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The Perfect Girl: A Novel

The Perfect Girl: A Novel


The Perfect Girl: A Novel

ratings:
4/5 (69 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 6, 2016
ISBN:
9780062564917
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same. 

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead.

In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe's former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

A HarperAudio production.

Publisher:
Released:
Sep 6, 2016
ISBN:
9780062564917
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Gilly Macmillan is the internationally bestselling author of What She Knew, The Perfect Girl, Odd Child Out, I Know You Know, The Nanny, and To Tell You the Truth. She resides in Bristol, England.

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What people think about The Perfect Girl

3.9
69 ratings / 26 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    I purchased The Perfect Girl at an airport newsstand because I’d heard good things about What She Knew, Ms. Macmillan’s previous novel. I ended up staying up really late finishing it the day after I bought it (I’m probably the only person who got 5 hours of sleep in Vegas not because of the gambling or the drinking, but because I wanted to finish a book).

    However, even though I really enjoyed reading the book, I don’t actually think I liked the book. It is written the way many books seem to be these days (and I enjoy it) – something has happened, we go back in time and forward in time to get some glimpses and start to put together the Real Story. In this one, a teen named Zoe is a piano prodigy, and is performing a concert with her step-brother when someone comes into the church and screams at her. We quickly learn he is the father of someone Zoe killed – accidentally – a couple of years ago.

    We also learn that by the end of the night Zoe’s mother will be dead.

    We get chapters from the point of view of at least five characters, and the storytelling is engaging. But in the end, I kind of didn’t care that much, and found one of the storylines completely useless, and another a bit of a … I want to say cliché, but that’s not right. Honestly it felt a little like what I might do if I were writing a story when I was in middle school. Basically, one of the characters uses a film script to convey autobiographical information to another character. But there’s no need for it.

    This is a fine time killer, and might even suck you in, but it’s nowhere near as interesting as other similar books, such as pretty much any in Liane Moriarty’s body of work.
  • (3/5)
    This book is written from various characters' viewpoints, alternating via chapters. Mosly it's done very well, and doesn't interfere with the flow of the story. In fact it gives quite a lot of depth to the events, after all there is more than one side to any story, and no two people experience the same thing in the same way.The chapters told from a teen point of view have a genuine adolescent feel, you really do get the impression a teen is telling you those parts of the story.Despite the book being so well written, it failed to really grab me. Something would seem to be building, but then peter out. I was able to read large chunks in one sitting, but didn't feel any great urge to pick it up later. Until near the end that is, but the end felt somewhat like an anticlimax to me. The promised drama didn't really happen, and the epilogue tied up the loose ends a little too neatly.Overall, this is a good book. There are certainly far worse choices out there. Other readers have loved it, so give it a go.I received this book for free through a giveaway.
  • (2/5)
    Zoe is a child genius, a musical prodigy - the perfect daughter. But a party gone wrong led to the death of three teenagers - and Zoe was the one to take the blame. She faced the courts, served her time. And now she's free. Her mother remarried and now Zoe has a stepfather and stepbrother in her life, along with a half-sister. As Zoe Maisey, life should go back to normal again. But on the night when Zoe decides to give a piano performance, there is a disruption that threatens to bring her past back to the forefront. By midnight, Zoe's mother is dead. Who killed Zoe's mother and why? And what will happen now to this "perfect" family?

    One of the things I liked about this novel was how it was split into two parts and went back and forth between different character perspectives as well as between different points in time. This ensured that the reader was attentive; I like to be kept on my toes because it makes me work that much harder to make connections - and sometimes, a challenge is a good thing!

    While I enjoyed reading from the perspective of different characters and found the events leading up to the murder interesting, I didn't really find Zoe to be a well-developed character. For one thing, the whole genius aspect had no purpose so it didn't really even need to be included in the story. I thought that it was mentioned because it would lead to something somewhere but it didn't, so that was a bit of a disappointment. Her character just made me sad but I couldn't connect with her or feel anything other than marginal pity. I feel like she could have been a lot more complex, especially in showing her emotions regarding her mother's death.

