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Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite
Manhattan couples therapist Grace Reinhart Sachs, as drawn with vivid realism by Jean Hanff Korelitz in You Should Have Known, is a successful, empowered woman who has made all the right choices -- so much so that she is about to launch a potential best seller (the ‘You Should Have Known’ of the title) telling women everywhere how they, too, can make the right choices to find a perfect husband and a completely fulfilling life. It is a flawless plan -- until the mother of one her son’s fellow students at his exclusive private school is murdered and Grace’s ‘Prince Charming’ pediatric oncologist husband is a suspect in the murder. In the roller-coaster ride that follows her husband’s implication and subsequent disappearance, Grace’s life begins to unravel in a chaotic, horrifying downward spiral that pushes her toward public scandal and the brink of sanity. As she struggles to comprehend how her seemingly perfect life could disintegrate so quickly, she learns some startling truths about herself and her husband’s web of lies, beginning with his shadowed past.
Jean Hanff Korelitz portrays her heroine, Grace, with an organic precision seldom found in popular fiction. Grace’s internal monologue is so deftly constructed that the events of the story seem to place the reader inside Grace’s head as they are unfolding. The result is a deeply personal view of a strange and compelling world. You Should Have Known offers far more than an engaging narrative -- it is a psychological thriller from the inside out. Grace’s various reversals of fortune and her descent into tortured incredulity will quite literally leave the reader breathless.
Christine Delaine’s multi-layered vocal performance is an excellent match for Jean Hanff Korelitz’s detailed narrative. Delaine is particularly adroit when voicing male characters. Although Grace and the various female characters are all distinct and performed with crystalline acuity, the characters of Grace’s son and her disappearing husband’s misunderstood father are truly superlative and so real that they seem to be in the room with the listener.
You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz is a finely-crafted tale of intrigue and deception sure to enthrall readers of any age or gender. Cinematic and finely shaded, You Should Have Known provides a thrilling escape from the ordinary for those who love a well-written tale of suspense.