends Craig and Jenni. They’re lucky. But beneath the surface, no relationship is simple: can another woman’s husband and another man’s wife ever just be good friends?

Little by little, Carly’s question sends her life spiralling out of control, as she begins to doubt everything she thought was true. Who can she trust? The man she has promised to stick by forever, or the best friend she has known for years? And is Carly being entirely honest with either of them?

I’m genuinely in two minds about this book. It is an easy and enjoyable read, just right for summer holiday reading. Written in short chapters and in the voices of 4 different characters, the plot is one that follows the inter-relationship between two couples, Carly and Rob and Jenni and Craig.

Leading happy and fulfilled lives, the story revolves around what happens when Carly asks Rob who he would be with if it were not her. That one question, and Rob’s reluctant answer, sparks a spiral into unhappiness, infidelity and destructive behaviour.

Robson uses a nice plot device of leading from one character to the next through a linking of events so that the reader can see a different perspective to the one just offered.

The difficulty I had is that not one of these people is innately empathetic or likeable. Rather they are extremely self -obsessed, selfish and altogether very irritating. The men are weak and the women live only to please them. Two of the characters are religious and I could not work out whether this was the author showing us how hypocritical their actions are, or just using this as a device to draw two characters closer together.

I was also somewhat dismayed by the portrayal of mental health issues, which was both unrealistic and unhelpful.

Nevertheless, there is something hypnotic about watching such a horrible drama play out in front of you, knowing that the characters are unable to stop the destructive path that they are following.

Obsession is an interesting, somewhat addictive, well paced debut novel which shows great promise.

Good summer reading.

Obsession is published by Avon Books on 4 May 2017

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