Fans of fast-paced thrillers based around the theme of revenge won’t want to miss I Invited Her In, the latest offering from author Adele Parks. It’s the story of two women, former best friends, and the destructive need to get even burns within one of them.
Mel and Abi were best friends back in their university days. They shared everything with one another, and neither of them could imagine a time when they wouldn’t be super close. But, as we all know, things change over time, and sometimes even the best of friends drift apart, and that’s exactly what happened to Mel and Abi. Mel drops out of college when she gets pregnant unexpectedly, and things aren’t the same between them from that day forward.
Seventeen years later, Mel is living with her husband and three children, and her life is pretty close to perfect. She has a fantastic marriage, and her children are smart, successful, and well-mannered. She has fond memories of her days as a student with Abi, but it’s pretty clear to the reader that she has moved on.
For her part, Abi moved to L.A. shortly after Mel left school, and fell in with a crowd of the rich, beautiful, and extremely powerful. She eventually gets a job on a television show, and she’s now living the life of a celebrity. She has a tumultuous relationship with a man, one she doesn’t necessarily love, but she feels more complete with a romantic partner in her life, so she does her best to ignore the twinges of doubt she sometimes feels. But when she discovers he’s been cheating on her for quite a while, she realizes she needs a change of pace, and who better to help her through this difficult time than Mel?
When Abi first reaches out to Mel for a place to stay, Mel is elated. She imagines long evenings spent catching up on their lives, but once Abi moves in, it becomes clear she has more on her mind than simply catching up. She hates the lovely life Mel is leading. It’s everything she’s always wanted for herself, and she becomes determined to claim it as her own. She’s willing to stop at nothing to get what she wants, a fact that puts Mel in unspeakable danger.
Abi is one of the most disturbed and manipulative people I’ve read about in quite some time. I didn’t always understand the reasons for the rage she felt, but I must admit it made the story really compelling. At first, I wondered if Mel had actually done something to make Abi so angry, but I soon realized this was all a product of Abi’s very disturbed mind. She hates the way her own life turns out, and she absolutely cannot stand that Mel has this fantastic life filled with the love Abi has always craved so desperately.
I loved pretty much everything about Mel. She’s a little naïve at the beginning of the story, refusing to believe that Abi is as vindictive as she obviously is, but it doesn’t take her long to catch on to what’s going on. She doesn’t take Abi’s crap lying down, and I was glad she did her best to fight back. She never resorted to the kind of underhanded tactics Abi employed, but she’s definitely willing to fight for what’s hers.
There are a few big twists in the story, one of which I saw coming pretty early on, but fortunately, that didn’t negatively impact my overall enjoyment of the story. I chalked it up to the fact that I read a ton of thrillers, so it’s pretty hard to surprise me.
I Invited Her In is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Parks, but it absolutely will not be my last. She is a gifted writer, and the perfect pacing, three-dimensional characters, and non-stop action made this a book I hated to put down.
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