Author: Paula Daly
Genre: Modern Fiction, Suspense
Type: Trade Paperback
Source: Random House Canada
Publisher: Double Day Canada
First Published: September 15, 2015
First Line: "Bodies were my business."
Book Description from GoodReads: The Mistake I Made is the latest page-turner from one of the England’s most captivating new thriller writers. In her provocative and riveting third novel, Paula Daly focuses her masterful eye for psychological suspense and family drama on an indecent proposal that has fatal repercussions.
Single mother Roz has a reached breaking-point. After the dissolution of her marriage, Roz’s business has gone under, debts are racking up, the rent is late (again), and she's struggling to provide for her nine-year-old son, who is starting to misbehave in school. Roz is in trouble. Real trouble.
When Roz returns home from work one day and finds an eviction notice, she knows that it’s time for action—she has two weeks to find a solution otherwise they will be kicked out of their home. Increasingly desperate, Roz doesn’t know where to turn. Then the perfect opportunity presents itself. At her sister’s fortieth birthday party, Roz meets Scott Elias—wealthy, powerful, and very married. But the impression Roz leaves on him is indelible. He tracks her down and makes Roz an offer to spend the night with him—for money. He wants no-strings-attached intimacy and can guarantee total discretion. Could it be as simple as it sounds? With that kind of cash, Roz could clear her debts and get her life back on track. But as the situation spirals out of her control, Roz is forced to do things she never thought herself capable of. Can she ever set things right again?
My Review: At the heart of the story is Roz, a single mother of nine year old, George who is more than struggling to make ends meet. She has creditors at her door and no leg to stand on. She's out of options until rich and charming Scott Elias enters her world and makes her an offer she really can't refuse.
This book definitely had a very 'Indecent Proposal' feel to it but with more heart and humour. Roz narrates the story of her downward financial spiral for the reader. She was a realistic character and you can't help but root for her as she shows the reader her life - the good, the bad and the downright nerve-wracking - as she tries everything she can think of to keep her and her son off the street.
As the reader you feel for Roz as she struggles to make ends meet. Some of her decisions (good and poor) helped to make her feel more like a realistic character but others you just shake your head at and wonder why she did that. For example, being a constant doormat for her ex-husband who is an utter flake and yet Roz and his mother pander to him. Gah!
That brings me to some of the secondary characters. While Roz was compelling some of the other characters came off too cliched - the uppity sister, the dead beat ex-husband, the smooth millionaire. But it was nine year old George who was a breath of fresh air. You really felt for him and he struggled to come to terms with the changes in his life at home and at school.
This was a good read but it wasn't as gripping as I was hoping and came off as far more of a contemporary fiction read than a suspenseful thriller. The suspenseful event in the book, while good, was too brief and the ensuing issues felt like they weren't dealt with in as much depth as I would expect.
Overall this was a quick, enjoyable read set in the beauty of England's Lake District and readers who enjoy contemporary fiction with some moral dilemmas should enjoy this book.
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Doubleday Canada and Random House Canada for providing me with a complimentary paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.