Claudia seems to have the perfect life.
She’s heavily pregnant with a much-wanted baby, she has a loving husband, and a beautiful home.
And then Zoe steps into her life. Zoe has come to help Claudia when her baby arrives.
But there’s something about Zoe that Claudia doesn’t like. Or trust.
And when she finds Zoe in her bedroom, Claudia’s anxiety turns to real fear…
Warning this is not a good book to read while you are pregnant! If you are pregnant buy it for when you are cradling your baby in your arms during those sleepless nights ahead.
This is a book starts with the description of a young girl sprinkling her tiny-tears doll with ‘magic dust’ to bring her to life, when the girl has no live baby in her arms by the time she is twelve, she throws her doll onto the fire in disgust.
This book is dominated by mothers; mothers-to-be and women who long-to-be-mothers, step-mothers and mothers of teenagers. Underlying each page is the feeling that there are untold truths and half-told lies. The quest for the truth left me with a sense of unease, a longing to know what was going on while fearing what the next page would reveal. In short a great psychological thriller that made my heart race, gasp out loud shortly followed by a sharp intake of breath.
Samantha Hayes has an eye for detail in her descriptions particularly Claudia’s home with the worn stair carpet and locked study door. Zoe’s interactions with Claudia and her best friend Pip have an authentic feel, with the truths and lies exchanged with reddening faces and quivering limbs. This is a fast moving story which had me in it’s grip from the first page to the very last revelation.
If all that has enticed you to buy this book it was published in the UK 20 June 2013 but I’ve been advised that it is not out in the US until April 2014.
This was a hard book to review as there was very little I could add to the blurb without potentially ruining the story for anyone hoping to read this themselves. A good indication of how quickly you are into the action. For a couple of quotes from this book please see my Teaser Tuesdays post.
Previous books by Samantha Hayes
January 1992. A baby girl is left alone for a moment. Long enough for a mother to dash into a shop. Long enough for a child to be taken.
Thirteen years later, solicitor Robert Knight’s stepdaughter wins a place at a prestigious London school for the gifted. The only puzzle is his wife Erin’s reaction. Why is she so reluctant to let Ruby go? Doesn’t she want what’s best for her? As Erin grows more evasive, Robert can’t help but feel she has something to hide, and when he stumbles on mysterious letters, he discovers she has been lying to him. Somewhere in his wife’s past lies a secret; a shocking secret that threatens to destroy everything… Goodreads
This book grabs you from the start, it is every mother’s worst nightmare to have their child abducted but everything is not as it seems. The story covers the moment when a mother realises her baby is missing and then moves forward 13 years.
This book covers a lot of sensationalist subjects but it in a realistic way. One of the best books I’ve read this year, would certainly recommend it. (I gave this 5 stars when I reviewed it on Amazon)
You may detect a bit of a theme in Samantha’s subject matter here and my preferred reading. For years when my children ask what I am reading and I tell them they ask ‘does it have dead or lost children in it?’
Mary Marshall would do anything for her daughter Julia. A devoted grandmother to Julia’s children, she’s always been the rock her family can rely on. Until now. Mary has a past Julia knows nothing about, and it’s come back to haunt her. Julia’s husband Murray French is walking a tightrope. A solicitor struggling with an alcohol problem, he’s about to lose his wife and his children to another man: someone successful, someone they deserve. Someone who’s everything he’s not. Can he ever get his family back? Just when Julia thinks life is starting to turn around, she stumbles upon the brutalised body of a girl she teaches. And as the terrible present starts to shed light on her mother’s past, Julia realises her family’s nightmare is only just beginning…
I enjoyed this book written from the viewpoint of a couple, Murray and Julia, on the verge of divorcing, and Mary Julia’s mother.
Mary is found mute by her daughter who visits for Christmas Day and the story revolves around what happened to cause this. Running parallel to this we learn about a local girl who Julia finds badly hurt nearby. The local GP David steps into help with Mary and Julia falls for him.
I’m not going to ruin the story, although a lot of it is fairly obvious I found myself eager to find out exactly what happened to all concerned. Some parts of the story are not convincing at all but still well worth a read.
I gave this one a 4* review on Amazon
Someone Else’s Son
What would you do if your teenage son was stabbed to death in the school playground? That’s a question chat-show host Carrie Kent can well imagine posing to any one of her studio guests. Her daily morning TV show deals with real life in all it’s grubby glory – from underage sex to benefit swindlers, cheating partners to DNA testing. It’s a million miles away from her perfect, polished existence…But when she gets a call to say that her beloved son Max has been murdered, Carrie and her ex-husband Brody will have to enter a world of poverty, fear and violence if they want to find out what really happened. And when the shocking truth is finally revealed, will they be able to live with it…? A tense and powerful emotional thriller that asks: Do we ever really know our children? Goodreads
Carrie Kent is mother to Max, but more importantly in her eyes she is a chat show host which is a cross between Jeremy Kyle and Crimewatch. One day Max dies and the book revolves not only why he died but what was his life like before he died, Carrie needs to know because she hadn’t a clue while he was alive. Carrie realises that she has become just like the guests on her show when she had always felt so superior to them, now their worlds have collided.
Neither of the two mothers in this book are characters I could remotely sympathise with and, unfortunately, they appeared very two dimensional tabloid creations. There are also so many threads that don’t seem to go anywhere, I was sure that there would be some big revelation around why Brody and Carrie divorced but this never really happens, there is one paragraph where the reader is left to assume that the marriage broke down for good but again there wasn’t enough depth.
The story itself is good, there are elements that are realistic however the ending let it down as it was so unbelievable. The portrayal of Max and Dayna is thought provoking, they both felt themselves to be different from everyone else and both suffered because they weren’t part of the crowd.
In this one like her previous books Samantha Hayes tells an emotional tale this one just wasn’t quite as convincing.
I gave this 3*’s in my Amazon Review
What do you do when there’s no way out and nowhere left to hide? A woman stands on a bridge, the water rushing below, the wind catching her skirt. In a few seconds she will jump, plunging more than 200 feet to the bottom. Who is she? And why is she desperate to take her own life? Nina Kennedy is afraid. A man is following her, threatening her family, toying with her sanity. What does he want? And how long will it be before he strikes? Eight-year-old Ava sits waiting for her daddy. But, like the others in the children’s home, she knows her father will never come. The home is a place of whispers and shadows. But no one dare tell the truth. Until now …Goodreads
- Teaser Tuesdays (September 10) (cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com)
- Holiday reading: The best books to pack this summer (walesonline.co.uk)