    I also found the character of the solicitor to be quite unnecessary. I thought that the author had included him and his perspective for a purpose but he pretty much did nothing throughout the whole novel and had his own mini sidestory going on that I didn't really care about. I pretty much hate when authors include things that have no bearing or purpose so the solicitor was definitely a disappointing character for me.

    While the premise was interesting, and the whodunit aspect had me hyped, finding out what happened and the way that it resolved itself was a bit lacking in the wow factor, so I didn't get that thrill that I was hoping for.

    Overall, this is a well-written novel that incorporated many different perspectives and timelines. However, it was lackluster in terms of creating complex characters, and did not deliver on the thrill factor as strongly as I had hoped. Still a decent read, and worth giving a shot!
  • (3/5)
    A special thank you to Edelweiss and William Morrow Paperbacks for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    This book was just okay. The best part of the story was the lead up to whodunnit however it is told from multiple points of view and in my opinion, this adds unnecessary bulk to the story because most of these narrators are unreliable. Once the mystery was solved, and it is revealed who killed Maria, the story ties up too neatly.

    I read that the original title was Butterfly in the Dark and I think this works much better with the story than The Perfect Girl.
  • (5/5)
    Loved this book. I truly cared about these people..as if the were in real life not on the pages of a book. Couldn't stop reading until I had finished. Highly recommend
  • (4/5)
    Zoe is a 17 year old musical prodigy with a genius IQ to boot. Attempting to settle into her "new normal" life with her mom and newly acquired stepfather, stepbrother, and half sister she is finally starting to feel like she is putting her life back together. After a devastating accident left 3 of her schoolmates dead, landing Zoe in juvenile detention for 18 months it's been difficult to put her life back together. An elaborately planned evening piano concert was supposed to be her reemergence back into her former glory days of playing, but before sunrise the next day, Zoe's mother is dead and she finds herself falling down the rabbit hole as she examines her new family under more scrutiny and tries to understand just what happened to her mother. Given that the span of this book was over the course of roughly 24 hours and at over 400 pages long, it was incredibly rich in detail. Alternating perspectives between Zoe, Tessa (her aunt), Richard (her uncle), and Sam (her former lawyer) kept the story fresh. It was interesting to see events unfold through so many different lenses and mindsets. The story contained flashbacks and recollections of the horrible accident which sent Zoe to a correctional facility which ultimatly played a large part in her feelings and thought processes when faced with a new crime/investigative procedures. It made it all the more threatening for Zoe which ramped up the paranoia and tenseness. The ending was not as much of a shocker for me compared to her previous novel but it was one that I was hoping for which left me satisfied. Overall it was a great read, a perfect thriller to get sucked into!
  • (4/5)
    I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.Zoe is a piano prodigy with a tragic secret from her past. She and her mother, Maria, are on their "Second Chance Family", attempting to put their lives back together by denying who they used to be. But after a disastrous music recital, Maria is found murdered, and multiple characters attempt to put the pieces together to figure out what really happened.This is a book that flies by. I got so into it I didn't even realize how close I was to the end until the first of the big reveals happened.There is so much suspense and tension, and so many layers of mystery to unfold. I didn't see any of the big reveals coming, and it made for a great read to be that surprised.I felt like there were one too many subplots that kind of took away from the main story line. It felt like Macmillan was exploring what makes and breaks a marriage, and what secrets a husband and wife can hide from the world and each other--and this was really interesting in itself, but it was distracting (especially the subplot with the lawyer).I also felt like we heard from a few too many characters. Sometimes a narrator would get a really short part before the point of view switched again, and it became hard to keep track of everyone and who was sharing when.If you are looking for a gripping, twisty psychological thriller, I would definitely recommend this book. The twists, turns, and big reveals more than make up for any minor shortcomings.
