Updated: Aug 17, 2021
The Spires by Kate Moretti
A troubled woman becomes consumed by a past she’s desperate to forget in this unsettling psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Year.
Strung between two teenagers, an unemployed husband, and a tenuous career, Penelope Cox barely has her life together when the past comes knocking at her door. Willa Blaine, her old roommate, needs her help: refuge from an abusive husband. “Two weeks tops,” she says—but it’s not the imposition that bothers Penelope; it’s the memories Willa brings with her.
Twenty years earlier, Penelope, Willa, and three friends lived together in a converted church. Insular and closed off from the rest of the world, the five roommates formed their own dysfunctional family, celebrating the pinnacle of their lives; they called themselves “the Spires.” But nights of wild parties gave way to a darker undercurrent: jealousy, resentment, unrequited love, and obsession. Tensions boiled over during a night of debauchery that ended in a deadly fire, leaving the Spires scattered and forever changed.
Now Willa is the perfect houseguest: accommodating, helpful, bringing a newfound sense of excitement to the Cox household. Yet Penelope can’t help but feel the cracks in her life widen as she begins to question Willa’s motives. Everyone has secrets, it seems—and the fire may have brought down the Spires, but not everything burned was forgotten.
About the Author
Kate Moretti is the bestselling author of six novels and a novella. Her first novel, Thought I Knew You, was a New York Times bestseller. The Vanishing Year was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards Mystery & Thriller category for 2016 and was called “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) with “superb” closing twists (New York Times Book Review). Moretti has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for twenty years as a scientist and enjoys traveling and cooking. She lives in Pennsylvania in an old farmhouse with her husband, two children, and no known ghosts. Her lifelong dream is to find a secret passageway.
Penelope’s life has changed drastically since her college years. She’s trying to remember the relationship she had with her husband since his finance firm became bankrupt and his midlife crisis took an unexpected turn in the form of yoga, reiki and personal grooming. You can certainly feel the tension from the very beginning, whilst Penelope dishearteningly chugs along, juggling caring for their kids, looking after the home and maintaining a full-time job, ignoring the cracks that have crept silently into the house.
At first, when one of her old college friends, Willa turns up on her doorstep unannounced after years have passed, I thought it would be good for Penelope who has struggled to maintain friendships possibly because of whatever had happened back in those days when the group of five friends lived at The Spires. But also, there was an element of control within her marriage that she was yet to admit. It certainly had me hooked and I was keen to know what had happened back then.
It’s a real page turner. The Author provides little drips of information in each chapter that makes you crave more but most importantly, was Willa really there because of an abusive marriage or was there something more sinister going on. It’s psychologically very powerful.
As the story progresses, we get the opportunity to travel back to the Spires where the group of co-dependent friends lived – Jack, Willa, Bree, Flynn and Penelope, known back then as Pip, a nickname that neither suited her nor that she felt comfortable with. Always the kind and most caring of the group, we fall into their lifestyle of each of their personalities and see what formed Willa and Penelope as the people we meet in 2020. And as the Author takes us through the back story of the five friends and their complex relationships, I was desperate to know about the fire that had led to the death of Jack’s girlfriend Grace.
I always like to think I can guess a plot twist before it happens but with this novel, I did not see it coming but wow, what a twist. After that I had to get to the end to satisfy my curiosity. And the twists kept on coming. Really very clever.
An absolute delight of a thriller.
You can pre-order a copy on the following link. Book release date is the 21st September 2021.
Review dated: 09.07.2021