Other People’s Lives by J.E. Rowney

Title: Other People’s Lives

Author: J.E. Rowney

Published on: 22 April 2022

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Psychological Thriller

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sophie Portman lost her husband seven months ago. She now feels like she’s losing her mind. Someone is watching her at all times. She tried alerting the cops every time she felt she was being watched. They initially took it seriously and then pooh-pooh-ed it as ‘the woman who cried wolf.’ Grief does a lot of things, including hallucinations. But, is Sophie really hallucinating? Or, is someone stalking her?

She seeks the help of a psychiatrist named Dr. Andrew Thacker. Three sessions through and Sophie is still not ready to talk about the issues that keep her alert at all times. Dr. Thacker also has issues of his own and feels himself infatuated with Sophie. But when Sophie starts to talk about her late husband, the doctor realizes nothing is quite as it seems.

Other People’s Lives by J.E. Rowney is a spine-chilling, mind-blowing psychological thriller. I had some trouble accepting the ending but let me first tell you what I liked about this book.

The story begins with Dr. Thacker waiting for his Tuesday patient – Sophie Portman. Sophie lost her husband seven months ago. He always traveled and his latest project was in the Arctic Circle. Sophie did not want him to leave though. When she married Jack, she thought the two of them would spend a lot of time together. But Jack had other plans.

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For Jack, work came first, wife second. Sophie ended up as a stay-at-home wife. Something she did not expect or want. Now Jack is gone. Forever. She writes letters to him, puts them in an envelope and leaves it at his bedside table. She knows he will never read it. He’s gone. For good.

Sophie feels someone’s watching her. At her home, at the supermarket, everywhere… Initially, she does not tell Dr. Thacker about the kind of married life she had. But, with each session, she starts to reveal a few things.

Meanwhile, Dr. Thacker has issues of his own. After his girlfriend of many years, Serena, left him for another man, he feels lonely. But when Sophie walked through that door, he was infatuated. He knows this relationship cannot happen. He secretly wishes Sophie take time to heal so that she can continue to see him. But something about her bothers him. He knows she’s not very forthcoming about her late husband. Did she have a hand in his death? Dr. Thacker must find out.

Twists after twists, this story kept me guessing for more. Then comes a shocker. Bang! It completely changes everything that was built from the beginning – the suspense, the tension and the mystery behind Jack’s death.

The storytelling is fantastic and the mystery keeps one guessing till the end. Having said that, I had a bit of trouble accepting the ending. Not that it was up to my liking or something. It’s just that I was left with more questions than answers. There has been quite a discussion about the ending on Goodreads – many did not get it (including me) and wanted some explanation (no, I did not).

As a reader, I do not expect someone to ‘explain’ me the ending – shouldn’t it be pretty obvious when one reads the story and realizes the clues were all there from the beginning and it was just a matter of ‘overlooking?’ Not in this case unless one is ready to read the story from the beginning once again or make notes of every single twist when they read it for the first time.

Overall, this was a really good story. If you love psychological thrillers with an unexpected and twisted ending, you might want to give Other People’s Lives by J.E. Rowney a try.


I received an ARC from Books Go Social and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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