From the onset you knew this was going to be a bit twisted. I knew Marianne despite being a good mother had mental health issues. Not that Simon helped in any way by his innuendos and constantly putting her down in insidious ways. His idea that because he was a heart surgeon, and handsome to boot, played on the vulnerable ways of his wife who imagined (real or imaginary) mainly real, his flirtations with anyone around.
He put everything squarely on his wife from maintaining an immaculate house, to controlling two rambunctious boys, from being a very kind step mother to Sophie to also imagining way beyond what was actually happening when it did happen. Simon was the worst kind of husband for Marianne, ignoring her history of mental health issues stemming from the time she was a little girl when she discovered her mother's suicide and he preyed on her insecurities so much that she began to think he was all powerful, all right and that she must reign in her instinctive dislike of so many women. She could not stand up to him or for what she believed in and that spiralled into the mess they found themselves in.
Marianne would have been hard to live with no doubt. Her constant need to be reassured that she was the only one would be galling to someone like Simon who wanted a model wife and mother. He could not bear to be seen with failures and in his wife he saw many.
The end however was unexpected and came in the story after the actual end of the marriage. Totaqlly out of the blue.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.