The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth

Soulmate by Sally Hepworth (is this a trend?) is made up of very short chapters. Another trend that Hepworth follows is the jump from the present time to the recent past in alternate chapters.  Both of these techniques are actually suited to this particular story: a story of suspense and literal cliff hangers.

Set near Melbourne, Australia, Pippa marries golden boy Gabe, and, while he is good looking, charming and a great father, their married life is full of drama. Because of Gabe’s work and personal issues, they relocate to a house on a cliff.  It’s beautiful, but also dangerous.

Hepworth is adept at sketching in the setting (a small seaside town full of young families) and the extended family, friends and co-workers of the couple.  All this, though, seems like a structure that is built to examine the marriage of Gabe and Pippa – why they stay together and the repeated blows that threaten the nuclear family.

I enjoyed it on both levels. It was a quick, propulsive read, but the examination of the interior lives of all involved, in particular Pippa, was meaty enough that it was worth my time. I felt like the ending was especially satisfying; it felt inevitable, yet also surprising.