Him – Clare Empson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: 4th April 2019, Orion Fiction
Swathi’s Rating: 4/5
Verdict: Authentic, multi-layered, character driven masterpiece
‘You’re stuck there, aren’t you? Right at the end. And I wonder if it might help to go back to the beginning, to put everything in some kind of order.’
Catherine has witnessed something so traumatic that she can’t speak. Or won’t speak.The doctors say the only way forward is to look into her past.
Catherine needs to start with HIM .
Fifteen years ago she met Lucian at university and fell into a passionate love affair. They were meant to be together forever. But something happened. Something that destroyed them.
Catherine married someone else. Had two children. She moved on – or so she thought. Now Lucian is back, showing her how different life could have been.
But going back to the beginning won’t change the ending.
In fact, it might be the thing that finally breaks her…
Him is the story of Catherine and Lucien, how they meet, fall in love, and the unexpected event that makes Catherine leave Lucien and marry someone else. Lucien is left devastated with suicidal thoughts over the years without knowing the real reason the real reason behind Catherine’s sudden breakup. Catherine, on the hand, married with kids now, still can’t get Lucien as she continues to live in her own world with him.
And then something happens, which drives Catherine to re-meet Lucien and rekindle their relationship briefly. Just as they’re getting there, the long hidden ‘secret’ comes out with a horrible twist that affects Catherine so much that she goes mute after dissociating with unbearable shock. Dive along this book to unravel the mysteries and the romance between the lives of Catherine and Lucien in this tragic love story.
The narration is a bit misleading if the reader is careless, as the timeline shifts back and forth between now (Catherine being mute and admitted to a hospital), 4 months ago (re-meeting with Lucien) and then 15 years ago (when they first met). So much dedication and time has been invested into crafting this book as this is not a book an author could write in a few sittings. Clare has taken so much care and detailing to explore the lives of each of her characters, portraying every scene in the most meticulous way possible. Some might say, the timeline has slowed down the pace, I myself found it driving toward the end to know what happened to Catherine that shook her so much!
I really had a wonderful week reading this book and I am so glad I did. Scenes like Lucien’s ancestral wealth and the party culture he lives with in contrast to Catherine’s simple family home, shows the depth of the characters and their development throughout the story. Highly recommended book to read when you have the time and patience for a tragic, sensual love story with a pinch of suspense and mystery.
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Clare Empson is a journalist with a background in national newspapers and has worked as a small business editor, finance correspondent and fashion at the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Express. Clare freelances for The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and Tatler amongst others. She currently works as editor/founder of experiential lifestyle website www.countrycalling.co.uk.Him is her debut novel.