One wrong decision, one terrifying night, leaves student Elizabeth with a stark choice – kill or be killed. And the consequences of that choice will shape her whole life.
Now a wife, a mother, and a lawyer, she must find a way to outrun her past, protect her family and live with her secret. But is it really possible to live a happy life with such a huge shadow cast by the past? And as it becomes clear that someone else knows her secret and is hunting her down, time is running out for Elizabeth to keep her family safe.
In the bestselling tradition of Clare Mackintosh and Jenny Blackhurst, Cynthia Clark has written a heart-stopping story about the choices we make and how far we'd go to protect our families. Even if it means deceiving the people we love most...
*May Contain Spoilers*
Cynthia Clark shares a story of survival and secrecy with her book If You Only Knew. When Liz was a young girl in college, she was kidnapped and raped. In saving her own life, she killed the man who attacked her and ran away - keeping what happened, and the baby that was a result of it, a secret. But now, the truth is about to come out.
First off, I know that Clark writes Liz's actions in a way that readers certainly are able to understand her motives. But, that being said, it is definitely not okay that she didn't contact the police, especially when a man's life was taken after what he did to her. I think not involving the police just made the whole thing even harder for Liz. It became a secret shame that she kept from everyone, even her husband, and I think it just made her life harder when she could have dealt with it. I understand why she did it -- she was afraid -- but it was definitely not the right move.
Now, years later, Liz is still trying to hide it - her past and her true self - from everyone she knows. And if this isn't bad enough, she forced her husband to move into the same neighborhood as the daughter she gave up for adoption. Though Liz is an interesting character and the story is quite thrilling, I just don't understand why Liz builds her life out of lies. Even though Liz is a likeable character, I think the fact that she has the reader's empathy from the very beginning is the main reason readers would hope she didn't get caught. But what kind of story would it be if she didn't? The fact that she does get caught is what forces her to move forward in her life and deal with her past and her issues.
Though I may be the only one who looks at Liz this way, I can't help but think she made a huge mistake in not trusting the police when it would have been obvious what happened. Though I did want her story to resolve happily, I kind of wanted her to get caught so it would all just be out in the open. I don't think using self-defense to protect oneself makes someone a murderer or a killer in the way that Liz seemed to think.
Besides that disagreement I had with how Liz handled things, I really enjoyed the book. It was a little nerve-wracking and a little scary. I felt like everything was going to come crashing down at any moment and when it did - it was almost a relief. I was actually more interested in what Liz would do and what would happen after her secret was out and I think it pushed me to read a little bit faster towards the end of the book. I think readers who enjoy thrillers, women's fiction, and like being pushed to their nail-biting limits will enjoy reading this book.
Rating: 3.5/5 Cups