  • (3/5)
    Interesting story of a perfect young piano genius who does everything right but unfortunately at 14 drives an automobile from a party (she apparently had a spiked drink) and the 3 passengers in the car are killed. She is blamed and put away for a year. Her mother moves away and starts a new life with a new husband. They never tell the new husband of the daughters background problem. The mother is killed and the "perfect girl" does the unthinkable. Interesting but could have been shorter.
  • (4/5)
    Zoe Maisey is a genius: a piano prodigy with an amazingly high IQ. She is also a killer. When she was fourteen, Zoe was responsible for the death of three fellow teens. Now, she and her mother have started over (their "Second Chance Life") and Zoe is playing her first concert in her new life, along with her stepbrother, Lucas. But her performance is disrupted and Zoe flees the concert hall. And, by the end of the night, Zoe's mother is dead. Zoe is alone, forced to confront a new world without her protector. Plus, who is responsible for her mother's death?This book grabbed me immediately; it sucks you in from the start and doesn't let you go until it finishes, when you're exhilarated and exhausted. It's a fascinating, easy-to-read thriller with short chapters that tell us about the events surrounding the timeframe after Zoe's concert, but also going back into the past via flashbacks from the characters. We hear from Zoe, her aunt, Tessa, Tessa's husband, Richard, and Sam, Zoe's lawyer from her "previous" life. Their narratives weave flawlessly into a tense and sometimes psychologically creepy tale that has you sitting spellbound, turning pages frantically, wanting to know what happens.In theory, the action happens over a very short period of time, as Maria's killer is unveiled, but the ability to go into the past with the characters extends the time and makes you tensely await each action. Macmillan's characters are nuanced and deep--each with their own quirks, flaws, and motivations. Beyond the actual plotline of murder, there is a deep thread of discord and familial drama and angst running among our characters, who are certainly a flawed bunch. The book makes you question and ponder many things, including the topics of forgiveness, loyalty, marriage, and what really makes a family. I won't forget either the exciting story or the characters themselves for some time.Overall, while there were certainly a few things to quibble with with this one, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a tense but enjoyable thriller to escape into and certainly well worth the thread.I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Librarything (thank you)!
  • (5/5)
    Wow, this was one wild roller coaster ride! I hadn't read Gilly Macmillian's first book, What She Knew, when I got this book but I have it now, right now next to me to read! Zoe is a talented pianist who is scheduled to play with her new step-brother when someone from her past shows up at the concert and it all goes downhill from there fast! This is one of those books that keep you up way past your bedtime. Highly recommended!
  • (2/5)
    I loved her first book, "Burnt Paper Sky" - known as "What She Knew" in Canada now. This is book #2 and I found it hugely boring and couldn't wait for it to be over. The ending is predictable and the characters didn't do anything to make me like them.
  • (5/5)
