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 

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

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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