Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Bones of You – Debbie Howells

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller

I have to admit when I first started this book I wasn’t too keen at all, but once I adjusted to the slow pace, I was hooked! All that despite some supernatural elements which would normally have me closing the book in disbelief.

One day Kate, mother to Grace, gets a phone call that Rosie Anderson has gone missing. Eighteen year old Rosie is nowhere near as socially confident as Grace and in the small Sussex town everyone hopes that she will return home unharmed.

Told from Kate’s and Rosie’s perspectives this book is a slow-burner but no less gripping for that. Kate has got to know Rosie as she was keen on Kate’s horses and she befriends her mother Jo through the search for Rosie.

Before Rosie’s disappearance Jo and Neale appeared to have an enviable life. A large house decorated to perfection with a garden to match and two beautiful daughter’s polite and well-behaved. This is a look at behind those closed doors with Rosie’s narrative giving away incidents that show her life was far from perfect. Neale is a renowned journalist while Jo seems a little more fragile, no wonder why when we hear the truth from Rosie.

Kate is keen to help Jo out but her husband Angus points out that she shouldn’t get too involved, particularly as Rosie’s younger sister, Della needs support while her mother is increasingly absent from her life. Kate is aware that Jo is not being as open with her as she could be, but is frightened to push her new friend to confront the reality. And then Kate starts receiving anonymous notes that seem to relate to Rosie – Who has posted them, and why?

This isn’t a crime fiction novel, the police are kept firmly in the background on an occasional advisory capacity, rather, it is a look at the structure of a family, one that at its heart, is nothing like the face that they present to the wider world. Dark and nasty things are afoot and it takes Rosie’s narrative to flush them out. At the same time we get to see behind Kate’s front door, is her marriage to Angus as strong and secure as she believes? How will Grace’s departure to university change her life, can she cope particularly with the tragedy hanging over the town. She finds solace in her horses and fills her days with her gardening job, meeting up with the boy who may, or may not, have been Rosie’s boyfriend at the nursery. The rumours are swirling round and so when old friend of Kate’s wants to write a piece about Rosie and her family, Kate is torn between revealing what she knows and wanting to preserve the family’s privacy.

Although the pacing is steady without the showy twists and turns that the more brash books of this genre display, the mystery anchors the book and there are a number of possible answers. By the last third of this book I had a pretty good idea of what had happened but I was enjoying the ride so much that even if I wasn’t waiting to find out if I was right, I’d still have been turning the pages as eagerly.

I’d like to thank Kensington Books for allowing me to read this expertly told tale in return for my review. The Bones of You is due to be published on 30 June 2015.


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

20 thoughts on “The Bones of You – Debbie Howells

  1. Oh, this sounds interesting, Cleo – more of a ‘slow burn’ family drama, really, than a crime novel. And it is interesting to contemplate what happens to the people left behind when someone goes missing. Glad you ended up being drawn into this.


  2. I’ve been watching this one and waiting for a few reviews. It sounds like a book I’d enjoy, but nice to know that it’s not a thrill-a-minute tale, just for expectations sake. My summer reading seems to be taking a more subtle approach to crime or even no crime at all. Shocking! Right?


    1. Not a fast-paced book but boy did it drag me into the narrative. I would have probably enjoyed the first part more if I’d been prepared but it really didn’t take long for me to adjust. Always good to have a change, the 20 books of summer challenge has meant that I’m having a (little) change of genres this summer too.


  3. I always appreciate a crime book that takes a different look–in this case examining the family of the girl who’s missing. I understand what you mean about pacing as it’s sometimes hard to switch from an adrenalin-driven read to something more leisurely.


    1. I think if I’d known that this was of a more sedate pace I would have been prepared, that said the good plotting and the peek behind the ‘perfect family’s closed doors’ won in the end.


  4. I just got this one, and I’m so excited to read it! I do love reading suspense stories that show us what life is like behind the facades. The perspectives sound intriguing….thanks for sharing!


  5. I always think that someone going missing must be even more harrowing for families than them being murdered. While you’ve always got the hope they might come back, you also have the horror of not knowing what might be happening to them. Sounds intriguing, but I am a bit tired of every second book resorting to the supernatural at the moment.


    1. It was a very interesting perspective to start the book from, it gave a great opening into what is actually an examination of a family, and a dysfunctional one at that. I don’t understand where all the supernatural stuff is coming from, it used to be very easy to avoid them! At least this one wasn’t too off the wall!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have this next in my queue!! I’ll be sure to hang on after reading this. For the first time in forever I walked away from a book this week because I just couldn’t get into it (not this one – but now I’ll be prepared!)


  7. That’s interesting how the pace is slow but mesmerizes a reader. I don’t know if I could take it but it’s almost like how it takes the police to solve a case through the trickling of information.


  8. Reblogged this on Snazzy Books and commented:
    Check out Cleopatra Loves Books’ review of The Bones Of You, which I’ll also be reviewing on my blog- it will go up in about a week’s time so look out for it!
    Great review, I think you’ll agree!


  9. I like the sound of this. I’ve been reading quite a lot recently told from different characters perspectives and I like how they can let things slowly unfold. Another for the list.


  10. I’ve got this one too, and initially wasn’t sure how much it was “me”, but your review has convinced me to give it a bash – another great write-up Cleo; thanks! I must say, though, I’m not overly enamoured with the supernatural being dragged into otherwise conventional books – it’s different if you choose to read one with such a storyline, which I sometimes take a notion to do, as you know what to expect.


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