Book Review: Seared by Sandra Gustafsson

Goodreads Synopsis 

Helena is incarcerated. She has crossed the lines, but what has she done?
Once a week, Helena see a psychologist and talks with him, and the truth is presented piece by piece. For several years she had a relationship with a man who gave her the courage to live, despite her dark secrets, but she was always “the other woman” and finally Helena’s fragile world crashes.

We meet Helena in shards: talks with the psychologist interspersed with flashbacks to her childhood and Helena’s inner conversation with the love of her life.
The story is full of nerves and tension rises with the realization of who Helena really is.

Seared is a psychological thriller that insightful depicts a broken woman’s desperate attempts to create a life worth living.


I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

We start out with Helena’s version of her introduction to becoming an adult. From the beginning, it’s clear that she’s had a tough and troubled life. As I read I thought that maybe she isolated herself as a defence mechanism but I saw that this wasn’t the case. Helena is an extremely negative woman. She makes no room for positivity, for hope. Helena seems to purposely avoid people. She doesn’t seek out friends or make herself likeable or approachable. Her psychologist- whom she sees once a week for a reason that has yet to be revealed- comes to the conclusion that she expects disappointment. She waits for the person to disappoint her and once they do, she believes that her hate for them is now warranted.

“Something a person should be able to rely on. A consequence.”

In one of the stages in her life, we meet David. Helen is drawn to him immediately, I honestly, didn’t find him appealing. She mentions seeing into his soul and him seeing into hers. Even if that were the case, the character wasn’t likeable in my opinion. David sees her and that’s exactly it. Helena wants to be seen. Which begs the question, she’s made herself invisible all her life and yet she still desired to be seen. Her main goal was for no one to notice her and yet she fell for this man who saw her anyway. It might have been cute and endearing if David weren’t married already. That doesn’t stop them from having an affair anyway. I wouldn’t blame any one individually but I do believe both of them were at fault. Resistance must be hard when the temptation is so strong.

The two characters in this book who I despised more than David, were Helena’s parents. Her mom was cruel and hardly seemed to care about Helena at all. There’s no love from mother to child. In the beginning I thought that maybe Helena’s dad was okay, he’d try to help, but I was let down. We do end up finding out why Helen thinks the way she does, why she grew up with her odd belief of love and life.

Helena starts opening up to her psychologist. It takes some time, but she starts by admitting that she was in a relationship for years with a married man- David. She says that David knew her best yet she never told him things, leading me to think that he didn’t know her at all then. The things that made her the way she was. She felt she didn’t have to. She’s said a few times that she loved David and I began to wonder if she knew the meaning. Her idea of love seemed warped and wrong. Her ideas of family and friendship were warped and morbid.

I think Helena’s obsession drove her to madness and all the pent up anger and hatred over the years started coming out and that was what lead her to her downfall. I didn’t like any of the characters in the book. They weren’t relatable and quite frankly, it would have been terrifying if they were. I think that’s what made the story work, that made the ‘thriller’ part stick out. That it would be scary to relate to any of these characters.

“Things I was ignorant of have now revealed themselves, and I curse the world that kept me from seeing before this.”

I do not read psychological thriller’s often and I don’t think I’d read too many in the future. This book had it’s confusing moments and it messed with my head a bit, but I think that was the point. I found this book leaning more towards the psychological aspect than thriller.

The ending had my eyes widening and I felt my pulse quicken. I think Helena could have done better for herself if someone loved her before she became this broken and damaged character we meet at the beginning of the book.

Read: 14 August 2015
Rating: ✮✮1/2

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One thought on “Book Review: Seared by Sandra Gustafsson

  1. Pingback: Wrap Up: August 2015 (and September TBR) | Diminishing Thoughts

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