When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.
And then she makes a decision she can never take back.
Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?
But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.
Her Name Was Rose is the first psychological thriller from author Claire Allen, previously known for her success in the genre of women’s fiction.
The story starts as Emily stops to let a young mum, pushing a pram, go through a door ahead of her. Seconds later, Emily watches in horror as the woman, after thanking her, steps out into the street and falls victim to a fatal hit and run, sacrificing herself to protect her baby son.
Traumatised, Emily runs away from the scene and slowly starts convincing herself that there has been a terrible mistake, and that she was the real intended target of the hit-and-run via her ex-partner – a controlling man who had threatened her with revenge for her behaviour when their relationship had ended. Subsumed with guilt, she reads newspaper reports of the tragedy and becomes immersed in Rose’s ‘perfect’ life on social media.
Soon, she can’t get enough. The outpouring of grief from Rose’s friends and family, particularly her husband Cian, a successful author, and her now motherless baby, Jack; the heartbroken platitudes from her work colleagues, the previous Facebook posts and photographs that paint a picture of her perfect life with her perfect husband and baby.
Emily has found herself at one of those points you come to in life – she’s estranged from her family, she lives in a rubbish flat, her best friend has moved to another country and she’s just lost her job…and with a new vacancy appearing at the dentist surgery where Rose used to work, she begins to wonder if there is a gap left that she could perhaps fill – in more ways than one.
This is a novel about how people use social media to promote a perfect image of a not-so-perfect life, and the repercussions that can bring. It touches on themes of jealousy, obsession, control, insecurity, and secrets – lots of secrets – some you’ll see coming, some you might not. There were a few times I saw what Emily was about to do and wondered why she didn’t just tell the truth, but the character is quite anxious and socially awkward, so frustrating as it was, it did make sense.
Ultimately, I enjoyed this book. I felt awkward, sometimes uncomfortable, and other downright annoyed (mostly with Emily), but it’s a great read and will keep you speeding through the pages until you reach the very end.