Did I did read Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger due to its closeness in title to my blog title: Books on the 7:47. Why, yes. Yes I did. Not ashamed to say that was the very reason. But I consider this a very serendipitous event as Confessions on the 7:45 was just the sort of clever, tense psychological thriller I needed to read right now. A perfect few hours of escapism.
Opening sentence: She watched.
So what’s it all about?
Well, Selena Murphy works in PR, has a nice house in the New York suburbs, a husband and two adorable sons. At first glance, she has the perfect life. When her husband loses his job though, she gives up being a full-time mum and returns to her career. This means she needs to hire a nanny. Luckily, she has met a nice nanny, Geneva, in the local playground who happens to be looking for a new job. Geneva starts to work for her and things take a sinister turn…
Simultaneously, one night on the commute home, a stranger on the train (yes, the 7:45 train) strikes up a conversation with Selena and she finds herself becoming instantly confessional with her. In almost a way she can’t control.
Sometimes a stranger was the safest place in your life.
Then, out of the blue and despite not giving her her contact details, Selena gets a text from the woman on the train, Martha, and the plot thickens. Now, it’s always tricky to review this kind of thriller without giving away any spoilers, so I won’t, but trust me, the plot threads all weave together in wonderfully satisfying way and we do discover why the stranger on the train has taken such an interest in Selena…
Is it real just because you say it is?
I really enjoyed Confessions on the 745‘s theme of realism vs. facade; how much of anyone’s life is just a construct to hide their true feelings and how much is based on appealing to the masses:
Everyone putting on the ‘show of me’.
The novel also has a scathing voice for the essentially selfish nature of humanity – people are all out for themselves and people that understand that simply utilise this for their own gain:
People didn’t fall in love with other people. They fell in love with how other people made them feel about themselves.
Confessions on the 7:45 explores the darker side of human nature, but is not in itself a particularly dark read. It’s quick, pacy and I was totally engrossed in from page one. This is an especially good sign as I didn’t really know anything about it – in regards to the plot – having started it on a title-based whim! I think the lesson here is: sometimes it’s a good move to judge a book by its title. Or cover. I’ve been known to do that a few times too…