By: A.J. Banner
Publication Date: 12/27/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
From bestselling author A.J. Banner comes a dazzling new novel of psychological suspense in the vein of S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl that questions just how much we can trust the people around us.
Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.
But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.
As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.
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A special thank you to Touchstone and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
A.J. Banner returns following The Good Neighbor, with the powerfully evocative THE TWILIGHT WIFE —an intricate conundrum, a modern-age twisty domestic psychological mystery suspense puzzle of lies, secrets, deception and an intriguing past.
A heart-pounding adventure of one woman's desperate search for answers. Uncovering the truth about those we love. A story, the past, an obsession, a forgotten identity, and pieces of memories- just out of reach.
Kyra Winthrop is recovering from a harrowing diving accident. Her memory is still cluttered, and foggy. Her doting husband, Jacob, recounts her past to her, filling in the gaps left by an unusual form of memory loss.
When Kyra begins to remember details that don’t align with what she knows to be true, she must fight through her hazy memory, her isolation, and her own suspicions to discover what—and whom—she can trust.
What happened on the fateful dive on which a woman loses her memory and her life? She is desperate to learn the truth. Where nothing is as it seems. A constant state of perplexity and confusion. Lies, deception, and dark secrets are revealed slowly as the threads are unraveled.
Kyra is a thirty-four-year-old marine biologist currently recovering from a head injury. She taught at the Seattle University previously they say, and yet she has no memory of those times. Now she has only this secluded Mystic Island in the Pacific Northwest, where the wind blows in cold from the sea.
She has a husband, Jacob who sticks close by her side, follows her everywhere, her guardian angel. She also has a peculiar recurring dream. She fractured her skull in a diving accident near Deception Pass. The waters are supposedly gorgeous, but deadly.
The island haunts her, but she has no conscious memory of the area. Just like water, and things of the sea; they can be dangerous, but beautiful.
She has no memory of her decision to move here. Nor does she recognize the jagged scar on her right thumb, (from a dive) per her husband, Jacob. She barely even remembers her husband. Why does she forget only the four years she missed?
They say her name is Kyra Winthrop (she dropped her maiden name Munin). She has been married to Jacob for nearly three years. Who is this man? How did she end up here?
She is only a shadow of her former self. When she stops taking the meds to clear her mind, she begins a computer search. Jacob was a computer genius educated at MIT and founded his own software company. What else will she find? She had to keep things secret until she solves the mysteries of her past. She is grasping at any clue or person she can find, for answers.
Who is Aiden Finlay? She feels there is someone else. Her husband’s friend? She is disoriented. Does she have repressed memories? Could something bad have happened? Traumatic? Another diver?
What if her brain is choosing to block out not trauma, but something else altogether? Can she believe Jacob? She questions her marriage. What secrets is her husband hiding? Was there another man? What about Jacob’s past?
From fuzziness, the fog, to dreaming of a yellow house; where nothing is as it appears. From constant confusion, Kara sees herself kissing Aiden one minute and Jacob the next. Was there a third diver?
The more she learns, she becomes afraid for her life, and she had to figure a way out of this madness – a dark nagging cloud of doubt. What was Jacob holding back? A trail of cryptic clues, and a computer genius husband, who is holding all the cards.
Piece by piece, everything her husband has told her falls under suspicion. Who can she trust? Why is Jacob lying to her? Who is this other man who thinks she looks like someone else? She wants her own grasp of memories, not what her husband has told her. She feels something is missing.
“I feel as though my memories stop short, before the storm, at the edge of a precipice leading down into darkness.”
In trying to make sense of her world, Kyra learns about anterograde amnesia (difficulty storing new memories) and retrograde amnesia (difficulty retrieving old ones).
She begins explores the island, in search for answers to evoke memories—seashells, the contents of her purse, photographs, and the local shops, the B&B inn, and coastal tide pools. (loved this part, which keeps your senses on high alert). In addition, she seeks out everyone she can to help her find answers.
A frighteningly cool portrait of a serious sadist, THE TWILIGHT WIFE is a gripping, claustrophobia-inducing thriller. Looks are deceiving. The most dangerous kind. Utterly compelling exploration through the darker side of the human psyche.
Banner creates a strong sense of ambiguity, darkness, confusion with a constant state of obscurity, a perplexing mystery, and an intriguing haunting puzzle.
Jacob and Kyra are both fascinating mysteries, and Banner knows how to maintain the tension from the first page to the last twisty turn. A nice addition with the secondary characters: Van and Nancy, as well as Doug (enjoyed his connection).
As a reader, you do not know who to trust, and who is dangerous. Compellingly hypnotic with a spellbinding seaside remote setting, adding to the ongoing strong sense of foreboding and mystery, combined with beautiful lyrical prose, well researched, and fascinating sea life, making this an absorbing read.
For fans of Kate Moretti, Kimberly S. Belle, Mary Kubica, Susan Crawford, and BA Paris. Looking forward to the next!
I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Cassandra Campbell, my Top 2016 Audio Narrator for a mesmerizing performance! She has an ideal voice for the role, with her soothing voice to transport you.
Ideal for book clubs or discussions.
