Thank you to the lovely team at Touchstone Books for providing me with an advance copy of White Bodies by Jane Robins. All thoughts and images are my own.
Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)
Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, he’s a wealthy financier and she an up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless facade, not everything is as it seems.
Callie, Tilda’s unassuming twin, has watched her beautiful sister and idol visibly shrink under Felix’s domineering love. Tilda has stopped working and nearly stopped eating, and her apartment has suddenly become freakishly tidy – with mugs encased in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. Callie knows about Felix’s uncontrollable rages and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister’s arms.
Worried about the psychological hold Felix has over her sister, Callie seeks help on an internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. But things spiral out of control when one of her new online acquaintances is killed. And then the unimaginable happens: Felix dies. Or was he murdered?
It’s been a long time since I read a thriller, so I enjoyed returning to the feeling of being sucked into a creepy world. Every character in this book was absolutely nutso. I didn’t feel personally terrified by the plot of this book (it didn’t keep me up at night) because I didn’t identify with a single one of the characters, but the premise was absolutely horrifying in its own right.
Robins uses this book to discuss a terror that is all too prevalent in our society: domestic violence and abuse. She peppers the text with shocking statistics on how many women in the UK and the US are terrorized by partners they know. Tilda is not alone: Callie finds scores of women experiencing the danger of controlling relationships in the online groups she joins. As she befriends these women, this violence is proven time and time again to be a real threat. It happens every day on the news. It happens to the people she knows.
Regardless of the finale of this book (no spoilers, but if you’ve read it, tell me and let’s discuss), I appreciated Robins’ tactful use of this story to speak to a wider message. It certainly kept me drawn in.
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, you can find help at http://www.thehotline.org/. If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
Interested in this book? Buy it on Amazon here or find it at your local bookstore!