Published by Penguin on 3 Feb 2022
Source: Purchased Book
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Three couples. Two bodies. One secret.
Dark Fell Barn is a “perfectly isolated” retreat, or so says its website when Jayne books a reservation for her friends. A quiet place, far removed from the rest of the world, is exactly what they need.
The women arrive for a girls’ night ahead of their husbands. There’s ex-Army Jayne, hardened and serious, but also damaged. Ruth, the driven doctor and new mother who is battling demons of her own. Young Emily, just wed and insecure, the newest addition of this tight-knit band. Missing this year is Edie, who was the glue holding them together until her husband died suddenly.
But what they hoped would be a relaxing break soon turns to horror. Upon arrival at Dark Fell Barn, the women find a devastating note claiming one of their husbands will be murdered. There are no phones, no cell service to check on their men. Friendships fracture as the situation spins wildly out of control. Betrayal can come in many forms.
This group has kept each other’s secrets for far too long.
The Long Weekend is a psychological thriller that likes to live in your head rent-free. The story follows three couples who look to escape the city constraints and rent a converted barn in Northumbria for a long weekend. It’s abundantly clear that the couples all have their problems. Ruth and Toby have recently welcomed their baby boy Toby, but it isn’t the picnic the couple imagined, Ruth is struggling with alcoholism and her marriage is plagued with suspicion and paranoia. Jayne and Mark are ex-forces, and they are hoping to bury trauma from their tours in the Middle East. Emily and Paul are newly married and basking in their newfound joy. She’s happy in the knowledge that he’s completely honest with her and hides nothing. Edie doesn’t join them after being recently widowed, does she hold a grudge and what lengths will she go to?
The Long Weekend is one giant sticky spiderweb. It’s so easy to get caught up in the twisty and complex storyline. Characters with complicated backstories and motivations, secrets at every turn. When the wives arrive at Dark Fell barn and the entire journey feels like a bad omen it is just compounded by the ominous parcel and letter that was left for them. Who on earth would threaten to murder one of their husbands?
The women drift between thinking it’s a hoax and taking it seriously. When they realise they can’t communicate with their husbands they become hysterical. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of the clock ticking – you can feel the edge of madness creeping in, sweat is beading on the women’s brow. Should they risk leaving the barn and making their way back to the main farmhouse to call for help? Too many ifs and a whole bucket load of risks.
Expect to be steamrolled by a massive twist. What a book! Heart palpitations, and a creeping sense of dread prowl into the corners of the reader’s vision. You know it’s going to go tits up at any moment, so you are just waiting for the drop. The atmosphere and the diligence had real physical reactions occurring within my body – goosebumps breaking out upon my arms, breathing rate accelerating, and pupils dilating. It was an exhilarating experience wanting to saviour the words and actions but needing to rush to the end to discover the whys and how’s.
The Long Weekend had me hungering for Gilly MacMillan’s exquisite prose. I had words on the tip of my tongue, I couldn’t articulate but I knew how it made me feel – excited and thankful to have fallen in love with the written word once again. We are given the details but still, I needed to sift through the confusion to find the truth and why someone would target these women. I loved every minute of it.
The Long Weekend is superb in its mastery of a toxic fog of lies and mistrust. A superb writer at the peak of her prowess with the written word.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gilly Macmillan is the internationally bestselling author of seven novels including WHAT SHE KNEW, THE PERFECT GIRL, ODD CHILD OUT, I KNOW YOU KNOW and THE NANNY, and TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH. THE LONG WEEKEND is coming in Spring 2022.
A former art historian and photographer, Gilly studied at Bristol University and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She lives in Bristol, UK, with her husband and three children.
Her first novel, WHAT SHE KNEW, was a Target pick, a LibraryReads pick, an Indie Next pick, an Edgar award nominee, and an International Thriller Writers award finalist. THE NANNY was a Spring 2020 Richard & Judy WHSmith Book Club pick and TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH was named one of the best thrillers of 2020 by the New York Times.
Gilly’s novels have appeared on the New York Times, Sunday Times, Globe & Mail and Der Spiegel bestseller lists and have been translated into over 20 languages. She’s been described as ‘one heck of a good writer’ (Wall Street Journal) and her novels have been praised as ‘nuanced, completely addictive’ (People), ‘riveting’ (Publishers Weekly), and ‘visceral, emotionally charged…heart-wrenchingly well told’ (The Daily Mail).