Thursday, July 28, 2011

Close Your Eyes by Amanda Eyre Ward

Close Your Eyes by Amanda Eyre Ward tells the story of Lauren, a woman who is about thirty and has spent over two decades haunted by the night her father killed her mother, while she and her brother Alex were asleep in a treehouse in the backyard. Although their father was sentenced to life in prison, Alex has always believed he was innocent. Years later Lauren remains afraid of love and what it can turn into, refusing to marry her longterm boyfriend, and only really opening herself up to her brother. When Alex leaves for Doctors Without Borders in Iraq, Lauren feels completely abandoned, and when the unthinkable happens Lauren begins to examine her life and try to figure out what really happened the night that changed everything.

From the second I read the synopsis Close Your Eyes had my attention. It has a thrilling and mysterious premise and the novel itself lives up to the suspense the summary promises. I really enjoyed Lauren's voice which felt genuine, how she is conflicted over the man she wants to be with and her inability to truly feel safe in a relationship. Most people don't have the same dark history that Lauren does, but I think many fear what true commitment can mean when it comes to the potential to leave you brokenhearted. Lauren's boyfriend, a man who runs a blog about being cheap, was an entertaining minor character and added some lightness to the narrative.

Although I didn't realize it until partway into the novel, Close Your Eyes is actually divided into sections, and some of those sections focus on the story of Sylvia, a forty year old pregnant woman on the run who may have the answers Lauren is looking for. I didn't find Sylvia to be nearly as rich and engaging a character as Lauren was, and I did wish she had been a bit more developed. Sylvia spends many years in an unhappy relationship and I never quite understood why. That said, when Sylvia gets to New York and spends more time interacting with her old friend, I enjoyed it more. I felt like the flashbacks of Sylvia as a young girl were a lot more authentic and interesting than she is in present.
The story does go back to Lauren and it was her portion that stuck with me the most. I did find that there was possibly too much information about Lauren's real estate career, on what it is like to show houses, etc that didn't relate to the plot and wasn't really that interesting to me.

The best thing about Close Your Eyes is that even though Ward has written an engaging murder mystery, most of her characters remain strong and three dimensional in a way that reminds me of I'd know you anywhere by Laura Lippman. The storyline itself is loosely inspired by true events but has many surprises  you won't expect. Overall, Close Your Eyes has a rich and engaging plot and although I didn't connect with one of major characters I found a lot to enjoy and definitely plan to read more by Amanda Eyre Ward in the future.

Release Date: March 3rd, 2011
Pages: 272
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This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.

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