1960s New York and Emma Bowden seems to have it all – a glamorous Manhattan apartment, a loving husband, and a successful writing career. But while Emma and her husband Jonathan are on vacation at the Hamptons, a child drowns in the sea, and suspicion falls on Emma. As her picture-perfect life spirals out of control, and old wounds resurface, a persistent and monotonous voice in Emma’s head threatens to destroy all that she has worked for…..
Taut, elegant and mesmerising, Don’t Think a Single Thought lays bare a marriage, and a woman, and examines decisions – and mistakes – that shape all of our lives.
So far, Louise Walters Books has not steered me wrong with her releases. Louise has a wonderful gift for choosing accessible literary talent, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every single release to date; happily Don’t Think a Single Thought by Diana Cambridge is no different.
I loved the look of this book from the outset, the cover is incredibly striking, but crikey – that blurb is right up my book alley! What I loved even more was, when I read it, it went way beyond my initial expectations in terms of both plot and genre.
Emma Bowden is a wonderfully enigmatic protagonist, and I would go as far to say that in terms of complexity, she is now one of my all time favourites. The novella is told in the third person, but yet you feel it is Emma, as a writer telling you her story as she wishes it to be told. The unreliable narration is evident throughout, but rather than being annoying, it somehow adds to the charm. Emma is painted as a very vulnerable woman, but as the reader you are left to guess just how much of that is true, and how much is an adopted persona for the readers sake. This novella’s true strength lies with the words not said, and this technique is incredibly powerful.
Structurally, it flies about in time, back and forth, an exciting and tumultuous ride which you stick with, because Emma as a character, draws you in and refuses to let go. Her story is full of holes and intrigue and what she says never quite rings true; it’s the type of book that I love to finish, and then re-open on page one, because I am sure that there is so much that has been cleverly woven into the narrative that I missed the first time around.
There is so much going on with this novella and it ticks so many boxes. A main character who garners suspicion and sympathy in equal parts and who you never quite feel you get to the crux of, all alongside an expansive and intriguing story with a range of curious characters. Most important are the falsehoods and hints of stories untold. With most books you are told what happens. With this one, you are kind of thrown a bone of what potentially happened and your imagination gets to play with it. It all feels so glamorous and yet so murky all at once. Even the pretty pink cover, with the magazine style ‘cut outs’ covering up something faded in the background supports the idea of Emma’s words simply being a façade.
This is one exciting release, and one which I will be keeping a tight hold of!
About the Author
Diana Cambridge is an award-winning journalist. She has written for many national newspapers and magazines, gives regular writing workshops, and is a Writer-in-Residence at Sherborne, Dorset. She is Agony Aunt to Writing Magazine. She lives in Bath.
Don’t Think a Single Thought is her first novel.
*I received a copy of Don’t Think a Single Thought from the publisher, Louise Walters Books. The decision to read was my own and this review forms my honest opinion.