The First Mistake”is a domestic suspense novel and the very first book I’ve read by Sandie Jones. Like many others, I was a little hesitant about reading it because of the intense plot and storyline. That being said, once I started this book I couldn’t put it down. The story pulled me right in, completely held my attention, and even surprised me by some of the twists and turns of the plot! I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of reading this book.
“The First Mistake” is divided into three parts. Part 1 is from Alice’s point of view and it takes place in the present. Alice is living a normal domestic live. She’s found happiness once again after her first husband Tom’s accidental death on a skiing trip. She is now married to Nathan who is a very encouraging and supportive husband and father. Nathan helps Alice run the design business that was originally started by Tom’s inheritance. Although Alice still holds onto Tom and his memory, she has managed to move forward and tries to be a good, attentive mother to her two daughters. Her fear of losing someone again holds her emotionally captive and often prevents her from doing normal things like traveling. Nathan works alongside Alice in her business and continually encourages her to broaden out but because of her fears he often travels alone. He has just arranged a new deal that will allow the business to grow and extend into new markets. Just as Alice begins to believe that she can be strong and happy once again and even travel to Japan to close the deal, Nathan starts acting suspiciously. Alice starts to believe that Nathan may not be the man she thinks he is when three strange events make her doubt his loyalty. Alice turns to her best friend Beth looking for advice but Beth isn’t as supportive or as understanding as expected. By the time Part 1 comes to a close, Alice realizes that the people she has relied on and trusted might have been betraying her all along. She is so confused by all the odd behavior and strange occurrences that she even begins to question the circumstances around her first husband’s death and wonders if he too was disloyal. As Part 1 ends, Alice feels completely betrayed and doesn’t know if she shoul trust anyone.
Part 2 takes place nine to 10 years in the past and it’s from Beth’s point of view. Beth was young and working as a school teacher. She was born to wonderful, supportive parents who gave her everything she could ever want. Her father owned and ran very successful restaurants and Beth had a very close relationship with him. She spent a lot of time with her father on their boat and in the restaurants. When her father suddenly died Beth was lost. Thankfully she and her mother were financially secure. When Beth meets a man named Tom she falls in love. Although he was often away on business, he seemed supportive and protective of Beth. Beth sensed that at times circumstances were off and sometimes even strange but she’s was so happily in love with Tom that she dismissed her suspicions. Just as Beth felt that her life was perfect, she discovered her boyfriend leaving her home with another woman. Then, Tom completely disappeared. Not only did Beth find herself alone and pregnant, she came to the realization that Tom also left her and her mother financially destitute and emotionally broken.
Part 3 is once again in the present and it’s from both Alice’s and Beth’s point of view. I found the use of both points of view very interesting and helpful in understanding what the two women were feeling and why. Alice is determined to pull herself together and discover what is really going on. She must figure out who is lying, whether or not she is being manipulated and most importantly by whom. When Alice and Beth join forces, after Beth admits her past and what she’s done, it was impossible for me to figure out who to trust. Who do you trust more, your husband or your best friend? At this point in the book, I was questioning if this was a story of infidelity, manipulation, money and greed, or revenge or possibly all of the above. In the end who does Alice trust and will she be brave enough to confront all the lies and deceit?
I truly enjoyed “The First Mistake.” I found it to be a quick and easy to read story that held my attention and had me questioning everything and everyone. Although I suspected what was really going on and why at the the start of Part 2, there were quite a few events that I did not anticipate at all. I thought that the premise of the story was believable but sometimes I would get frustrated by Alice’s inaction and her willingness to ignore or justify her discoveries. The only negative about this book and the reason I gave it 4 Stars is that I found the ending to be very vague and it left me with a lot of unanswered questions. I really don’t like it when I finish a book and yet find myself questioning my own conclusions. The short, almost nonexistent epilogue was confusing and therefore frustrating.
The cover of the book is beautiful. The title of the book intrigues me and still has me contemplating what was “The First Mistake” and who made it, perhaps all of them? I found this standalone book excellent and very entertaining as I tried to put together all the pieces of the story. I enjoyed the plot and found it mostly believable especially when considering Alice’s emotional state of mind. Some events were a little far reaching but still completely entertaining. I definitely recommend this book and I look forward to reading future books by Sandie Jones!
I would like to thank the author and publisher for a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.