    Ooh, this book was good! It grabbed me from the beginning, and I couldn't put it down.Zoe is a 17-year-old girl with a painful past. When she was 15 years old, she was the driver in a car accident that left three of her classmates - including her best friend - dead. Since then, her mother Maria has remarried and is determined to hide their tragic past from her new husband and his 16-year-old son Lucas. But the past always has a way of catching up to you, as Zoe and Maria soon find out. When Maria is found dead, all family members are under suspicion. Does Maria's death have something to do with Zoe's past?I loved this book. Each chapter is told in the first person from a different character's perspective - Zoe, Lucas, Maria, Tess (Zoe's aunt and Maria's sister), Richard (Zoe's uncle and Tess's husband), and Sam (Zoe's lawyer from her car accident case). The first half of the book gets the reader caught up on Zoe's past and the complicated relationships that each of the main characters has with each other. It is not until halfway into the book that Maria dies and the book takes on the added dimension of a mystery.What's so great about each chapter's being told from a different character's perspective is that the reader can feel the tension as the plot tightens. Each character starts to figure things out - not just with the mystery of Maria's death but also with the truth behind each person's true being - and the chapters get shorter as the perspectives bounce back and forth, their individual thoughts converging on the truth. It's wonderfully tense and gripping.The resolution at the end was a little bit disappointing. I think author Gilly Macmillan intended it to be an oh-my-gosh-how-diabolical moment, but it didn't quite achieve that. If we could give books 1/2 stars, I would have given this book 4 1/2 stars because of the less-than-perfect ending. However, the book hits closer to 5 stars than to 4, which is why I went ahead and gave it 5 stars.
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed this book and flew through it. Zoe is the perfect girl. She's beautiful and smart and musically gifted. Then one night she makes a terrible error in judgement (but did she?) and her life is forever changed and she becomes a criminal with a record. Several years later Zoe and her mother have moved on, in a new place, with a new name and a new family including a new baby sister and no one knows of the past. She loves Her "second chance life" and falls in love again with her music. One night she performs a concert with her stepbrother and the inevitable happens, her past catches up with her. What happens next is unimaginable. How did Zoe go from rising from the ashes to having her life again turned upside down?Things are not always what they seem and people are not always who you think they are. The characters all have stories in themselves, they are a fascinating mix, some likeable, some not, and there's a lot going on behind the scenes. I love the descriptive way of this author's storytelling. The script written by Lucas was heartbreaking. The book is narrated by numerous characters in the story, a few too many for my liking actually. A few viewpoints, or a couple I am fine with but when it starts getting into 6 and 7, that's a few too many for me, but that's just me.Not sure how I feel about the ending. The end justifies the means? Clever; but what a tangled web we weave. This was a gripping and hard to put down thriller. I read most in one sitting. Would love to see it on the screen.
  • (4/5)
    Rachel Jenner is out in the woods with her eight year old son Ben. Ben wants to run in front and Rachel agrees reluctantly. Next thing she she knows is that Ben has gone and she doesn't know where. DI Jim Clemo is on the case of the missing child. This is there events of what happened. Good mother or bad mother, good cop or bad cop, thats for the reader to decide. Decided I was too at the end of the story.This is the harrowing tale of a little boy who is taken while out with his mom. The story is told from the points of view of Rachel and Jim. Also there is a lot of blogs, transcripts and everything else that brings the book right up to date. I really enjoyed this debut thriller and I was on the edge of my seat as the search was drawing a close. I was drawn straight in and really wanted to see what happened. It does ask the question good mother or bad, and would I have done anything different myself. It did remind me of when my lads were children and how I found it difficult to say it wsd ok to play a little way from home.My only niggle in the book was the big family secret reveal. I really felt it was unnecessary to the story and it didn't add anything extra to the story.However the book was a cracking read and I really enjoyed it.
  • (4/5)
