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Book Review: After the Silence By Louise O'Neill


Louise O'Neill is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects, and she's not afraid to tell the ugly truth of the matter. I originally thought this book was more of a typical thriller-y whodunnit situation, but it was so much more than that. It's really a book about domestic abuse and emotional manipulation, and it got me thinking.

To the outside world, Keelin Kinsella appears to have it all - handsome husband, money, big house and children, but it's all just an illusion covering something much more sinister. This book portrays control and domestic abuse in an illuminating way, really highlighting many aspects wrong with the perspectives on victims of such scenarios. Keelin's first marriage was to a violent man - the more "typical" form of abuse - who would beat her and then apologise profusely, telling her he loved her and that she just made him so angry sometimes he couldn't help himself. She eventually finds the strength to leave him, and remarries into what is gradually over the book revealed to also be an abusive relationship, but of a different kind. Henry doesn't raise a hand to his wife, but instead emotionally manipulates her, gaslighting her into believing she's making things up and being irrational as he gradually begins to exert his control over her.

I'll be honest though, the mystery aspect of this book really wasn't up to scratch for me. The husband bangs the hot twenty year old plot felt very predictable. I kind of saw it coming that Alex was the culprit. Also, I had hoped something more would have come from the documentary team, that they would play more a significant role.

If the mystery had been a bit better this easily would have been a five star read for me, but nonetheless the book is very well written and a fantastic read.


Read the synopsis below:

Nessa Crowley's murderer has been protected by silence for ten years.

Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.

On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella's wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley's lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.

The killer couldn't have escaped Inisrun, but no one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.

Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsellas' carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry's guilt and Keelin's complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.

In this bold, brilliant, disturbing new novel Louise O'Neill shows that deadly secrets are devastating to those who hold them close.

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