Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: When twin sisters Rose and Bel Enright enroll in The Odell School, a prestigious New Hampshire boarding school, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. But the sisters could not be more different. The school brings out a rivalry between them that few ever knew existed. And the school itself has a dark underbelly: of privileged kids running unchecked and uninhibited; of rituals and traditions that are more sinister than they seem; of wealth and entitlement that can only lead to disaster.
For Sarah Donovan, wife of an ambitious teacher who is determined to rise through the ranks, Odell seems like the best thing that could happen to their small family. But how well does she really know her husband? What lengths will he go to achieve his goals? And when one dark night ends in murder, who is guilty, who know the truth, and who has been in on it all along? SHE WAS THE QUIET ONE. Because murderers are almost never who you expect.
Have you ever finished a book and thought “I should have hated this!” but instead, reluctantly found yourself enjoying it immensely? That’s exactly how I felt during and after reading She Was the Quiet One.
There are plenty of books with the creepy New England boarding school setting, but I have a weakness for them, so that’s what first attracted me to this book. The chapters alternate between twin sisters Bel and Rose Enright, and Sarah Donovan, the wife of the charismatic and ambitious Heath Donovan, The Donovans are teachers, student advisors, and dorm heads of Moreland Hall, a dorm with a bad reputation and which has had to deal with a few scandals in its history. Interspersed are police interviews with various characters after the murder. In the beginning I was a little nervous because I didn’t like any of the characters except for Sarah. The twins are polar opposites of each other. Bel is the rebellious one who tends to always fall in with the wrong crowd. She’s a follower who will do anything in order to be accepted by the popular crowd. Rose is the quiet studious one but she comes across as judgemental and sanctimonious most of the time. Both girls annoyed me immensely in the beginning but I suspect that Michele Campbell intends that. As the story progresses, both sisters become a bit more empathetic. Sarah, I liked from the beginning and she is the character I connected with the most. When the book first starts it seems like this is the perfect couple with two adorable children, but it’s soon revealed that Heath, once a promising new novelist, was involved in a scandal himself, and these new positions at Odell Academy are a new beginning for the family. Sarah does everything to support her husband’s ambitions, but she’s not blind to his weaknesses either and I felt for her as she struggled.
The story itself is not one of those twisty thrillers that keep you guessing, although there were a couple of surprises that I didn’t see coming. But even with its predictability, the story was still fun with its drama, secrets, betrayal, and murder. While I figured out who the murderer was before the second half of the book, I still enjoyed watching how events unfolded. And the epilogue was a clever addition that brings everything to a satisfying close.
She Was the Quiet One, is a fast-paced read that’s perfect for the beach or bringing on vacation. While it’s an adult fiction novel, older teens will also enjoy it.