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THE PERFECT LIFE by NUALA ELLWOOD, 315 pages, Penguin Books, 2021. Events take place in 2018, London, UK.
The novel has two parts and 41 chapters.
It’s a novel written in first person.
Vanessa was summoned for questioning at a police station. The police accused her of having murdered a famous elderly novelist, the owner of the house she visited. Has she killed him? If she did so what was the motive for murder?
The inspector is deeply convinced that she killed the novelist whose book is intended for children and was read by Vanessa after the death of her mother and made her dream a lot, even enchanted her. During this interrogation, she denied having committed the murder of which he accuses her. The image of the scene, the body of the victim lying at her feet, stubbornly overwhelmed her memory.
It should be noted that the reader might actually be led to think Vanessa would have killed the famous novelist given the way she answered the detective’s questions and from her inability to keep her emotions controlled. Her lawyer advised her not to answer.
This captures the reader’s attention and makes them keen on keeping on finding out and wondering what really happened in her dream home.
Vanessa is overwhelmed by recollections of her mother who died in a car crach. She was forlorn. It’s like she’s trying to take refuge in her happy recollections with her mother so as to face the unbearable reality.
Vanessa lost her mother when she was only ten-years old and she wouldn’t have outlived her mother’s death without her sister Georgie who supported and took care of her.
Vanessa faced great difficulties to get out of the crisis she was going through as a result of her relationship with Connor, whom she fell in love with and he quickly gained her trust. Then she has got obsessed with buying their own house.
Vanessa has become addicted to viewing houses after she had got appointments with many real estate agents. It is among the outstanding and peculiar characteristics of the protagonist of the novel.
Connor and Vanessa had arguments on many occasions and she first left him but she was unable to break up with her boyfriend then she succumbed for he had called her, apologized, and consequently had her come back in his little house.
Connor has grown a loathsome man. He has done something wrong. He abused his girlfriend while she was drunk and blacked out. She drank too much for she has to face her loneliness in a party Connor invited her to attend with him.
Vanessa has got pregnant but had an abortion. She told no one about it and kept it secret even to her sister Georgie. Connor knew what happened and blamed her for having an abortion.
It was getting harder and harder and more and more exhausting to put up with arguments and trying to get on welk with Connor. They started again but it didn’t mean that their relations have improved.
He convinced her that she had become too touchy and was suffering from depression. Connor suggests that she quit her job in order to take care of herself. In fact, he made her believe that her psychological state is worrying.
The relationship came apart when Vanessa surprised Connor cheating on her and went to her sister’s .
Vanessa was receiving messages from time to time of unknown origin. Someone knew of her whereabouts. It had become a source of great anxiety and fear.
Who is the man who harassed Vanessa by texting and calling her without revealing his identity? So who is he? Yet it is thanks to him that she will be delivered from this long-lasting nightmare.
But let the reader be reassured. Vanessa’s nightmare has come to an end, a happy ending. She was cleared. Additionally, she filed sexual assault charges against Connor. The verdict is not too severe but he received a prison sentence which he did not expect. Vanessa has since regained control over her social and professional life. She even bought the house she and her mother admired during her happy childhood.
To conclude, I think that in search of love, obsessed with acquiring the house of her dreams, attached to her childhood memories and nurtured by the love of her deceased mother, passionate about a novel and loved by her sister, Vanessa went through a traumatic period and had got no contingency plans for dealing with what lies ahead. However, fate ended up saving her from her nightmare.
Unfaithfulness, grief, relationships, sisterhood and care and love. Crime.
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