There are so many proverbs and cliches about revenge. And I haven’t found one that was wrong yet. As I read The Midnight Side, by Natasha Mostert, I often thought of the one about digging two graves. The irony of this is that the person who is seeking vengeance is already in their grave.
An early morning phone call wakes Isa de Witt out of a sound sleep in the first pages of The Midnight Side. Her cousin, Alette, tells Isa that she hopes Isa will do the favor she will ask when the times come. A few hours later, Isa receives word from a London solicitor that Alette died in a car crash two days prior. Isa travels from South Africa to London to attend to the tasks outlined in Alette’s unusual will. Alette has set up a series of three letters, each asking Isa to do something to destroy Alette’s ex-husband, Justin. Alette, via letters, tells Isa that her life has been hell since the divorce. She tells Isa that he is controlling and won’t leave her alone. Isa doesn’t feel good about it, but she calls financial reporters and investors to spill the beans on Justin’s pharmaceutical company.
When they were girls, after Isa went to live with Alette and her family in KwaZulu-Natal, the two developed a strong bond. They were able to share dreams. Alette always knew when Isa had a bad dream; she was Isa’s protector for years. Their shared past goes a long way to assuage Isa’s guilt about destroying Justin’s company. But then she meets Justin in person and he strikes a spark in her. Alette and Alette’s friend, Michael, try to warn her away to no avail.
Isa’s chapters alternate with sections narrated by a mysterious and frightening person who breaks into Alette’s house, where Isa is staying. He misses Alette terribly and grows to loathe Isa. He watches Isa while she sleeps and moves things around in the house.
As The Midnight Side progresses, it becomes clear that none of Isa’s initial impressions were correct…I can say no more.
I received a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review.