Kate’s Review: “Every Vow You Break”

Book: “Every Vow You Break” by Peter Swanson

Publishing Info: William Morrow, March 2021

Where Did I Get This Book: I received an eARC from NetGalley.

Book Description: A bride’s dream honeymoon becomes a nightmare when a man with whom she’s had a regrettable one-night stand shows up in this electrifying psychological thriller from the acclaimed author of Eight Perfect Murders.

Abigail Baskin never thought she’d fall in love with a millionaire. Then she met Bruce Lamb. He’s a good guy, stable, level-headed, kind—a refreshing twist from her previous relationships. But right before the wedding, Abigail has a drunken one-night stand on her bachelorette weekend. She puts the incident—and the sexy guy who wouldn’t give her his real name—out of her mind, and now believes she wants to be with Bruce for the rest of her life.

Then the mysterious stranger suddenly appears—and Abigail’s future life and happiness are turned upside down. He insists that their passionate night was the beginning of something much, much more. Something special. Something real—and he’s tracked her down to prove it. Does she tell Bruce and ruin their idyllic honeymoon—and possibly their marriage? Or should she handle this psychopathic stalker on her own? To make the situation worse, strange things begin to happen. She sees a terrified woman in the night shadows, and no one at the resort seems to believe anything is amiss… including her perfect new husband.

Review: Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this novel!

After totally dropping the ball on getting my hands on Peter Swanson’s last book, I vowed, VOWED, that I wouldn’t let that happen again. They are just far too enjoyable. So when I saw that NetGalley had his newest book “Every Vow You Break” available, I jumped at the chance to read it, therein guaranteeing that I wouldn’t be so incredibly late this time. And, like most Swanson books, I was completely taken in by the mystery, this time taking place on a strange and isolated island as a newly married couple starts to crumble under secrets, lies, and a looming threat of a potential stalker hiding in the woods. Oh yes. This is exactly what I wanted from this book.

What I find striking about Swanson’s books is that they can hit completely different notes and feelings depending on the story. I think that were I to have no idea that Swanson wrote both “Eight Perfect Murders” and “Every Vow You Break” I’d have been gobsmacked that they were the same author. And “Every Vow You Break” also has a different feel from some of his earlier works as well. It doesn’t rely on a big early twist to set the reader off course, nor does it toss in any last moment twists and turns that feel unearned. But all that said, what I thought was going to be a pretty straight forward thriller about a woman being stalked by a man she had a single sexual encounter with turned into something far more sinister than I imagined. And I LOVED that. I pieced together a few aspects of this book, but for the most part I was kept on my toes, and fell for a couple of the red herrings that Swanson tossed out there. It felt fresh and new, and I had a hard time putting the book down once I had picked it up. Swanson took the story to places that I didn’t really anticipate, and I will say (whilst keeping it vague) that he tackles themes like misogyny, rape culture, and sexism in ways that felt responsible and biting. Which, again, I wasn’t expecting from this read. I should really learn to expect the unexpected from him, and yet….

Beyond the plot, our main character of Abigail was also a genuine and realistic protagonist. She definitely makes some poor decisions as the story goes on, as it’s really not a good idea to sleep with another person during your bachelorette party weekend, but for all of her faults you can understand why she does the things she does. And she’s probably the least screwed up protagonist that Swanson has introduced us too, or at the very least the least morally grey trending towards malevolent. I really liked Abigail by the end and was fully invested in what was going to happen to her. While the other characters didn’t feel as multi dimensional as she did, that didn’t bother me so much because even though it was in the third person, it was really her point of view that we were getting. Would I have been intrigued to get the POV of a few of the other characters, in particular Scottie, the man who she is trying to get away from? Absolutely. But at the same time, the decision to make it purely Abigail’s tale not only leaves more room for twists and surprises, it also lets her experience and perspective have the control of the narration as to what is happening to her.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times (or at least as many times as I’ve reviewed a Peter Swanson book): if you are into thrillers and still haven’t read something by Peter Swanson, do yourself a favor. Go read one of his books. “Every Vow You Break” would be a great place to start.

Rating 8: Another fun thriller filled with twists and turns from Peter Swanson!

Reader’s Advisory:

“Every Vow You Break” is included on the Goodreads lists “Wedding Mysteries & Thrillers”, and “Domestic Thrillers”.

Find “Every Vow You Break” at your library using WorldCat or a local independent bookstore using IndieBound!

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