The perfect girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

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Wildfire, 2018. ISBN 9781472244260
(Age: Adult) Highly recommended. The story opens with a death, the accidental drowning death of a four year old child when his 10 year old sister's attention is distracted... or was it accidental? As we are led inside the mind of Elizabeth / Lily / Juliette we come to understand that this is a cold and dangerous person, and maybe it even started when she was a child. She becomes a person completely obsessed with the man she sees as her only love, the man who is supposed to marry her and make everything perfect. Juliette has a plan, and she is going to stick to it, and the ultimate goal is Nate, and the perfect wedding, the perfect marriage, the perfect family. She will stop at nothing, she sneaks into people's homes, she takes photographs, she steals things, she leaves traces behind, she follows and stalks... She is another Amy from 'Gone Girl' or Alex from 'Fatal Attraction' - she is ruthless in her obsession, and she will get what she wants. At the same time she is hurt, a neglected child, a bullied victim, a rejected girlfriend. Hamilton tries to round out her character and explain how she came to be what she is.
There is a kind of fascination in reading about a character that knows no boundaries, who breaks rules, and goes further than anybody else ever would - someone who is so delusional that she can't see how that by her very actions, she is never going to attain the trust of the friends she wants. At the same time we have insight into her mind, and we understand her thoughts, her justifications, her desire for revenge. That makes her a bit more human, and a bit less of a stereotype.
That sense of the dangerous person, the brooding feeling that things are going to get worse and horrible things are going to happen, doesn't let up, and we know that there is eventually going to be another victim. Although the pace falters at times, The perfect girlfriend is a great thriller that holds you to the end.
Helen Eddy