REVIEW: GOODNIGHT BEAUTIFUL, BY AIMEE MOLLOY

A handsome psychotherapist. His lonely wife. And in his home office ceiling, a vent …
You’d listen too, wouldn’t you? (You know you would.)Newlyweds Sam Statler and Annie Potter are head over heels, and excited to say good-bye to New York City and start a life together in Sam’s sleepy hometown upstate. Or, it turns out, a life where Annie spends most of her time alone while Sam, her therapist husband, works long hours in his downstairs office, tending to the egos of his (mostly female) clientele. Little does Sam know that through a vent in his ceiling, every word of his sessions can be heard from the room upstairs. The pharmacist’s wife, contemplating a divorce. The well-known painter whose boyfriend doesn’t satisfy her in bed. Who could resist listening? Everything is fine until the French girl in the green mini Cooper shows up, and Sam decides to go to work and not come home, throwing a wrench into Sam and Annie’s happily ever after.

Showcasing Molloy’s deft ability to subvert norms and culminating in the kind of stunning twist that is becoming her trademark, Goodnight Beautiful is a thrilling tale of domestic suspense that not only questions assumptions but defies expectations.

Alternating narrators take us through the pages of Goodnight Beautiful, and in the very beginning, I thought I had the identities of the narrators sorted. But I was wrong.

And then, when our protagonist Sam Statler disappears suddenly, I had my theories about that incident, too. I was wrong again.

Not wanting to introduce spoilers, I will admit that I was stunned about the identity of the first-person narrator, the landlord of the house where Sam has his office space. I did not learn this fact until more than halfway through the story.

What is going on? I was puzzled and intrigued…and the story gripped me at this point as I tried to guess what might happen next.

Twists and turns take us through some harrowing times for both Sam and Annie, and as we learn more about the darkest character, we can almost see the writing on the wall. But then, suddenly, things change and the characters we are rooting for have their happy ending. 5 stars.

***

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