It’s all the eeeeeekkkks from me as I’m part of the tour for the genius that is S.E. Lynes and her latest novel, “Can You See Her?”
As a Susie Lynes super-fan I was delighted to be asked to be a part of the tour! And I cannot wait to tell you what I think!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
What would you do if no-one was watching?
Rachel is afraid she may have done something terrible. She’s sitting in a room, being asked whether she killed someone.
She doesn’t understand how her life has changed so completely. When she was younger, heads would turn when she walked into a room. Her children needed her; her husband adored her.
But somehow the years wore that all away. She was so busy raising her children, looking after her parents, that the woman who used to be Rachel Ryder, whose husband told her she was out of his league, now quietly washes his clothes and makes his dinner, and can walk into a room without anyone knowing she’s there.
She knows that she thought: what would it take for you to see me again? What if I did something no-one thought I was capable of?
So here I go again, worrying myself silly about how on earth I can do justice to the work of SE Lynes in a review. The truth is I can’t, there are no words to describe how this author’s books impact on me, a narrative bathed in perfection; exquisite storylines and sublime and powerful messages are all things that her books achieve and achieve in bucketsful. Add to the mix some of the deepest characters and the recipe for fictional perfection is complete.
“Can You See Her?” opens with five lines which are beautifully simple yet so powerful, the killer hook that drags me in! Taking me and placing me immediately inside Rachel’s head, it was an all too familiar setting; the observations and worries of a woman, I’m imagining to be the same age as me, they could be humorous in another genre, but in this genre and in this authors work I immediately know it’s not funny, it’s relatable yes, but it is also raw, painful and dark, as she begins to describe the moment Rachel became invisible.
Talk about an emotional gut punch! The author describes the psychological impact of the menopause to a T. It resonated on every level. But this isn’t a navel gazing, self-indulgent journey into the mind of a menopausal 50-something woman, no, it’s much deeper and much darker but adding this theme to the novel makes it totally and utterly authentic and relatable.
The dynamics between Rachel, her husband Mark and daughter Katie are layered in sheets of love, apathy, toxicity and rejection. It was hard not to feel for Rachel as those around her reduced her to nothing; especially powerful, for me, were the descriptions of malfunctioning appliances, nobody ever pays them much attention until they stop working and this is exactly how Rachel felt, it was heart-breaking to watch her disintegration.
Interspersed with extracts from police interviews the story slowly unfolds and the truth is uncovered. Life is laid bare and in terms of the plot, I honestly was kept on tenterhooks all the way through. Every time I thought I had worked something out, then the rug was pulled from under my feet.
An exquisitely painful narrative immersed me fully into Rachel’s life; I felt her pain, her invisibility and the burdens she carried. When reading the book I felt as though I were sitting on a stage with Rachel lit by spotlight telling her story.
Little snippets throughout the book made me stop and ponder a few times, it’s like Susie Lynes captures all the little nuances of life and weaves them through her writing; I particularly loved her references to storytelling and how we construct stories about our lives in order to help us process our lives.
Every single time she writes a book, Susie Lynes does this to me, she tears all the emotions from me, she brings her characters to life and I never quite know if they are stepping out of the pages or if I’m being pulled into them, but no matter what I drown in every one of her books and it is a wonderful feeling.
I’m not sure I’ve even reviewed this book, never mind done it justice, but it tore me apart and laid me out to dry.
Susie Lynes, you are genius hen. Pure genius!
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers are saying:
About the author
After graduating from Leeds University, S E Lynes lived in London before moving to Aberdeen where she worked as a BBC Producer. In 2002, she moved to Rome with her husband and two young children. In 2007, after the birth of her third child, she returned to the UK and gained an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. Currently, she writes novels and teaches Creative Writing at Richmond Adult Community College.