Just what kind of mother are you? – Paula Daly

 Your friends daughter goes missing.

She was your responsibility and you forgot her.

Just what kind of mother are you?

 

Lisa is the same as any other working mother, she’s stressed, she’s frazzled, she has a job to keep going as well as her three children and husband. Anyone can understand things slipping her mind occasionally, except what she’d forgotten was to pick up her friends child. The next morning she finds out that teenage Lucinda never went home, now she’s missing and it’s all her fault. As the days carry on and the search for Lucinda dwindles people start to point the finger.

I stayed up all night reading Just what kind of mother are you? I cannot put it down became literal, when it got to 3am and I couldn’t take in any of the words I decided to call it a night, only to wake up the next day and begin again. The best thing is that it really keeps you guessing right until the end and even if you take a sneak peak at the last page you have no idea. Daly has done an incredible job of keeping suspense throughout, the novel never gets boring and you may find yourself cancelling those Friday night plans to get to the bottom of what happens to Lucinda.

The multiple narratives that Daly uses work fantastically well. I’ve always been a fan of using more than one perspective to show the reader the bigger picture. You get to see the characters in the eyes of others as well as themselves which I think is really important in these types of novels, no one is innocent. This also relates well to the dynamics of the relationships between the characters and adds to the suspense. I particularly loved the unknown narrator which is used at time, frankly it’s chilling.

The characters were also spot on and incredibly realistic. You could actually imagine each of them, it’s as if you actually know them. Daly is also incredibly good at not making people simplistic, she understands real people. Lisa was an incredible character, she was frazzled, she blamed herself and she made mistakes which makes her seem normal to us. The only fault I could find was that at times her relationship with her husband seemed too passive at times, however, this did pick up over the novel.

I want to give this novel 5 stars *****, the characters and the plot are seamless. The pace is perfect and there are constant twists and turns. I dare anyone to read it and say they are bored because this is fantastic!

 

Review by Chloe Metzger 

Advertisements

The Second Life of Amy Archer – R.S Pateman *****

Image

Your daughter has been missing for 10 years, she’s standing at your door and hasn’t aged a day.

For the past 10 years Beth Archer has been struggling to cope with the disappearance of her daughter, Amy. Although slowly rebuilding her life Beth is reluctant to let go and makes annual visits to psychics, one of which tells her ‘the little girl…she’s coming soon’, although not as she expects. As a young woman, Jenny, stands at her door claiming that she knows Amy is alive and introduces her daughter Esme, who has a chilling resemblance to Amy and memories that no one else can understand, they claim she is Amy reincarnated.

The novel really is full of twists and turns, although the concept of reincarnation is not one that I had come across in a novel before I absolutely loved it and it was a daring move to place the use of psychics within a crime novel.  It’s hard to believe that this is Pateman’s debut novel. This novel is more than just a thriller it’s engaging, stimulating. As a reader I didn’t just get to know the characters I considered theories of reincarnation, afterlife as well as getting stuck into Beth’s mind as she confronts something that none of us could even imagine.

The character of Beth has received some criticism but I personally thought she was a great character. She reminds me of real life mothers who I have seen portrayed in the media, blames for their children’s deaths or not being careful enough. She is distraught and desperate for some or any connection with her daughter, as I believe any mother would. The pain radiates through the pages as she struggles to deal with the ten year anniversary of Amy’s death as well as Esme’s claims and intimate knowledge of their family life prior to the kidnapping.

Your thoughts mirror Beth’s, is any of this real? How could this ever work or is this all just a clever and devastating ruse to ruin her life. I have to admit that at times I found Beth’s character to be selfish and incredibly fragile but then I considered how anyone would react when faced with this situation. Even if you have to put the book down (which I wouldn’t recommend) it’s simple to fall seamlessly back into and read continuously for hours.

I want to give this book 5 stars *****! I can’t even begin to describe how much this novel excited me, it’s so refreshing to find a novel that is not only full of original ideas but also taps into a complex set of characters. The only other thing is that I would have liked to have known a bit more about Libby, but this may have hindered the plot, so I think it’s for the best. I was also fortunate to talk to the author (who is also lovely!) and discuss the ending, which has received mixed opinions but in my opinion you’ll absolutely love it!

 

Review by Chloe Metzger

Close My Eyes – Sophie McKenzie

Image

 

Your daughter has been dead for seven years, 

a stranger claims she’s alive. 

As you dare to believe them things start not quite adding up. 

Addicted yet? You should be. I almost put this book back when choosing between three books in my local Tesco on an impulse buy. Although I read this after The Light Between Oceans, I am so glad I bought it! 

