Strung between two teenagers, an unemployed husband, and a tenuous career, Penelope Cox barely has her life together when the past comes knocking at her door. Willa Blaine, her old roommate, needs her help: refuge from an abusive husband. “Two weeks tops,” she says―but it’s not the imposition that bothers Penelope; it’s the memories Willa brings with her.
Twenty years earlier, Penelope, Willa, and three friends lived together in a converted church. Insular and closed off from the rest of the world, the five roommates formed their own dysfunctional family, celebrating the pinnacle of their lives; they called themselves “the Spires.” But nights of wild parties gave way to a darker undercurrent: jealousy, resentment, unrequited love, and obsession. Tensions boiled over during a night of debauchery that ended in a deadly fire, leaving the Spires scattered and forever changed.
Now Willa is the perfect houseguest: accommodating, helpful, bringing a newfound sense of excitement to the Cox household. Yet Penelope can’t help but feel the cracks in her life widen as she begins to question Willa’s motives. Everyone has secrets, it seems―and the fire may have brought down the Spires, but not everything burned was forgotten.
***Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.
solid, good read:
The Spires is a surprisingly good psychological thriller. I think I fell for every false lead, which meant I didn’t see any of the twists coming and was totally blown away.
The narrative is split between the present day and flashbacks of Penelope’s time living with a group of friends just after graduating from college. The present storyline is a thrilling spiral into paranoia and delusion that is just delicious. The flashbacks are nostalgic windows into life as a young adult trying to find oneself – they are all fresh out into the real world but still acting as they did in college, partying and avoiding getting real jobs. While this group has a lot of personal (and interpersonal) problems, the close-knit family vibe is enviable at times. They clearly care about each other and the group as a whole. Unfortunately, they also have some substance abuse issues, which could twist ‘caring’ into ‘territorial’. As the present storyline becomes crazier, the intensity of the past builds, until suddenly, everything is falling apart, and the line between reality and fiction becomes so blurry it’s indistinguishable.
The entire story was well-balanced between present and past; it felt exciting, unique, and unpredictable. I really didn’t see the last twist coming – Moretti nudged the story along so gently that I didn’t question any of the facts in front of me. There were a few aspects that were a little too crazy to be believed, which is why I’ve rated The Spires four stars instead of five. It certainly didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story, just the believability.