When I Wake Up – Jessica Jarlvi
When Anna, a much-loved teacher and mother of two, is left savagely beaten and in a coma, a police investigation is launched. News of the attack sends shock waves through her family and their small Swedish community. Anna seems to have had no enemies, so who wanted her dead?
As loved-ones wait anxiously by her bedside, her husband Erik is determined to get to the bottom of the attack, and soon begins uncovering his wife’s secret life, and a small town riven with desire, betrayal and jealousy.
As the list of suspects grows longer, it soon becomes clear that only one person can reveal the truth, and she’s lying silent in a hospital bed…
My thanks to Yasemin at Head of Zeus for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour
I am terrible at putting books into classifications but When I Wake Up didn’t strike me as the psychological thriller which the Amazon listing indicates it is. However, I did think that it was a very strong domestic drama (is that a thing?) which put three households into the spotlight as Jessica Jarlvi shook their respective worlds upside down.
At the centre of the action is Anna. She is a teacher – married and has two kids. She seems well liked and respected by her colleagues but is facing a bit of a problem at school with a troublesome pupil (Daniel).
Next spotlight family is Iris (a Librarian) and her artist husband Rolf. They have an open relationship where both are free to sleep with any women they want. Iris has seduced Lena and the two women have been having clandestine meetings in the library. But Iris wants to move on as Lena has become too dependent upon her – Lena is not so happy at this prospect.
Finally household three…Daniel (the problem pupil) and his drunken mother. Daniel craves a “real” family and sees his teacher Anna as the ideal person to provide the stability and affection that he believes he is missing. Daniel’s attentions to Anna are both creepy and sinister and this makes for uncomfortable reading at times.
When I Wake Up opens with a violent attack on Anna by person (or persons) unknown. The book will pick up the story of events after Anna is hospitalised. She is in a coma so cannot reveal the identity of her attacker and it is not clear if she will even survive the ordeal. However, the narrative will also slip back to events prior to the attack and the reader gets to see how the three spot-lit families will interact, where their stories overlap and we get to speculate over which of the cast of characters may have been responsible (directly or indirectly) for Anna’s attack.
Jessica Jarlvi does a great job of juggling her characters, each will fall under suspicion for Anna’s attack and I found it difficult to work out who may have been to blame. One word of caution for those with more prudish reading tastes – there is a fair amount of…let’s call it “nakedness” in this story so if you blush easily you may wish to skim a bit!
Entertaining and engaging story and the characterisation is spot on (which is essential to make a tale like When I Wake Up work for the readers). If you like a domestic drama this is one you should not miss.
When I Wake Up is published by Head of Zeus and is available now in digital format (with a Hardback version due for release in September 2017. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Wake-Up-shocking-psychological-ebook/dp/B01N5VJFV3/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8