Book Review: Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg

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Published in 2019 by Macmillan.

Genre: Adult Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Suspense.

Page Count: 371

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Pan Macmillan Australia:

A twisty, page-turning debut thriller from Kelsey Rae Dimberg, Girl in the Rearview Mirror is a story about privilege and power, family and obligation, ambition and complicity, and the pull of the past on the present; perfect for fans of Jane Harper, Megan Abbott, Attica Locke and Laura Lippman.

Desperate to put her past in the rearview mirror, Finn Hunt leaves the Midwest for Phoenix, Arizona, where no one knows her story.

While she’s working a dead-end job, a chance meeting with Philip Martin, son of a prominent US Senator, leads Finn to a position as nanny for Amabel, his precocious four-year-old daughter. Quickly seduced into the Martins’ privileged world, Finn can almost believe she belongs there, almost forget the dark past that haunts her.

Then, in the stifling heat of a desert summer as the Senator’s re-election looms, a strange woman begins to follow Finn, claiming a connection to Philip and threatening to expose the family to scandal. As Finn tries to protect Amabel, and shield the Martins, she’s inadvertently drawn deeper and deeper into their buried secrets.

The family trusts Finn, for now, but it will only take one mistake for everything she holds dear – the Martins’ world, her new life – to fall apart . . .

My Review:

Firstly, a huge thank you to the amazing people at Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review, all thoughts are my own.

I do love a good, twisty page turner and initially (and all throughout, I must admit!) I was absolutely wondering what the Dickens was going down in this book – I couldn’t help but be drawn in to the insane world of Finn and I just couldn’t even fathom what was coming next!

Something that firstly struck me as interesting is that it’s clear that Finn is hiding, or at any rate, escaping. She’s abandoned her first name, avoids talking about her early years and puts on a very careful facade for those around her, especially the Martins, whom she babysits their young daughter, Amabel. Now, I feel conflicted here, for I could tell that clearly she loved her interactions with this delightful child (but on the premise of her secrecy and actions, I’m thinking how much did she, really?) – I only say this because I feel like she isn’t always an honest about her character, the reader only finds out things regarding her early life when Finn is recalling them herself. Although, I must admit, Finn did show more motherly qualities towards Ammy than Marina’s character did – and I truly did enjoy cute little Amabel’s scenes, her childish curiosity and love of Disney- so yes, you can say I was very shocked by the path that the author went down with Amabel’s character.

This whole book was honestly such a puzzle – I feel like the storyline just got more bizarre at times, such as when Ammy points out that a younger woman is following her – is the child just being silly or perceptive? Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out 😉

I definitely felt like Finn was obsessed with her employer, perhaps even his wife, for there’s a scene where she is standing in after Marina (Philip’s wife, let me just add that he’s the son of a Senator, so heaven’s forbid that there would be any scandal to taint the family name), she slips into one of Marina’s dresses, which is all well and good, but ahhh I just feel like she’s allowed herself to be consumed by this fierce longing and loyalty to Philip (its hinted by slight flashbacks that the two have had some fiery chemistry) and has just wanted their constant approval – but I felt sorry for her when it remained slightly obvious that the family, well, Philip’s Senator Father and Marina, really didn’t like Finn all that much! I mean, if I think about it, Marina was only nice and singing Finn’s praises when she was minding Ammy and perhaps she was jealous that Ammy enjoyed Finn’s company so much!

I personally found the whole storyline with Iris to be a bit strange, really – I just feel like Iris, well, I won’t go into too much detail as I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say Iris isn’t the nicest character- claiming that she had an affair with Philip, threatening to leak it all online and permanently stain their perfect reputation, to which this enrages Finn and just leads to everything unravelling! I think the fact that Finn allows herself to be so wholly consumed by Iris’s accusations, her behaviour just becomes so extreme, especially when she finds herself cast out of Philip’s circle after an exceptionally horrifying tragedy.

The writing remained exceptionally fast paced and on edge, with a very clever play on words title, literally mirroring Finn’s life, I think. I definitely think it’s worth having a look at! The characters will definitely be sticking around in my mind for some time, methinks.

Happy Reading lovely bookworms,

Brooklyn.

About the Author (from Pan Macmillan Australia):
Kelsey Rae Dimberg received an MFA from the University of San Francisco and studied at Barrett Honors College of Arizona State University, where she was editor-in-chief of the literary magazine Lux, and received the Swarthout Award in Fiction. Girl in the Rearview Mirror is her first novel. Born in Seattle, Kelsey has lived in eight states, and currently resides in Milwaukee.

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