Justine Merrison and her family (a husband and teenage daughter) move from their lives in London and settle down in a small town. Shortly after, her daughter begins to withdraw and strange, threatening phone calls begin. Who can be trusted? What is real?
This novel does not have the best reviews and I have to say that this baffles me. This was my first novel that I read by author, Sophie Hannah. The first thing that I must comment on is the writing style. This book reminded me so much of an old school Agatha Christie novel. It makes complete sense that Hannah would continue the Agatha Christie dynasty by penning the new Hercule Poirot novels.
The plot begins with Justine’s daughter, Ellen, starts writing a strange story about a realistic murder. The character names are old and Victorian; this sets off some alarm bells for Justine. How could her teenage daughter pen something so realistic and complex? Soon after, mysterious phone calls filled with accusations begin and Sophie Hannah begins to take us on quite the roller coaster ride.
Throughout the novel, I had so many questions and so many differing points of view. I thought for sure that Justine was an unreliable narrator. Then I thought for sure that her daughter would have some sort of mental illness. I thought at one point it would turn into some supernatural ghost story.
It is written with a chapter in the present tense story and then a break in between where we are able to read Ellen’s story. This becomes a huge part of the plot and is just as enjoyable as the main storyline.
This book did have a decline around the mid way point and I found myself losing interest. However, trust me, it was very brief. I found myself sucked back into the story quickly and the last 100 pages or so flew by!
I wasn’t impressed with how the story ended, but it was unexpected. That is rare for me; I am usually pretty good at guessing the endings and seeing where the story will go.
For me, the characters did not shock me, nor was I particularly invested in them but the plot was enough to keep the story interesting for me and I ended up really enjoying this novel!
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? YES! Read it.