Infidelity. It’s a word that scares even the most secure of relationships. A word often avoided for fear of inviting the unwanted. But what if infidelity was built into a relationship? What if it were not only allowed, but expected? Is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed? What if it was?
Danielle Porter’s ALL THE BEAUTIFUL BODIES is what would happen if THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY were to hook up and have a love child. And the question of fidelity is at the heart of the story.
Sketchy characters? Check.
Claustrophobic pacing? Check.
Eve Winters, a woman with a violent past, goes missing just before the release of her sexually charged, tell-all, a memoir of her journey into the life of prostitution and the one man who she may have ever truly loved.
When writing professor, Sophia Grayson, reads her former student’s explicit memoir, she begins to suspect the man in Eve’s novel is non other than her husband. Shell-shocked, despite the agreement between her and her husband, she boards a plane for Paris to discover the truth of her dispassionate marriage, a marriage that has been buried in years of lies and loss and has become all-too comfortably numb. Or so she thought. Could her husband really be behind the disappearance of Eve?
BODIES is a slick paced thriller from an author that is otherwise known for her fun, romantic, and sunny stories. In it, Danielle Porter (a.k.a. Juliette Sobanet, ONE NIGHT IN PARIS, CONFESSIONS OF A CITY GIRL) expertly captures the downward spiral of the human condition as it questions fidelity of marriage, exposing the hidden truth behind Eve’s disappearance through the steamy pages of Eve’s memoir and the unraveling of Sophia’s mind as she begins to put it all together and suspect the worst.
What’s really interesting about BODIES is this idea of a story within a story. You’ll read key pieces to Eve’s memoir as Sophia struggles to put them together, all while striking a nerve about how much we understand of our own relationships. I’ve read a few other novels that have strived to do something similar with mixed results, but Danielle manages to put it all together without reminding you that you’re reading, and for me, that’s a winner.
The questions Porter asks here might strike a little too close to home for some. They shine a light on an aspect of life most would rather pretend didn’t exist. Her writing crafts characters that demand empathy and sympathy and, like trying to catch that morbid glimpse of a covered body when passing an accident, keeps us glued to the page, even when in disgust.
If you’re a fan of Paula Hawkins with a dose of E.L. James, then ALL THE BEAUTIFUL BODIES needs to be next on your TBR list.
Satisfy your curiosity.