How well do you really trust the people you surround yourself with, especially the person you’ve chosen as your partner? If you think about it, do we really know everyone and all their secrets? Because when you think about it, any partner’s background is usually a mystery since they only reveal what they want in the beginning. In her debut psychological thriller, The Quiet Girl, author S.F. Kosa – better known for her romance and urban fantasy books – explores the darker side of relationships.
Alex Zarabian is deeply in love with his new wife, Mina, a fairly well-known romance novelist. But after an explosive fight about their future and having kids, Mina storms out and heads to Provincetown, where she has a little cottage to get away from the city. Wanting to mend things, Alex heads to the cottage only to find an empty wine glass and her wedding ring lying on the table. This leads Alex down a twisted path, making him question whether he truly knows his wife of six months or not.
Falling in love is such a high. Loads of the love hormone oxytocin is released and you experience a euphoric feeling that surpasses all rational thought. When you’re riding that oxytocin high, too many people forget to ask about the partner’s background, their childhood, or how they handle stressful situations. We have to be honest here – we only show potential partners our ‘good’ sides because we don’t want to scare them off; we want to be accepted wholly. And that’s what Mina did to Alex – she only shows him the sides of herself she’s willing to show, not everything.
Kosa takes us on a thrilling trip, interspersing the story with a second one where that main character, Maggie, awakens from a dissociative fugue. Maggie seems familiar but is much younger than the missing Mina and pregnant. At this point, the story switching becomes quite confusing yet it opens up the possibility of what might have happened to Mina. When Alex looks into the source of the possible fugue, Wikipedia mentions it stems from a childhood trauma, likely sexual abuse.
Kosa’s writing is pretty strong, and her story has lots of twists even when it, inevitably, ends with predictable turns. The mystery is something similar to what you would find on Netflix with outcomes you can see from miles away. That’s not to say the book isn’t entertaining, and those eager for a light fall read should find this a perfect fit.
The Quiet Girl brings out our inner detective – questioning and unraveling the stories people build around themselves when we’re trying to find the truth. It pushes Alex to believe it’s possible his wife has been lying to him during their entire, albeit short, relationship. Trust is required when building a life with someone you’ve just met, but it’s a fragile piece of the puzzle. It needs love and nurturing in order to grow. So how much faith did Alex really have in his missing wife? Can you trust someone when they haven’t told you their whole story? It’s up to you to decide.