Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless façade, not everything is as it seems.
Callie, Tilda’s unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix’s domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix’s uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister’s arms.
Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies—or was he murdered?
White Bodies is a strange and quite unsettling read. I struggle to properly categorize this novel; Goodreads (my go-to for all bookish info) has various categories, probably added by readers, and they include: thriller; mystery; psychological thriller; mystery thriller; suspense…
I wouldn’t say it was really a mystery or thriller, because I found it was much more about the relationship between sisters Callie and Tilda and the other people in their lives, though there is an element of ‘what happened’ and ‘who is telling the truth’, which I loved. Some parts of the story are actually fairly slow in that not that much happens after the first quarter, but then the second half seems to ramp up the tension again… and that ending!
Jane Robins has managed to make my care about strange or unlikable characters; I don’t want to give too much away but even main character Callie has her quirks and potential flaws – which you’ll see from quite early on – but I really enjoyed reading about her. Her (and her twin sister Tilda) are the same age as me, so I felt almost more of a connection with Callie… Tilda, not so much! Callie’s such an intriguing character, and Tilda is too – in a completely different way! Jane Robins has crafted the characters so well which only added to my enjoyment of this strange, and at times creepy, plot. White Bodies is definitely as much of a character-driven story as a mystery.
There were some hard to read parts, strange occurrences, and even stranger behaviour which all combined to make a completely compelling read – all this without any ‘explicit’ parts, as such – hard to describe, you just need to read it!
I can see that White Bodies may divide opinion and I can kind of understand why, but I loved it and couldn’t put it down. It manages to be atmospheric and slightly surreal whilst at other times completely grounded in reality, with issues that face so many women every day, and makes for a riveting read.