    Gilly MacMillan's first novel, What She Knew, was an Edgar nominated, New York Times Bestseller. Her second novel, The Perfect Girl, is newly released.Seventeen year old Zoe is a brilliant piano virtuoso. Her mother Maria has nurtured her career from the very beginning. An accident three years ago ended with one of Zoe's friends dead. But, she's served her time, she and her mother have moved and they have a new family unit. But while giving a concert in their new hometown, a man bursts in ranting and disrupts the event. And six hours later, Maria is dead......Who killed Maria is the question that needs answering by the end of the book. And there are a few obvious choices. But it is the exploration of the characters, their lives, their thoughts and their reasoning that make The Perfect Girl a 'literary suspense' novel.There are eight main characters in The Perfect Girl, but only four of them are given a voice with their own chapters. I was surprised at those that were - Tessa and Richard, Zoe's aunt and uncle and Sam, Zoe's previous solicitor. A fifth, Lucas - Zoe's new stepbrother, we come to know through his film script.Zoe is driven to be perfect - in her piano playing and in her behavior. After all, this is her Second Chance with her new Second Chance family in their new Second Chance home. It's heartbreaking to read Zoe's chapters, as we learn of her past and the events that lead to that fateful night. But I found her a hard character to actually like. Maria is also driven as well to make everything 'perfect'. Maria is not given a voice and we only learn about her from others - notably her sister Tessa (who seems to be the most reasonable character) Chris, Maria's new husband, also only becomes known through his actions and dialogue described by others. (But he's a real piece of work) It was Uncle Richard that I was drawn to the most, despite his spectacular lack of perfection. I understand Sam's inclusion in the book, but felt he was quite removed from the 'main event'.These are all fractured people with fractured lives and secrets, some holding it together better than others. It was hard to really like any of them, but as a 'removed' observer, I was caught up in their turmoil. The final whodunit isn't the ending I had predicted, but seems, well, just perfect.
  • (4/5)
    Author Gilly Macmillan follows up her 2015 gripping debut novel What She Knew, about a mom whose eight-year-old son vanishes, with another tense and topical suspense thriller, The Perfect Girl.The Perfect Girl opens with 17-year-old Zoe Maisey and her stepbrother Lucas ready to perform a piano recital. Zoe's mom Maria and Lucas' dad Chris sit proudly in the front row, ready to hear their talented children play. Zoe then tells us that six hours later her mother will be dead.Now that the author has your attention, we shift narrators to Sam, a solicitor whom we find is having an affair with Zoe's Aunt Tessa. Sam and Tessa met a few years prior, when Sam was Zoe's lawyer. When Zoe was 14 years-old, she was involved in a car accident that took the lives of three of her classmates, and Sam relates that part of the story to us.We also get Tessa's point of view. Tessa loves her niece Zoe and sister Maria fiercely. She is having trouble in her marriage; she and her husband have been trying for years to conceive a child, and her husband has slid into alcoholism and depression.The timeline shifts back and forth, but it is never confusing. The title refers to not only Zoe- who is trying her best to be the perfect girl her mother wants, but to Tessa, who has always been the perfect girl in her family, and Maria, a former wild child who, after Zoe's accident, has worked hard to be the perfect wife to Chris.But what is the cost of trying for perfection? When Zoe was fourteen, she went to a party, had what she thought was one drink, hoping to get the attention of Jack, the guy every girl wanted. She thought she was using good judgement, but in trying to impress Jack a terrible tragedy occurs.Maria changed her life when she married Chris. Her marriage to Zoe's husband broke up after Zoe's accident, and Maria rebuilt her life with Chris and his son Lucas. She designed the perfect life for her husband- they had the perfect house, she had a beautiful kitchen where she created wonderful meals for her husband. The cost of attempting perfection, especially for women, can be too much to pay.So how did Maria end up dead? That is the ultimate mystery here, and you'll fly through the pages to find out the answer.Reading The Perfect Girl put me in mind of HBO's series, The Night Of. A seemingly good kid makes a few bad decisions that leads to more trouble. There's also a lawyer's point of view, as in the HBO series. Fans of The Night Of will want to follow-up with The Perfect Girl.
