I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.
Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is one of my all-time favorite true crime books. I was beyond excited when I heard she was writing The Wicked Boy, and while it didn't quite live up to Mr. Whicher (I'm honestly not sure most could for me), it was a good, well-written, well-researched read.
The Wicked Boy tells the true tale of Robert Coombes, a young boy who murdered his mother, a crime he and his younger brother hid for days. Summerscale expertly explores not only the crime itself, and the purported motives behind it, but a wide range of other historical, social, and cultural themes: boyhood in the 1800s, the rise of penny dreadfuls and their possible influence on young minds, mental illness, asylums, war, and redemption.
Trust Summerscale as a writer and researcher. While this may not be her best work ever, it is very good, and keeps her among the best true crime writers of our time.
(This was the book that received the most votes for my participation in the Make Me Read Readathon, and it was a great pick! I'm planning to start The Bone Garden next, which got the second-most votes.)
I was first introduced to Moriarty's writing with Big Little Lies, and what impressed me most about her storytelling was her ability to lure you into thinking you knew exactly where things were heading, then hit you with a twist that you never saw coming but makes total sense looking back.
That is exactly what Moriarty does in The Husband's Secret. The secrets hit hard and stay with you, and have immense repercussions that reverberate in unexpected ways throughout the book. Especially powerful is the last chapter, which (without giving anything away) is an emotional gut punch that perfectly rounds out what has been a taut, emotional tale.