Author: Frances Vick
Published: February 2017, Bookouture
Format: ARC E-copy, 325 pages
Source: Netgalley via Bookouture
‘I’m not safe – you have to help me…’
Little Lorna Bell is from a notorious family on a rundown estate. Everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work. The schoolchildren call her a thief. But Lorna’s hair is matted, her shoes pinch her feet and school teacher Claire Penny can’t help herself; some kids just need a bit more support, a bit more love, than the rest.
As the bond between teacher and pupil grows stronger, Claire sees Lorna’s bruises, and digs to uncover the disturbing tale behind them. Heartbroken, Claire knows she has to act. She must make Lorna safe. Just when Claire thinks she has protected Lorna, a chance encounter brings enigmatic stranger Marianne Cairns into their lives. Marianne seems generous and kind but there is something about her story that doesn’t quite add up. Why does she feel so at home, and why is Lorna suddenly so unsettled?
Claire has risked everything to save Lorna. But what can save Claire from the shocking truth?
An utterly unputdownable and darkly compelling read that will have fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister, and Gone Girl absolutely hooked.
My thoughts: I've been on a kick lately reading dark, thrilling psychological thrillers and finding some amazing new-to-me authors along the way. So of course, when I came across this one, I just had to read it.
I will say, this one didn't quite grip me as much as I had hoped. I liked it, but I never quite connected with the characters and kept waiting for something more to happen - more what, I'm not quite sure, but I just felt it fell a little flat. Don't get me wrong - the story was interesting and the characters were diabolical at times. I never quite knew who I could trust and definitely had my suspicions about one character from the get-go.
As for the pacing of the book - the first half is a bit slow. The author does a good job setting the stage for what is to come, but perhaps this could have been condensed a bit? In the second half, the pace picks up as things start happening - and this really was my favorite part. This is where you really start questioning what is going on - questioning everyone's motivations and doubting people's motivations.
Overall, this book does bring up some good points to consider. It brings up nurture vs. nature, dysfunctional people, and emotional manipulation to name a few. Just how far is someone willing to go to help a child they feel is in need - a child that is not their own? When does a teacher or adult cross the line in being seen as being over-involved? This book tackles those questions in one way or another.
This was the first book I've read by Frances Vick and I am willing to give her another go - I liked the writing - I just felt the story itself wasn't quite what I was expecting it to be.