Jan. 15, 2021
reviewed by Cara DiCostanzo
Ashton and Vivien seem to have the perfect marriage and the perfect life. Ashton is a respected neurosurgeon and Vivien volunteers at a community life center. They have a beautiful, renovated house on the water in South Carolina. But all is not what it seems. In fact, none of what you see is what you think it is.
Vivien’s life isn’t what she wanted. She tragically lost her parents in a car accident in Europe and has been on her own for years. But wait! Is that really what happened? Where are her parents exactly? Ashton and Vivien met at a bar and fall in love. Or, is that really how they met? There are so many twists and turns in this book that as the reader, you don’t know when your head is going to turn again. Just when you think you have everything down, another twist comes along and sends you reeling.
The marriage between Vivien and Ashton is surprisingly chilly. The reader will see early on that there is not a lot of love and affection that passes between them. There are references to making love, but rarely. Their relationship sets the scene for a creepy psychological thriller. We automatically know something happening with this couple. Vivien has strange bruises and then a black eye. The girlfriends she meets through Ashton’s friends believe she is being abused and force her to see a divorce lawyer.
And what about Cady? Cady is a homeless teenager who has arrived at The Community Life Center with claims of rape and that her mother kicked her out. She can’t stay at the center, and Vivien offers hera place at the lovely cottage on the grounds of Distant Sands, the home Vivien and Ashton share. But who is Cady and what is her connection to Ashton and Vivien? Why does her presence turn everything upside down?
The big reveal takes place about halfway through. Perhaps too soon for some readers, but I found it perfectly apt. This book is all about the player being played, and it is immensely rewarding to the reader. Every character becomes suspect, and no one is who they seem to be.
The Newlyweds is captivating, and keeps the reader guessing throughout. This is the second book by Arianne Richmond that I have read, and she is a master of windy roads and twisty turns. This book is no exception. Readers will be on the edge of their seats and the grand finale will leave them quite satisfied but also wondering who is the bad guy here?