Meet Gen Loxley, on the outside a woman who could not wish for anything more in life. A loving husband, financial stability and a writing career of her own. Behind closed doors however Gen has a deep hole in her heart in the form of her stillborn daughter, Beth. Gen has never really recovered and is currently ‘existing’ rather than living.  When a stranger arrives at her door and tells her that Beth was born alive she is shocked to her very core. I must use this first point in the review to applaud Ms McKenzie the character of Gen is so real. McKenzie has not hidden behind the stereotypical grief stricken mother, she has made Gen someone you could actually know. We know that she has suffered the loss of a child which many of us could never imagine, however after this gradually in the 7 years after Beth’s death she lives. Although Gen’s pain radiates through the novel, her anguish at all the failed IVF attempts since she does not appear to mope, although she has never truly bounced back to how she was before. The best thing is that as a reader you question the accusations with Gen, you create your own arguments. I became absorbed in this novel reading it in just over 24 hours and it was constantly on my mind. You know to some extent, just as Gen does, that the whole thing is completely crazy but I think that it is a true testament to Ms McKenzie’s talent that you don’t really think of and hole you could pick in it until well after you have finished reading. 

I will admit that later in the book I grew impatient. After a key point to the plot I was hungry for more, meaning I skimmed around two chapters before finding something I could sink my teeth into again. I don’t believe this is a fault of Ms McKenzie, instead I find that it is me who insufferably impatient with a good plot. That said without the whole content of the two chapters I could still follow the plot almost perfectly. I was also pleasantly surprised that you are allowed to have your own opinions of the characters. One too many times I have been confronted with authors who try and sway your view a little too much  but Close My Eyes lets you see all angles. Is Gen crazy? Is Art involved or just a caring husband? Endless questions that kept me hooked. 

As for the ending McKenzie has managed to produce one of those rare moments where a reader will actually gasp. I was glad I was alone when reading as I did gasp out loud and I believe I actually said ‘no!’ and as for the very end? I had shivers down my spine and utter disbelief the only thing crossing my mind? This woman is a total genius for coming up with the plot. There are other parts of this novel I could rave about but I would give it away for you! 

I give this 5 stars ***** (something I don’t normally do), this novel is incredible and I would recommend it to anyone. Ok so the plot may seem a bit far fetched when you read the blurb but trust me and try it because you become so absorbed that anything could be possible. 

Published by Simon and Schuster. 

 

Review by Chloe Metzger 

The Midwifes Confession – Diane Chamberlain

Diane chamberlain is often compared to Jodi Picoult (one of my all time favourite authors), even the caption on the front of the book says ‘as good as Jodi Picoult or your money back’, that right there was a set up for disaster. If as soon as you look at a front cover you see it being compared to another author you are going to judge, wanting too or not, you will after all we are only human.

As we are told in the blurb, after midwife Noelle’s devastating suicide, her two best friends Emerson and Tara try to find out the truth after this shocking suicide (which coincidently does not do the character justice at all), and instead find secrets that will change there lives forever.

Now I have to say I was not overly impressed at all with this book, after a great start (for the first few chapters I was totally hooked), my interest seemed to just fizzle out (meaning I did have to have a sneaky peak at the end because I was so bored).  I am not saying all of Chamberlain’s novels have the same effect, this is the second I have read, The shadow wife was absolutely fantastic and I could not put it down as the story linked together seamlessly, something that The midwives confession is seriously lacking. Although I did enjoy the novel and the storyline could have worked perfectly, Chamberlain seems to have tried to over complicate certain parts of then novel (especially when regarding relationships and the past of the three women) or has simply gives us a tasted and left it hanging it is just so frustrating to be given a good piece of information (which annoyingly seems to happen to information we learn about Noelle all the time) and then that’s it it barely links into the story or has a weak relation.

Without giving too much away the ‘terrible secret’ (which I’m sorry but most people could work out most of the plot after a few seconds , so unlike Picoult who I am generally surprised by especially in Nineteen Minutes total shock!), is fairly obvious if you link the title and a few chapters together and the relevance of certain characters, and is also was beefed out by relationships that were’nt really that important , you could argue that it relates to real life but to me it was just boring I wanted the real story. After the blurb being about this midwife, Noelle, you would expect a lot more of the book to be focused on her and her life (maybe even letting the reader into this that the main characters would not find out, it just adds more life and knowledge to a readers perception), but it is surrounded by the snippets of information and then all the great information we find out about her life is just abandoned with a slightly unlikely scenario. Yes the ‘terrible secret’ could happen in real life, it has happened before, but the resolution seems to just be for an ending that just doesnt really happen and when the book is split into 5 narrators with loads of different problems it sort of leaves parts lacking and adds in a lot of unneeded page space that could have given us helpful information.

I’m trying to find a way of describing the rest of the book but unfortunately it would give away spoilers and I really want people to make their own judgements on how they feel about a novel and author. So I’m afraid  I’m going to have to leave it too you folks!

I’m going to give it 3 stars because it’s not a bad book at all just feels a bit squashed in. As usual let me know what you think and please recommend me to people you know 🙂

Thank you!

The Midwife’s Confession – Diane Chamberlain  published by Harlequin UK £7.99, ebook also available. 

Review by Chloe Metzger