Length: 404 pages
Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book
What they say: A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.
Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.
Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.
Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?
As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…
A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Before I Let You In will be captivated.
The review: Well, from one standout to the next, and boy was this a standout! Again, this will very likely figure in my ‘best of’ at the end of the year, as it was a book that stayed with me long after I’d moved on.
“The cry for help is ragged and desperate, the voice hitching. There is no one to hear it. A moon hangs so fat it oozes an aura into the sky that almost blots out the stars surrounding it. It looks down on land as flat as an open palm, and as unforgiving as a clenched fist, and gives no answer to the screams of fear and rage that float up to it… ‘Help me! Please! Help!’ There is no one to catch the words. No one, except a lone figure, turning, walking away towards lights int he far off distance.”
And so it starts. The book really begins with Beth, a young teen who’s obviously planned to do something that she hasn’t let her parents in on, as she leaves with her mother to sleep over at her friend’s house. This book thrusts you into every parent’s nightmare, made vivid by the last things, those little everyday occurances that just had to happen before she left-her dad barely said goodbye to her as he was watching tv, her mum doesn’t walk her to her friends door. This is something I always always think of, that the little things that you take for granted, in this case, that her father obviously didn’t think to say a proper goodbye, because little did he know it was going to be a night unlike any other he’d experienced, and then the if only her mother had seen her into her friend’s house.
It is the finer details of this book that keep you hooked, as they search for Beth, then find her, as you sit by her hospital bed, wondering can she hear anything, will she wake up, then as you stand on the doorstep of a house with her mother pleading for someone to tell you they can help you find the attacker or wonder if people you thought were so close to you can even be trusted. I have to admit I struggled with Melanie, the mother, feeling for her so much, but not really liking her as a person. This was especially hammered home as I loved her daughter, Beth, so much.
Some of the chapters were from the point of view of an unknown person, and I have to admit some of it made for slightly violent reading. These, coupled with the unfolding of Beth’s story were real game-changers for me, I was nervous and preparing myself to find out how this had happened to poor, innocent Beth, who was too young to know better. I knew what the end result was, of course, but still willed her to not go where she was headed. Meanwhile I was watching Mel and couldn’t figure out if her deductions were correct because, of course, she was unravelling. The pacing in this was up and down a bit, obviously we had the emotional side of Melanie and Jacob, which was honed in on a lot, to be fair, and some of the people who want a bang bang bang book might have a problem with it, but I was very emotionally invested, so it didn’t matter.
In terms of the whodunnit part- the fact that you had a village of people to look at, and worry about, was excellent, and I was shocked by the gang mentality that sprung up against the people they suspected. The part of the book that held me, though, was when what was to happen, happened, and we heard Beth’s thoughts. I have to say I have not cried like this over a book in some time. I sobbed my heart out for both her and her mum, and it sprang into my head a few times after I’d finished.
I’m split down the centre on the ending, it could have gone either way for me, as in the book could have finished earlier and I’d still have been satisfied, but then the ending that was given sent a bit of a chill so, in the end I was happy out(when the book continued on after the place I expected it to end there was a bit of a ‘what’s going on, why aren’t we finished here?’ but I was jumping the gun. All in all another excellent book that, again (and you’ll be hearing this a lot in the next while as I’ve been extremely lucky book-wise), I’d be very shocked if it didn’t end up in my end of year ‘best of’s.’ Most definitely recommended for exquisite beautiful, emotionally charged writing and settings, tension and chills. Definitely looking forward to the next by Ms. Copperthwaite, Her Last Secret, which, luckily enough, is on my Kindle right now (you can pre-order it here now). Thanks so much to Netgalley and of course the excellent Bookouture for the book in return for an honest review.