I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Doubleday on January 5th 2016
Genres: Adult, Crime
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes the spellbinding tale of a party gone horribly wrong: two men lie dead in a suburban living room; two women are on the run from police; and a marriage is ripping apart at the seams. \r\n\r\n When Richard Chapman offers to host his younger brother's bachelor party, he expects a certain amount of debauchery. He sends his wife, Kristin, and young daughter off to his mother-in-law's for the weekend, and he opens his Westchester home to his brother's friends and their hired entertainment. What he does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, a dangerously intimate moment in his guest bedroom, and two naked women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Richard's life rapidly spirals into a nightmare. The police throw him out of his home, now a crime scene; his investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave; and his wife finds herself unable to forgive him for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.\r\n
The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian will make you uncomfortable. It will make you angry, and will hopefully make you look at things from a different perspective and want to take action. It’s not what I would consider an enjoyable read, yet I couldn’t stop listening. It was riveting – it pulled me in from the very beginning and I absolutely had to know what was going to happen. The story is told from the alternating points of view of Richard, as he faces the fallout from the events of the bachelor party gone wrong, and Alexandra, as we learn exactly how this Armenian girl became a sex slave. This isn’t light reading – it doesn’t shy away from the reality of girls who are kidnapped, raped, and forced into sexual slavery. It doesn’t glamourize the trade or portray false happy endings. It also shows the stark reality of the aftermath on friendships, marriages, and even careers of those who get involved. A lot of the characters were deplorable. There are men who use the girls with no thought to the consequences and only care afterward about what the repercussions to their finances will be. I so badly wanted Alexandra to be able to free herself from a life that she never asked for. My heart also broke for Richard’s wife and daughter, who found themselves at the center of an unexpected scandal that rocked their world. I found myself wanting to like Richard, but I never could quite muster up much feeling for him. I enjoyed listening to both of the narrators of the audiobook. I particularly liked that there were two different narrators, and I thought the woman who read for Alexandra did a great job. This was the first book I have read by Chris Bohjalian, and while this isn’t typically the type of book that I read, I would definitely read more of his work. The subject matter was difficult to think about at times, but it’s important to step outside of our comfort zones and open our eyes to things that are going on in our world. This book may have been fiction, but the issue is very real.
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