Thursday, October 7, 2021

Sleepless - Romy Hausmann

I enjoyed Romy Hausmann's first English novel, Dear Child (my review) and happily picked up her newly released novel Sleepless

The premise? From Flatiron Books:

"It's been years since Nadja Kulka was convicted of a cruel crime. After being released from prison, she's wanted nothing more than to live a normal life: nice flat, steady job, even a few friends. But when one of those friends, Laura von Hoven--free-spirited beauty and wife of Nadja's boss--kills her lover and begs Nadja for her help, Nadja can't seem to refuse.

The two women make for a remote house in the woods, the perfect place to bury a body. But their plan quickly falls apart and Nadja finds herself outplayed, a pawn in a bizarre game in which she is both the perfect victim and the perfect murderer..."

Sleepless opens with a letter - the sender or recipient are not named. The letters continue throughout the book offering up a look at the past of the writer. I always enjoy epistolary entries in a book.

The time frames of Sleepless goes back and forth from chapter to chapter. Nadja's entries always have her name, but the other timeframes are identified only by date. A myriad of players populate these chapters. 

I found it impossible to connect with the lead character Nadja. I felt like I should because of her past, but she makes impossibly foolish decisions over and over again. There's another character called Nelly who appears at the beginning of the book in a past timeframe. Her I liked. As the book progressed I wondered how her story and Nadja would connect by the end of the book. But that connection ended up being only marginal and I questioned her even being in the book. Same goes for her counterpart Paul. He too only has a tangential connection with the main plot. Without saying too much, the epilogue was an odd add-on.

I liked Hausmann's premise, but felt the execution was lacking for me. The jumping timelines, the twists that defied belief and the disjointed feeling overall. I really had higher hopes for Sleepless based on Dear Child. I'm sorry to say this one was a bit of a disappointment for me. See what others thought on Goodreads.


Mystica said...

The story sounds fantastic and very "readable" sorry it did not pan out.

Luanne said...

It might work better for you Mystica - I'd be curious to see what you think if you come across a copy.