behind her eyes sarah pinborough
Book Review / Reviews with Spoilers / Sarah Pinborough

Sarah Pinborough | Behind Her Eyes

behind her eyes sarah pinborough

The Book: 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, 2017

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The Characters: 

Married couple David and Adele

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The Plot (from Goodreads):

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

behind her eyes sarah pinborough
Get the book here.
Click here for book spoilers for Behind Her Eyes
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Behind Her Eyes, I suggest you turn back now.

Adele can astral project and has been watching David and Louise, as well as people from David’s past. She is trying to teach Louise how to lucid dream and astral project, but lies to Louise about her astral projection abilities. 

Adele had killed Rob, her friend from Westlands, and had a history of threatening all of David’s friends. She would astral project and follow him around, which is how she always knew what he was doing. When David became friends with a barista named Marianne, Adele threatened her and killed her cat. 

Adele made it look like David was abusing her, and got Louise to pity her and try to protect her. Her whole friendship with Louise was orchestrated. 

David goes to confess Rob’s death to the police, and Adele sends Louise a text implying that she was about to kill herself. Louise rushes to her house to save her, but can’t get inside. The house is on fire. She astral projects to find Adele inside the house, and sees her on the bed. She knows that Adele is astral projecting and won’t wake up in time. Louise decides to go into Adele’s body to run it outside. 

Adele takes over Louise’s body once Louise takes over hers. She had dosed her own body with heroin, so Louise was unable to leave the body. Adele (in Louise’s body) kills her own body (with Louise in it) with an overdose of heroin. 

The Twist: 

Rob had taken over Adele’s body when he came to visit her at her parents’ estate. They were discussing their astral projection abilities, and decided to try to switch bodies to see what it was like. 

Rob was in love with David and wanted him for himself. He took a dose of heroin before switching bodies with Adele, which incapacitated her in his body long enough for him to kill his former body. 

All of the “crazy” things Adele did were really Rob in her body. 

The Ending:

Rob in Louise’s body marries David after Adele’s funeral. Louise’s son Adam knows something isn’t right, and Rob is plotting how to get rid of him.

The Review: 

I rang in the new year with Behind Her Eyes, but it’s taken me a little time to write a review. I’m having trouble figuring out my thoughts on this one, but if I don’t do it now I never will.

As I’ve said before, I can’t stand it when the description/marketed genre doesn’t match the book. I’m a mood reader, so I pick books based on what genre I feel like. When the book doesn’t match the genre I feel like reading, I tend to abandon it.

This is a hard one to review without giving too much away, but let me say that I can definitely see why the reviews are so split. You’ll either love it or hate it. I would recommend this one to fans of The Sun Down Motel, and those that are able to suspend belief for the good of the story.

It’s a good book, and you certainly won’t see the twist coming. Once you read the ending, though, you’ll realize that the clues were there. 

Click here for minor spoilers regarding the mis-labeled genre:
This book is paranormal, which is not everyone’s speed. This is technically a spoiler, but I feel like it’s important to know going into it! If I knew it was paranormal/outside the realm of realistic outcomes, I would have rated it higher. But expecting a thriller and getting paranormal irked me a bit.
If you’ve read this one (or just don’t care about spoilers), click here for my spoiler discussion!
Alright, now I can speak freely–it’s kind of a cop out to make the twist something completely impossible! It’s in the same vein as the “just kidding, it was all a dream” trope. 

I went into this book with a thriller mindset–figure out the clues and try to guess the ending. I know lucid dreaming is a thing, and I figured out that Louise was astral projecting when she first went into Adam’s room while sleeping. But since this was a thriller, not a paranormal novel, I kept trying to figure out how they would explain the astral projecting in a realistic way. 

I think Riley Sager did this well in Home Before Dark–it was a paranormal book on the surface and made you think ghosts were banging in the night, but everything had a real-world explanation in the end. As I read I kept searching for a real-world explanation for Behind Her Eyes and was disappointed not to find one. 

I give the author an A+ for creativity. Once I was in the right mindset of suspended belief, I loved the concept and the ending. I also loved that there were clues all along as to what was going on, although I had ignored them in search of a real-world explanation for what was happening.

Read this if you liked:

  • The Sun Down Motel
  • Home Before Dark
behind her eyes sarah pinborough

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