I spent the weekend reading The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth. I could have done something better! The book seems to be quite popular with wonderful reviews on GR. My review might be in the minority.
Hepworth is dealing with a lot of themes in this book. Mental health, marriage, infidelity, adoption, toxic relationships, etc to name a few in this book.
Part domestic fiction, thriller, and suspense, this story has a dual narrative. While Pippa’s narration is set in the present, Amanda’s story has a dual timeline–then and now.
Pippa and her husband Gabe live with their two kids in a cottage on a cliff. Infamously known as The Drop, it’s a place where people come to end their lives. Pippa is a lawyer, while Gabe is a stay-at-home dad. After having moved here, Gabe successfully helps seven people from jumping off. He is no less than a hero! But things change one evening. Pippa is in the kitchen when she sees a person close to the edge. As always, Gabe rushes out to help her. But unfortunately, he fails to stop the eighth person from jumping. And thus begins a series of closely interrelated events that prove disastrous for Pip and her family.
I love stories that have memorable characters. This book failed in this regard. The lead pair is not someone I would ever root for.
Gabe and Pippa’s family is dysfunctional to the core. I wanted to like Pippa. I really did, but despite all my efforts, I couldn’t! She is a well-educated woman, yet her behaviour, actions, and attitude do not reflect the same. Her lack of self-esteem was just ugh!
She loves Gabe and is blind to his fallacies, even forgiving and accepting his infidelity. I am certain that’s not the kind of action I would like to see in real life. There’s no reason for women to stay in such relationships. I feel authors should stop glorifying this ‘martyr’ attitude.
Gabe is probably the one character I disliked the most. Have nothing good to write about him! His mental illness could have been explored better.
Their kids are a saving grace. They certainly deserve more sensible parents, though. Not someone who would buy a house at the edge of a cliff and tell their kids to steer away from it!
I liked Pippa’s parents, sister, and her wife. They seem much more sensible than Pippa!
The chapters are brief, but the story became slow and repetitive in the middle. The revelations are too convenient. Pippa, as a lawyer, should have shown exhibited better morals.
There are gaping plot holes with not-so-great twists and an ending that caused my blood pressure to shoot up. I would have preferred a different ending. Something more befitting to the lead couple.
I read The Lie in Our Marriage by Anna-Lou Weatherley earlier this year (same genre) and I loved it much more than this.
The Soulmate is a lacklustre domestic drama.
Wordsopedia Rating 2.7/5
|Title: The Soulmate||Author: Sally Hepworth|
|Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton||Publication date: 06 Apr 2023|
|Genre: Fiction—Contemporary||Format: Kindle|
|ISBN: 9781529330991||No. of Pages: 384|
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About the author
Sally Hepworth is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. She is the author of seven books, most notably The Secrets of Midwives, a novel she published in 2015 and The Good Sister, which won the 2021 Adult crime novel Davitt Award.
Get in touch with the author on her website.