  • (4/5)
    At the opening of this story, you know how it's going to end. Or rather, you know that the protagonist's mother is going to die. But you don't know how or by whom. It's not a particularly unique style of writing that hasn't been done before, but it's still refreshing enough for me to have enjoyed it. I was not familiar with this author before receiving an advanced copy of the book. But I was very pleasantly surprised. The plot moved along at a decent pace, gradually revealing the story in chapters told by alternating viewpoints. I liked it, and it kept me guessing. I've seen reviews that state that this novel is not as good as MacMillan's previous book, What She Knew. I've not read that one, but now I want to.
  • (4/5)
    This book is destined to be a mega-hit. Gilly MacMillan did a pretty good job with her first book, What She Knew, but she hit it out of this park with this psychological suspense. I could not read this book fast enough. I had to know what happened next. I don't think the who-dunit is really the draw on this one, because it doesn't take much to figure out. But the how is this all going to work out in the end is what kept me racing through. The story centers around Zoe Maisey, a teenage girl, who is musical prodigy with dark secrets in her past. She's fully ensconced in her new life in a new town with and step-family where her and her mom kept her secret from all. Turns out that she's not the only one with secrets. And when secrets clash it's anybody's guess how what's going to happen to all the players. I was gifted an advanced copy of this book, due out September 2016, by William Morrow publisher through LibraryThing for an honest review. And my opinion is GET THIS BOOK.
  • (4/5)
    Good debut novel.Story of 8 year old Ben Finch who goes missing while he is out a walk in the woods with his Mum.The book revolves around Rachel (Bens Mother) and the policeman Jim Clemo who is desperate to solve this case.
  • (5/5)
    Gillian MacMillan's The Perfect Girl is a twisty ride. I really liked it and have to look for her other book What She Knew. The story starts with a concert on a Sunday evening and every chapter is either titled with the Day, moving back and forth in time or by the Character whose point of view is told. There is the question of how or whether we can ever really start over and how our history and past choices will impact the future. Zoe was involved in a fatal car crash three years before the opening concert setting at age fourteen and spent months in a secured unit. Her mother Maria starts over with Zoe's release in a new town near her sister Tessa. Secrets and lies are at the center of the story and I really wanted to look ahead and see what was coming. The suspense here is exceptional and this book is highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    I received this as pert of the LT early reviewer program. Zoe is a gifted child musician with a troubled past. When her mother tries to rebuild a perfect second chance life for them, they try to keep her history a secret. But someone has found them out and her mom ends up dead. Told over the course of 2 days with multiple shifts in perspective, this is a quick intriguing read. I enjoy books with flawed characters, and this one is full of them. Some are easier to like and relate to than others, but that just adds to the tension. Well written and nicely paced. I give it a solid recommendation for a quick read.
  • (2/5)
    This book was impossible for me to follow - despite the fact that it takes place over 24 hours. There are 4 narrators taking turns on chapters and all narrate in the first person. Also the chapters go back and forth in time. There is no continuity at all, not in voice or time. A really trying contrivance in the book is that each chapter ends in a kind of mid-air moment - supposedly to create suspense. I found this book impossible.
  • (4/5)
    The book opens with 17-year-old genius musician Zoe preparing for a comeback piano concert. We know Zoe has undergone some sort of jail time for killing someone, but at the beginning we don't know who or why. We also know her mother, Maria, is now married to Chris, and stepmother to his teenage son, Lucas. Zoe refers to them as her “Second Chance Family”. By the end of that night, Zoe’s mother is dead. Before long Zoe learns that secrets from the past usually never stay hidden.

