Eliza Benedict cherishes her peaceful, ordinary suburban life with her successful husband and children, thirteen-year-old Iso and eight-year-old Albie. But her tranquillity is shattered when she receives a letter from the last person she ever expects—or wants—to hear from: Walter Bowman. There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are older now. Still, I’d know you anywhere.
In the summer of 1985, when she was fifteen, Eliza was kidnapped by Walter and held hostage for almost six weeks. He had killed at least one girl and Eliza always suspected he had other victims as well. Now on death row in Virginia for the rape and murder of his final victim, Walter seems to be making a heartfelt act of contrition as his execution nears. Though Eliza wants nothing to do with him, she’s never forgotten that Walter was most unpredictable when ignored. Desperate to shelter her children from this undisclosed trauma in her past, she cautiously makes contact with Walter. She’s always wondered why Walter let her live, and perhaps now he’ll tell her—and share the truth about his other victims.
Yet as Walter presses her for more and deeper contact, it becomes clear that he is after something greater than forgiveness. He wants Eliza to remember what really happened that long-ago summer. He wants her to save his life. And Eliza, who has worked hard for her comfortable, cocooned life, will do anything to protect it—even if it means finally facing the events of that horrifying summer and the terrible truth she’s kept buried inside.
This was an interesting topic to write about, I thought. I think that’s what drew me in in the first place. In saying that, there was something ‘off’ about it that I can’t quite put my finger on. The pace was good, it wasn’t too slow. I did find Walter a bit, annoying. I felt like the author was trying to make him more ‘cunning’ or ‘intelligent’ than it came off. I don’t think Eliza’s daughter’s issue was ironed out enough. Yes she was having behavioural problems, but they seemed sudden and without a good enough explanation as to why. Did she learn about her mother’s past? Was it that and moving from London? It actually sort of felt like there was something that we, the readers, we meant to know but it kind of just loomed around and was never explained (if that makes any sense at all). Kind of like we were meant to come to a realisation in the the chapter or two, but I never got there.
Now this is a matter of perspective and opinion, but Eliza was fairly relaxed for a woman who was kidnapped, abused, and raped. Especially when she went to see him. I questioned her trauma as well. It was almost as if she had wanted to be kidnapped initially? Her sister was quite selfish, I thought. Yes, the whole family is affected when a member goes missing, but she seemed fairly self absorbed and lack empathy and compassion when it came to her sister, in their adult years. I failed to like the sister at all because of that.
Overall, it was a pleasant read. No twists, or turns, didn’t give me any physical reactions. Have you read this one? What were your thoughts?
I rated I’d Know You Anywhere: 3/5 stars