Sunday, 15 May 2022

When I Close My Eyes by Jemma Wayne

After a long busy day at work then rushing around after the kids, when I close my eyes, I'm happy to drift off into some rejuvenating slumber. Even during the day, closing my eyes and taking a few deep breaths can give me an extra boost of energy when I need it the most. But what if closing your eyes becomes a source of stress ? What if closing your eyes means giving up the control of your body and mind and then not even remembering what you did when you wake up? Such is the ordeal endured by Lilith, the central character in Jemma Wayne's When I Close My Eyes.

Lilith has managed to create a great life for herself, carving out a career as a Hollywood screenwriter. She has a lovely house, a charming boyfriend, friends, money ... what could be missing from her life? She even has a great relationship with her younger brother, a person that she has always adored but spent several years worrying about as she had a horrifying sense that she would end up hurting him while she slept. Besides her parents, the other person that Lilith has left behind in the leafy Buckinghamshire village that she grew up in is her childhood best friend, Cassius.

But then one day, Cassius turns up out of the blue. Recently widowed, he introduces his child to Lilith - a little girl that she instantly falls in love with. Adopting the role of doting "auntie" wholeheartedly, the pair spend lots of time together and form a close bond. Things are not as simple as they seem though as the reappearance of Cassius seems to have brought back something else : her sleepwalking. As things start to spiral out of control, she realises that her dream life in California is not as stress-free as she thought.

The sleepwalking theme is a great premise for a novel and not one that I have come across before. It adds a great depth of emotion as we discover events and feelings that are shocking or horrifying, while also empathising with the character who cannot comprehend what she may have done or why. Cassius is another complex character and watching his life evolve, as a teenager and also a grown man, in less than perfect circumstances tugs on your heartstrings.

It's a cracking read and the ending came as a surprise. I could see this being made into a film as it has the perfect combination of drama, emotion and tingling suspense.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Legend Press (3 May 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1800310145
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1800310148
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 19.8 x 2.1 x 12.9 cm

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book in order to share my honest opinion.

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