Monday, October 16, 2023

Clemence Michallon: The Quiet Tenant

In her debut novel, Clemence Micahllon shows the length a woman will go to, to survive:

Aiden Thomas is seen as a hard-working family man, who is now having to raise his daughter, Cecilia, alone, after his wife passed away from cancer. But Aiden Thomas is not who he seems, every night he visits a woman in the shed, a woman who cannot quite remember what her life was like before, all she knows is that she is alive and if she wants to stay that way she needs to follow the rules. But the rules are about to change, as Aiden's life has changed, her life is about to as well, maybe one that will lead to the opportunity to escape if she can be brave enough, but 5 years of brainwashing, punishment, hurt and fear may have taken that ability away from her, all she really wants to do is make sure that she survives.

Michallon is another debut author that I had the pleasure of reading this year and I think that the first thing that people need to know before reading this book, that is more of a domestic suspense read that a regular serial killer thriller book as most of the main characters are living in a house together, this includes Rachel, the Quiet Tenant. 

I think what this book has in spades is a feeling of suspense, how long will Aiden put up with Rachel, will Rachel find a way out, will Cecilia figure something out or question this women Rachel, and will Emily be able to trust her gut on things. In the same since, since the suspense within the book is drawn out, it can feel slow at times, and not having the plot move forward as fast as one may want it to. It almost become that the chapters featuring Rachel were very the same each time, and i do not know if this was deliberate or not to put emphasis on the life that Rachel has been living in for so long.

You have to admire Rachel for most of the story, even though so of the choices that she makes are frustrating you are somewhat able to understand why she makes them. She has such a high survival instinct that it is insane but at the same time she wants to help Cecilia. Rachel is the one that has survived Aiden and I do not think that this aspect should be overlooked. 

I don’t think that the book needed a POV from Cecilia as I found she didn’t really add much to the story, mainly just talk about Rachel being weird and loving her Dad even though he is strange at times. I think that Emily's POV was interesting, and I do wonder if there was a different twist here or there what would have become of her, I think we all know where Aiden was heading with her but you just don’t know for sure.

I like how there were chapters, even though they were short, where the reader learns how many people that he has killed and how he picked them, lured them and eventually killed them. Some of these "chapters" are longer than other, but they are no more than a page.

This was a good read and overall, I enjoyed the story, plot and how it was presented. I will admit that the book felt slow at times and did not seem to more along, as fast as i would like. For a debut novel I am impressed and i look forward to seeing what Michallon releases next.


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