A Conversation with A. J. Banner
"What significance does the title hold to the narrative?"
"The word twilight suggests falling away into darkness, the strange, dreamlike in-between time, when day isn’t quite finished and night hasn’t quite begun. Kyra hovers in that limbo, not entirely herself without her memory and plunging into a terrifying night as her life unravels.
However, she also finds beauty and hope in twilight. She remembers magical nights, when she walked the beach and discovered unusual marine species beneath the moonlight. And night always becomes day again. Darkness leads to dawn. She discovers her own inner strength and reclaims her life." Read More
Dec Must Reads
Interview with the Author
Reading Group Guide
“An enthralling, unforgettable novel that defies readers to stop turning the pages.”
—Gregg Olsen, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Banner (The Good Neighbor) milks every ounce of suspense out of this harrowing plot that reveals memory to be both unreliable and impossible to fully wash away…Kyra is a believable, empathetic protagonist, and Banner’s ability to maintain tension while teasing out the truth of her hazy past will keep readers engaged.”
“This taut psychological thriller ticks all the requisite boxes with a compelling plotline, lovely young heroine, gorgeous seaside setting, and seemingly supportive spouse.”
“With spellbinding narration and brilliant pacing, The Twilight Wife is not to be missed. A. J. Banner is a truly gifted storyteller!”
—Wendy Walker, USA Today bestselling author of All is Not Forgotten
“A. J. Banner’s The Twilight Wife is an intensely suspenseful, diamond-sharp romantic thriller about a woman who has lost her memory and the wild, painful path back to her true self. Every page is packed with both peril and exquisite writing, and the novel reads like a wholly unique cross between Somewhere in Time and Memento. You won’t be able to put it down!”
—David Bell, author of Since She Went Away
“Suspense and mystery simmer on every page of A. J. Banner’s latest novel, The Twilight Wife. With a wonderfully clever plot; a sympathetic and skillfully drawn point-of-view character; a powerful sense of place; and rich prose that is, at times, almost hauntingly evocative; The Twilight Wife is everything readers could hope for, whether they are looking for psychological suspense, mystery, or simply a beautifully-told story. A real treat.”
—James Hankins, #1 bestselling author of The Prettiest One
“Banner captures the anxiety of a lost memory and haunted past in this taut psychological thriller, beautifully set on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest.”
—D.M. Pulley, bestselling author of The Dead Key and The Buried Book
“A haunting tale about one woman’s struggle to remember the past, the husband she is supposed to love, and the accident that changed everything. This mesmerizing fast-paced psychological thriller is full of chilling twists and turns. I couldn’t put it down!”
—Karen Katchur, author of The Secrets of Lake Road and The Sisters of Blue Mountain
“After a diving accident, a woman’s memory returns in cryptic and terrifying flashes in A. J. Banner’s latest thriller. Filled with buried secrets and unexpected turns, The Twilight Wife is a twisty, edge-of-your-seat story that’s impossible to put down.”
—Kimberly Belle, author of The Marriage Lie
“…a wild ride with one curve ball after another, and it doesn’t stop until the last page….Thrillers like this are a pleasure to read.”
—Georgette Coan, Manager, Barbara’s Bookstore, Burr Ridge, IL, on the generationgbooks blog
“I cannot wait to recommend this book to my customers! A very tight and well-written mystery that will leave the readers breathless…[A. J. Banner] wrote one great mystery that I believe puts her up there with Agatha Christie.”
—Toni Ness, Barnes & Noble Bookseller, Grand Rapids, MI
“This read like a house afire and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough…This would also be a good read for older teens who want something very compelling yet doesn’t take long to read.”
—Robin Beerbower, EarlyWord.com Columnist
“…tense, a fast read, intriguing, and just sucks you in from the first few pages…I loved it!”
—Helen’s Book Blog
Audio book narrated by Cassandra Campbell! Top Narrator of 2016
About the Author
As a child, A. J. Banner loved reading everything from Nancy Drew to Tolkien to her parents’ spy novels, “borrowed” from their bookshelves and hidden beneath her pillow. She wrote her first thriller, Mystery at Crane Corner, at the age of 11. She drew her own cover art and bound the pages with staples.
Born in India and raised in North America, A. J. graduated from high school in southern California and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She tried various professions after college, including a stint in law school and a memorable job at a veterinary clinic, since she loves animals, but eventually she returned to writing. Her first novel of psychological suspense, THE GOOD NEIGHBOR, is now available on Kindle and in audiobook and paperback formats from Lake Union Publishing. Her second novel in the same genre, THE TWILIGHT WIFE, will be released 12/27/16 from Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
THE GOOD NEIGHBOR was the #1 Kindle bestseller for 34 days, remained in the top five on the Kindle bestseller list throughout the book’s release month (September 2015), and was in the top 50 in the Kindle store for 145 days in a row. With 1,769 five-star reviews and 1,771 four-star reviews on Amazon, THE GOOD NEIGHBOR was named by Harper’s Bazaar as a book that could be the next GONE GIRL.
A longtime fan of Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, A. J. feels at home writing stories with unexpected twists and turns. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five rescued cats. Read More