Constance Mortenson, a successful writer and happy wife and mother, meets and befriends Vanessa Jones, who has moved into her London neighborhood. Connie and Ness become fast friends and nearly inseparable, until things go horribly wrong between them. Flash forward six years. A bruised, burned, and unrecognizable Connie, who has been diagnosed with dissociative amnesia, is awaiting trial for heinous crimes that she seemingly doesn’t know she’s committed. Emma Robinson, a forensic psychiatrist, must gain Connie’s trust to determine whether the amnesia is feigned or real.
Halfway through Natalie Daniels’ novel of grief, middle-age regret, betrayal and acid—specifically, acidic British wit—something happens that the reader can scarcely believe ... Connie isn’t the only troubled female in this novel ... Indeed, just about all the women and girls in Daniels’ tale have something at least a little wrong with them ... All the while, fathers, sons and husbands are either absent or just sort of stand around and go about their manly business. Is it the patriarchy that’s making these women sick and crazy and leaving their men so disconnected? ... Is this how it must be? Must women’s relationships with each other always end up toxic, tormented, even deadly? Maybe there is healing at the end, but clever, heart-shattering Too Close reminds you of the minefields you have to crawl through to get to it.
This is the kind of narrative that forces readers to get into the mind of the subject, engendering suspense and empathy ... Unfortunately, the patient’s recollections are often overlong, and the interplay between the two women lacks a degree of believability. Still, the skillfully generated suspense will keep fans of psychological thrillers engaged.
...[a] harrowing debut ... Each chapter, alternatively narrated by Connie or Emma, reveals each woman’s darkest secrets and perceived sins. Daniels presents an unflinching, visceral look into the nature of love, fidelity, and betrayal.