He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly
Published by Minotaur Books
Publication date: June 6, 2017
In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they’ll share.
But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his.
The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder—did she trust the wrong person?
15 years later, Kit and Laura married are living under new names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past.
From Erin Kelly, queen of the killer twist, He Said/She Said is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story.
“How did it come to this? How did we get here? How will it end?”
What a perfect book to read during eclipse week 2017!! This taut and fast-paced thriller kept me on my toes until the very end. And what an ending! Kit and Laura are a young married couple who chase eclipses all over the world. It is an exciting, exotic lifestyle, hypnotic and mysterious all at once.
“Then the darkness comes. Without the countdown in the sky, it’s pure and instant. All the street lights in the town below come on, so quickly it’s like sparks igniting. Now, in the darkness, disappointment is replaced by the familiar thrill of totality. But this time it’s different.”
The book begins in 2015 with Laura’s point of view. She lives in London but she and her husband live anonymously. Why? The answer to that question unfolds slowly over the course of the book. We learn that Laura and Kit witnessed an violent assault during an eclipse festival years earlier and were witnesses for the prosecution during the trial of the attacker, Jamie. The trial was emotionally draining and physically exhausting for everyone and is described in minute detail.
The brutal assault is also described in vivid detail so I was curious as to how any doubt could arise about Jamie’s guilt or innocence. Just remember: there are many sides to each story.
“The moment you think about an act in terms of how, you are already halfway to doing it.”
We learn that Laura is now pregnant with twins but wants Kit to “chase” an upcoming eclipse while she stays behind in London, even though she is extremely paranoid about his travels. He has been an eclipse chaser since he was young and they both want to continue their adventures after their children are born.
They live in fear that Beth, the young woman who had been raped years before, will find them again. She had befriended them after the trial of her attacker, but then became wildly unstable. Laura and Kit became convinced they had to disappear “off the grid” so that she would never find them again.
This book was incredibly gripping and thought-provoking. It is told over the course of many years and features vivid characters and brilliantly-researched settings. The author forces the reader to confront their own morals and ask: What would you do in the same situation?
“Until that day I’d been thinking about the campaign in binary terms: either Jamie was in denial, or he was calling the world’s bluff. But now a third possibility was inescapable, and one in which I was horrifically culpable. What if Jamie was innocent?”
This book was addictive and wildly surprising. The references to eclipses are fascinating and the format of the book is divided into the parts of an eclipse. With my husband and daughter away “eclipse chasing” while I was reading this book, the subject matter was even more compelling! With themes of loyalty, guilt and devotion, this book really did it for me. I highly recommend this creative and thrilling story!