Source: Review copy
Publication: 7 July 2022 from Orion
My thanks to Orion for an advance copy for review.
How far would you go to save a perfect stranger?
Maggie is trapped. Dumped on her wedding day, rejected by her family and hounded by a man determined to make her suffer.
Charlotte is desperate. Double-crossed by her only friend and facing total ruin, she will go to any lengths to save what matters.
Two women, one night. A decision that will change everything.
The Woman on the Bridge requires some suspension of disbelief, but once you’ve accepted that, it is easy to slip into the story of toxic friendships, betrayals and the secrets that lie behind every façade that purports to be a happily family.
Charlotte Wilderwood is having a really, really rough day. It might be the worst day of her life. Everything she thought she knew about her friendship with her only real close friend Anne lies in tatters and she’s facing an uncertain future.
Only Maggie is having a worse day. She’s standing on a bridge wearing a tired and dirty wedding dress that has been trampled in the mud. She’s clearly planning to throw herself off the bridge and when Charlotte sees her, she risks her life to save Maggie from drowning.
A tearful Maggie tells Charlotte all about her wedding day turned nightmare day as a stalker ex stepped up to ruin her life using his lies to tarnish her forever in the eyes of her now ex-fiancée. Lonely and miserable, feeling she has nothing left to live for, Maggie is still grateful to Charlotte for rescuing her and allows Charlotte to take her home to Charlotte’s cottage and look after her.
Holly Seddon’s The Woman On The Bridge is a character driven psychological thriller that fairly rattles along uncovering lots of unsavoury secrets and providing a twisty, unpredictable journey all the way through. This is a cautionary tale that takes the reader back to Charlotte’s relationships with her family and provides us with a distinctly jaundiced view of how trusting can lead to having that trust thrown back right in your face.
If only, Seddon seems to be saying, if only you were not kind to strangers; if only you had looked twice at why your best friend turned on you; if only you had asked why your boyfriend shrugged you off- then maybe, just maybe, you wouldn’t be in this mess.
The milk of human kindness does not abound in this rather savage novel. There’s so much double dealing and dodgy behaviour that my head was spinning trying to work out exactly what was going on.
Though it can present a harsh portrait of what trusting too easily leads to, it is still a book in which you feel for both the main characters, for they are each suffering from a lack of love and care which has moulded them into becoming the characters they are today. And without the compassion that each has a chance to show, the book would indeed be bleak.
The novel spans a number of different timelines and it is not until you are able to put the whole picture together like a patchwork quilt that you can see what lies behind all the events in the book. It’s not a new technique but it is particularly effective here.
Verdict: An engaging tale of lies and betrayals with a sting in the tail, The Woman on the Bridge contains multiple surprises which Seddon lobs in like bombs right up until the end. Just when you think you know where you’re going, something disrupts your expectations. This makes this read entertaining, surprising and very twisty indeed.
Bookshop.org Waterstones Hive Stores
Holly Seddon is the international bestselling author of TRY NOT TO BREATHE, DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES, LOVE WILL TEAR US APART, THE HIT LIST and THE WOMAN ON THE BRIDGE. After growing up in the English countryside obsessed with music and books, Holly worked in London as a journalist and editor. She now lives in Kent with her family and writes full time. Alongside fellow author Gillian McAllister, Holly co-hosts the popular Honest Authors Podcast.