I've read Paula Daly's first two books - Keep Your Friends Close and Just What Kind of Mother Are You? - and devoured them both in a day. Her new book, The Mistake I Made, was also a one day hammock read!
Okay, so right off the bat, I wanted to know what the mistake was. Single mother Roz is struggling to make ends meet after losing her business, inheriting her ex husband's credit card debt, falling behind in the rent and still trying to give her young son what he needs. She works long hours as a physiotherapist, but never seems to get ahead. An eviction notice is the final straw - and her decision to accept an offer that will help her get out of debt is....a mistake. Remember that Robert Redford movie Indecent Proposal?
Daly's writing has a delightfully chatty, conversation tone to it, like you were listening to a friend tell you a slightly salacious tale. One you'd lean closer to hear....
I like scary movies, but I must admit to watching some parts from behind a pillow. Shouting out 'why would you go in the basement'!? I felt a bit like that with Roz. She definitely makes some questionable choices. While she can rationalize them, the reader just knows that bad is going to lead to worse.....
Daly helps that along with some excellent foreshadowing at the end of chapters, guaranteeing that you won't be able to put the book down.
"It would be this decision, within the list of bad decisions, that would send our lives on the roller-coaster trajectory that was to change everything."
Daly writes great psychological thrillers. Her characters are not always likable, but they're just trying to do the right thing. And sometimes to do the right thing, you have to do a few wrong things....There are a few plot points that ask the reader to suspend disbelief. And I encourage you to do so. The Mistake I Made is an entertaining, psychological suspense novel that you won't be able to put down.
Fun fact: I was quite fascinated by Roz's physiotherapy diagnoses, having visited one myself many times. And only on looking at the author's notes, discovered that Daly herself was a physio until turning her hand to writing.