The Night Visitor By Lucy Atkins
Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.
Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.
‘The Night Visitor’ is a gripping and sinister tale, that held me in its clutches over the last couple of nights as I delved into the twisted and complicated relationship of Olivia Sweethorn and Vivian Tester.
The story is written in a dual narrative seen from the perspective of both women in alternating chapters, travelling swiftly and neatly from past to present tense, bringing the reader up to speed about their status.
Olivia is a beloved historian who longs to share the compelling story of Annabel Burley, a renowned woman in British medicine and with the help of Vivian, a researcher the pair of them write a successful bestseller. But, just as the book hits the shelves, Olivia begins to realise that Vivian isn’t quite the person she was led to believe and regrets the woman’s involvement in the creation of the book.
The two women are polar opposites of each other, which makes their relationship and the drama surrounding them so intense and chilling. Olivia comes from a bustling family, mother of three children and married to fellow writer David, her life is a hive of activity whereas as Vivian has no one, other than her dog, Bertie for company. She leads a lonely life, an only child with no family and she sometimes finds it hard to deal with human relationships.
She’s a simple but guarded woman that I sometimes found myself sympathising with. Where, Olivia shines in all her glory, Vivian prefers to sit back and watch and what she observes certainly makes for haunting reading. As the story develops, secrets are revealed and tragic events occur that effect both women.
Suberbly researched, this book is cleverly and chillingly written. This intense story observes the somewhat twisted relationship between women, a story of obsession and jealously, ‘The Night Visitor’ is a menacing tale riddled with deceit and an intriguing plot line that made for creepily atmospheric reading.
You can buy The Night Visitor from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.