THE FIRST MISTAKE by Sandie Jones
Minotaur Books; 6/11/19
CBTB Rating: 4.5/5
The Verdict: Binge-worthy beach reading
Sandie Jones made a splash last summer with her debut suspense novel THE OTHER WOMAN, a New York Times bestseller and a pick for Reese Witherspoon’s book club—and she’s back this summer, and better than ever, with THE FIRST MISTAKE. A juicy, page-turning story of marital secrets, THE FIRST MISTAKE takes a familiar plot - a wife who suspects her husband might be hiding something from her - and turns it on its head. Following Alice, her husband Nathan, and her best friend Beth, THE FIRST MISTAKE unravels a layered story of deceit and betrayal… and I’m betting even the most seasoned suspense reader will be genuinely shocked by the twists author Sandie Jones has in store. Sophomore novels have a reputation for being particularly tricky to get right, but Sandie Jones has executed hers effortlessly; I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s THE OTHER WOMAN, but I liked THE FIRST MISTAKE even more. This book is pure pleasure reading. For readers of fan-favorite domestic thrillers Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris and Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison, THE FIRST MISTAKE is the perfect beach read: a story of what happens when happily ever after goes wrong.
THE WIFE: For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house.
HER HUSBAND: Alice knows that life could have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved.
HER BEST FRIEND: Through the ups and downs of life, from celebratory nights out to comforting each other through loss, Alice knows that with her best friend Beth by her side, they can survive anything together. So when Nathan starts acting strangely, Alice turns to Beth for help. But soon, Alice begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced . . .
The first mistake could be her last.
If you’re anything like me, it takes a very special domestic suspense novel to stick out from the crowd and hold your attention. As always, I’ll be totally honest with you: I wasn’t completely sure at the outset if Sandie Jones’ newest book would be up my alley. The plot sounded just a bit too familiar, and I wasn’t sure I really wanted to read another psychological suspense story about spouses betraying one another. But I decided to give it a shot, and I’m so glad I did. Sandie Jones’ sophomore suspense novel THE FIRST MISTAKE is arguably an even better book than her smash-hit debut, THE OTHER WOMAN. It begins with a simple premise: a wife suspects her husband is keeping secrets from her, and turns to her best friend for help and solace. But in Sandie Jones’ capable hands, this story quickly veers away from the ordinary and becomes something genuinely surprising and deliciously dramatic. THE FIRST MISTAKE is a hugely confident and binge-worthy domestic suspense novel—it’s ”popcorn reading” at its finest, perfect for your next vacation.
In THE FIRST MISTAKE, readers are introduced to Alice: a wife, a mother, and the talent behind a successful interior design firm. But Alice’s life isn’t as perfect as it first appears. Alice’s current husband, Nathan, is actually her second husband—her first husband passed away years prior, and Alice’s life has been irrevocably marked by this tragedy. Readers are given hints that Alice may have suffered a mental breakdown following her first husband’s passing, and they will quickly pick up on her perhaps excessive fondness for wine as a coping mechanism to escape the ghosts of her past. Enter Nathan, Alice’s charming and devoted second husband. Nathan met Alice at a low point in her life, and embraced her and her daughter, helping them to rebuild in the wake of tragedy. Nathan and Alice are business partners at their successful interior design firm. Business is booming, and Nathan and Alice are embarking on a massive new venture overseas when readers enter their lives. Alice and Nathan’s future looks bright. Outside of her marriage, Alice’s closest confidante is Beth, her best friend. Beth has been a steadfast presence in Alice’s life for years, so when Alice begins to notice Nathan behaving oddly, she confides in Beth her fears that Nathan might be having an affair. Beth has her own history with unfaithful partners; the father of her child abandoned her years prior, leaving her to fend for herself. But as Alice invites Beth into the innermost parts of her life, she begins to wonder if her trust has been misplaced. As Alice begins to investigate those closest to her, she discovers that the secrets that have been kept from her are more shocking than she could ever have imagined.
Sandie Jones is a true pro at writing those “never saw it coming” plot twists, and THE FIRST MISTAKE involves not one, not two, but many such twists that will keep readers constantly wrong-footed. Employing alternate narrators and time jumps to impeccable effect, Jones keeps readers hooked; she masterfully doles out just enough information to keep you wanting more. And just when you think you’ve got this story figured out, Jones pulls the rug out from under you once again. It’s nearly impossible to discuss the ways this story develops without spoiling anything (which you know I’d never do!), so suffice it to say that I never could have predicted the directions in which Jones would take this story—and I was so glad to be as thoroughly surprised as I was. What begins as a story centered around an unfaithful husband quickly develops into something far more sinister and complex, elevating THE FIRST MISTAKE above many of its domestic suspense peers. If you’re game for a twisty, layered psychological suspense novel that involves all manner of deceit and scheming, let Sandie Jones lead you into this deliciously shocking story of a marriage in which nothing is as it seems.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m sitting by the pool reading, I want the book in my hands to be something that’s just plain fun to read—preferably something with a jaw-dropping twist or two, too. If that sounds like the kind of book on your summer wishlist, Sandie Jones’ THE FIRST MISTAKE might just be your perfect read. Jones’ sophomore novel is a confident outing that shows significant growth from her debut, THE OTHER WOMAN, and delivers what will surely be one of Summer 2019’s most addictive, binge-worthy reading experiences. If you love psychological suspense novels by B.A. Paris, J.T. Ellison, or Shari Lapena, don’t miss Sandie Jones’ THE FIRST MISTAKE.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions my own.
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (June 11, 2019)
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