I received this book for free from the TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.What She Gave Away by Catharine Riggs
Series: Santa Barbara Suspense #1
Published by Thomas & Mercer on September 4, 2018
Genres: Adoption, Adult, Adultery, Contemporary, Murder, Psychological Thriller, Thriller
Source: TLC Book Tours
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Revenge is anything but sweet in this twisty thriller about two women with very different lives locked in the same deadly game.
Imagining the best way to destroy a person’s happiness is Crystal Love’s favorite game. Devious and unpolished, the plus-sized loan analyst couldn’t be more out of place in her new town of Santa Barbara, where the beautifully manicured women never age and the ocean views stretch farther than the million-dollar lawns. And yet her eye for the power dynamics at play in this tony community is dead accurate.
Kathi Wright, on the other hand, has made it her life’s work to fit in with the plastic people who surround her. But when her husband—a wealthy bank president—dies suddenly, she’s left with nothing. Then the FBI shows up, asking questions she can’t answer and freezing assets she once took for granted.
While Kathi struggles to outrun the mess caused by her husband’s mysterious death, Crystal seems focused on her game. But why? And who are her targets?
Spanning two years and told in Crystal’s and Kathi’s alternating voices, this tautly plotted novel reveals the power of choice and the price of revenge.
Moving right along with my streak of completely unlikable and unsympathetic characters headlining novels, I’ve moved on to the fantastically dark and devious debut What She Gave Away by Catharine Riggs. Featuring two timelines and two first person points of view with female protagonists that are polar opposites, I highly enjoyed the manipulations and resulting devastation. Catharine Riggs ultimately explores whether or not your past will catch up with you–and if will it be your undoing.
Kathi Wright has been a privileged wife controlled by her bank president husband since they were both in college. Living in the exclusive, expensive Montecito neighborhood, she thought that they had a perfect marriage–until her husband was ran over by a train. Officially deemed a suicide, she’d been living in a daze of wine and depression ever since. And then the FBI seizes her husband’s assets, and it turns out he’d been under investigation before he’d died for fraud. Kathi’s entire life is in shambles, with no money and so-called friends disappearing by the second. She has such a large and trusting heart that she’s easily manipulated. Add in the large quantities of booze that she’s ingesting, and she’s a walking disaster as she tries to survive in a lifestyle that’s foreign to her.
Crystal Love is a loan analyst at Kathi’s husband’s bank, and she has a lifetime of hurt and humiliation fueling her every move. Being on the plus size with no family or friends, she likes to interfere with those around her who slight her–and she hurts them back in the most devious and painful ways possible while she stays anonymous. When she sniffs out corruption at the highest levels of the bank, she can’t help but get involved to get her revenge, and she has no idea that it will go so far that she will walk right into danger herself.
I was finishing this book up during my son’s Taekwondo sparring class, and one of the instructors asked “So, what did she give away?” I was able to answer this 20-year-old’s question rather succinctly since I was finished, realizing what the act was that spawned the title. I really loved that I didn’t know this throughout the majority of the book. It made everything so much more suspenseful and intriguing.
I give What She Gave Away a 4.5 out of 5. I had a hard time putting this book down as I waited for Crystal’s past timeline to meet up with Kathi’s current timeline, and I knew that it was going to be explosive when they met. The diverse Santa Barbara settings were rich and vibrantly painted, from the tony neighborhood that Kathi occupied to the less-ritzy area that Crystal lived in. The pacing was great, with the alternating chapters/timelines hooking me and keeping me interesting to see where things were intersecting. The two main characters were not the most likable or relatable, but they were interesting in a hot mess sort of way. The writing flowed nicely, and I simply enjoyed the author’s style.
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About Catharine Riggs
Catharine Riggs lives and writes on California’s central coast. Before turning to writing fiction, Riggs worked as a business banker, an adjunct college instructor, and a nonprofit executive. What She Never Said is the second novel in her Santa Barbara Suspense series. The first, What She Gave Away, was published by Thomas & Mercer in September of 2018. Riggs is a member of the International Thriller Writers, The Authors Guild, Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
Connect with Catharine Riggs
Catharine Riggs’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for WHAT SHE GAVE AWAY:
Monday, March 18th: Booked J
Tuesday, March 19th: Instagram: @kmc_reads
Wednesday, March 20th: The Desert Bibliophile
Thursday, March 21st: Stranded in Chaos
Friday, March 22nd: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, March 25th: Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, March 25th: Instagram: @downtogetthefictionon
Tuesday, March 26th: Instagram: @Novelmombooks
Wednesday, March 27th: Wining Wife
Thursday, March 28th: Instagram: @fortheloveofbooks85
Friday, March 29th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Monday, April 1st: BoundbyWords
Tuesday, April 2nd: Instagram: @readingwithmere