“He loves you. He loves you not.”
Published in 2022, The Boyfriend by Michelle Frances follows fiercely independent Amy who has a high-powered career, a flat of her own and tight-knit friendships. But as she approaches her thirtieth birthday, she can’t help but rue the one thing she doesn’t have – a relationship. When Amy comes round following a serious fall, she doesn’t remember anything from the last six months. Not even the week skiing at her aunt’s luxurious chalet in Val D’Isere with her mum and best friends to celebrate her birthday. And she certainly doesn’t remember being swept off her feet by the handsome Dr Jack Stewart…
Jack is the full package – charming, caring and devoted to Amy. Everyone is smitten with him, but as the week goes on, Amy begins to find Jack’s presence chilling. Is her broken mind playing tricks? Or is the perfect boyfriend really too good to be true?
The Boyfriend begins with a fantastic opening. Amy wakes up in hospital with no memory of the last six months of her life. Enter, her boyfriend, who Amy has absolutely no memory of. Are Amy’s concerns justified? Or, as her family and friends believe, is her head injury affecting her judgment? I couldn’t wait to find out!
Unfortunately, while I loved the original take on the overused memory-loss thriller trope and the overall concept, I found pretty much everything else quite flat. Part of this, I think, is due to the audiobook, as I think I needed to read this story for myself to feel more engaged with the characters. Instead, I found their actions ridiculous and childish, and that there were far too many coincidences to make this work.
What did work well was that I was constantly trying to guess which character was deceiving me, so there was definitely a lot of suspense at the start which made me excited to see where the story would go. But because there are two stories being told at once, I thought that the link between them felt too obvious, so it did take away a lot of the surprise for me when it came to the final revelations. I was still waiting for something more, so it didn’t quite hit the mark for me.
The book is narrated by Christina Cole whose performance was great. However, I do think I would have enjoyed this book much more if I had read it physically. That’s no fault of Cole’s as I would definitely listen to more audiobooks by her, but I just think I needed to connect to this story and its characters personally to be more gripped by it.