Happy Ever After, C.C. MacDonald
This is CC MacDonald’s first book (disclaimer: I know him) but his experience in writing for theatre and television shines through in every plot twist and soaring dramatic arc. This is exactly the sort of pacey romp I want to see me through a wintry afternoon. I promise it will take you far from pandemic panic, and best of all his second book, The Family Friend, is out in early 2021.
Happy Ever After falls into the new-ish genre of ‘domestic thriller’. Is it new? Thrillers aren’t my area, so I’m not one to trust on this, but it seems there are many smart, literary thrillers out and about these days which pivot on the tensions of the home, of a marriage or of raising children. Leila Slimani’s Lullaby is a brilliant example of this, a bloody page-turner which also climbs into the psyche of its killer and eviscerates the French bourgeoisie without a wasted word.
MacDonald’s story is set on the bleak plains of east Kent and tells of a young couple trying to conceive a second child and make a new home for themselves. Naomi yearns for the perfect family, but Charlie is distracted. Naomi finds her attention drawn to a handsome stranger and trips into a web of deceit which threatens everything about her family’s ideal existence. There are many anxious moments as she is pulled further into the intricate story, a new nail-biter on every page.
The writing is deft and far-reaching. MacDonald can take you from a nappy change to a disappeared child in a few deft moves. Buy it for every thriller fan you know.