    The author switches the narrator throughout the book alternating Zoe, and other characters sharing their pasts as the events unfold. The story is told over a 24 hour timeline. I thought this was done very well and allowed me to becoming involved in all the messy and dysfunctional parts of the characters' lives. The entire way it was written, even using a screenplay by Lucas, slowly reveals all their secrets.

    This is not a heart pounding thriller but there is plenty of suspense to keep most readers turning pages. The story kept me interested but I almost got the feeling this first originated as a short story and the author kept adding content to fill it out. I've never read anything by Gilly Macmillan but would definitely try another in the future. I understand her first two books, Burnt Paper Sky and What She Knew, have been reviewed very positively.
  • (4/5)
    Gilly Macmillan returns following What She Knew with her second gripping psychological thriller, THE PERFECT GIRL -a hypnotic literary domestic suspense mystery; a teen, a family of dark secrets, a performance, and the lengths they will go to protect those they love. How small initial differences may lead to large unforeseen consequences over time. A first and second life. Is there hope for a third? A Sunday Night performance—before and after. Set in Bristol, Zoe Maisey, a musical prodigy—a pianist. A fall from grace, a tormented life---after causing the death of three teenagers when she was only fourteen years old. A conviction. She has done her time at the Unit. Eighteen months. Was she really guilty—DUI? Drugged, or set up?A scholarship. A cost. Leaving the farm for a private school. A broken family. The unraveling. A father, shut down. A mother who pretends the past does not exist. Appearances. The actress. Survival. Protect her daughter. A fantasy world until reality comes to the surface. A perfectionist. Plaster masking the broken cracks. Zoe left one life and entered another. Piano could help her rediscover herself. Her talent and intellect. The family encouraged her. A Second Chance family. Desperate, the second chance family may not be as it appears. The book starts with a Bristol debut. Sunday evening, a performance – a second chance at life. Lucas and Zoe (yin and yang). Zoe and her stepbrother, Lucas. They were to start with a duet, a brain child of their parents. They would prefer to play alone, both performers; however, they are trying to please their parents. Everything else fades away when she is performing. The music awaiting, the audience, everything perfectly balanced—tonight is seamless, beautiful. Next there is shouting. The end. Six hours later her mother is dead.Told from multiple perspectives: Zoe, Sam the attorney, Lucas-step-brother, and Tessa, the aunt (Zoe’s mom’s sister) and Tessa’s husband, Richard. We hear from each person and the events leading up to the concert before and after.Devastation. Can anyone escape the past? Tessa —unexplained fertility—they looked at all the options, her husband Richard’s drinking, she is a Bristol vet. She and her husband are growing apart and during the trial, she gets close to Zoe’s lawyer, Sam. Marie was the naughty girl (the sister) and Zoe’s mom, while Tessa was focused on being a vet. Marie the younger sister. Marie made it her mission to nurture her daughter, Zoe’s talent. Zoe was the child Tessa loved since childhood – she made a stupid mistake. The fall out has fractured Marie, and Tessa is stronger. She believes Zoe and wants her to know she is loved before and after the accident.She is the first to see the man. A meltdown. Truths uncovered. Revenge. Lucas hears the shouting before Zoe, during a complicated part---a man is standing in the middle of the isle. A travesty. She killed his daughter. She knows him. Her mother rises from her seat. She pleads. Zoe is afraid. She leaves the stage. She flees to a corner. Thomas Barlow. Who could have stopped him and changed the events which unfolded? What are the odds he would be living in the same community as Chris, Marie, Zoe, Grace, and Lucas? Why was she preforming at the church where his daughter was buried? Could this be a coincidence? Should Zoe and Marie be able to move on with their privacy? Are they cursed?Zoe once again causes domestic bliss to implode. A victim. A new family, dark secrets, a past comes to the surface. A mother’s remarriage. An attempt to start over. Grace a new baby sister. Chris a demanding controlling husband and step-father. A mother living in a fantasy world, abusive; withholding the past in order to protect her new family and future. Zoe’s hour glass life. How can Zoe payback everyone she loves, for everything she has done? In order for Zoe to have a shot at a Third Chance family, she has to protect those she loves.Loved THE PERFECT GIRL! The author brilliantly creates her characters and slowly builds tension and suspense, leaving readers on the edge of their seats with their every move. My first attempt listening to the audio, had many interruptions. I put it aside and began again. The second time without interruptions, I was immediately pulled into the story. The author creates an intense exploration---a slow burning domestic psychological suspense. Strong, impressive complex character-driven tale; each is performing with their own motives---- with highly charged topics of domestic abuse and alcoholism. The past slowly unravels. Chris and Marie are two master performers – wearing masks. Manipulators. You will root for Zoe to the explosive ending, where her first and second lives have many similarities—truth is altered to protect family. Fact and fiction. Perfect versus flawed. Loved the twist with Richard and Tessa!The butterfly effect is exhibited --The scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. Paths and outcomes. A concept that small causes can have large effects.Narrators, Penelope Rawlins and Dugald Bruce-Lockhart delivered an outstanding performance!Fans of Mary Kubica and Paula Daly will enjoy the author’s taut and twisted thrill ride-- no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end. However, the past may serve you well--to handle the next chapter of your life.
  • (5/5)
    Zoe was the perfect child until an accident caused the deaths of several classmates. After paying the price for her actions all Zoe wants to do is to be left alone and to try to have a life. However, fate does not allow this. Zoe’s parents divorce, Zoe’s mother marries an abusive man with a wonderful son, they have another child and things go terribly wrong. Filled with twists and turns, this is a fascinating story of crime, punishment and redemption.
  • (1/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    I hated this book and I am not exactly sure why. The main character got on my nerves and the story seemed contrived somehow. The whole thing seemed dull and under developed. I ended up not finishing it. Maybe I will go back to it at a later date and it will capture my attention more. Until then, this was a dud.

    1 person found this helpful