Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.
Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.
Sue will do anything to protect her daughter. But what if she is the reason that Charlotte is in danger?
I’d seen lots of amazing praise for this debut novel on Twitter so was really pleased to be approved for a copy by Harper Collins / Avon via Netgalley.
I thought the story started off well and at a good pace, we learn of what happened to Charlotte (the accident! ahem) and the rest of the book is really the build up to discover what is Charlotte’s secret?
It’s a dual time aspect novel told in the present day and some twenty odd years earlier with Sue’s diary entries. I do like novels like this as I think it gives a real insight into the characters and this worked for Sue. With the diary entries we get to experience the emotional and physical abuse she suffered and goes someway to make us understand why she is like she is in the present but that did leave me thinking she’s unstable; half the time I was thinking is she being paranoid and over-reacting or is this really happening to her? you can see why the other characters think she’s a nutjob. I actually preferred the diary entry plotline, these parts actually provoked real emotion.
However, some of the situations Sue finds herself in seemed a little unlikely to me (the nightclub for one) and I didn’t find the characters really that likeable: Sue’s husband Brian is a creep, obviously James is a manipulative wicked bully and the things we learn about Charlotte don’t make her likeable either.
This was billed as a gripping psychological thriller but I didn’t get that vibe from it, I didn’t find myself wanting to race ahead. It just plodded along quite nicely although the last third of the book moved at a quicker pace as it all culminates in what I think should have been a dramatic and climatic ending but was actually more farcical. And I thought that we were left hanging with too many unanswered questions.
Again one that was too over hyped on social media for me but still a good read nonetheless. Unfortunately not in the same league as Before I Go To Sleep and Gone Girl.
Connect with the author CL Taylor