Blog Tour: Island in the Sun by Janice Horton

When successful jewellery designer Isla Ashton unexpectedly inherits her eccentric Aunt Kate’s Caribbean island, she is obligated to return to the place she associates with heartache and regret. To where she grew up and fell in love with her childhood friend, Leo Fernandez. Fully intent on selling the island and finally putting the past behind her, Isla is soon compelled to put together the pieces of what really happened on a fateful night ten-years before. She begins to believe that in going to prison, Leo hadn’t only been shielding her from the same fate. She also starts to suspect that her late Aunt hadn’t been entirely honest in sending her away under the guise of recriminations. Who had they both been protecting and why?

What I Thought:

As I sit here on a very dreary day writing this review, it’s nice to be looking at a book with a bit of sunshine in it! Island in the Sun has a really welcoming, sun-filled location which is ripe for intrigue, romance and forgiveness and the story definitely delivers all of those and more.

I find these days I am reading more and more romantic fiction, as a bit of escapism and basically something where you be fairly sure there’ll be a happy ending, but I also found that Island in the Sun was quite complex in its use of the now-deceased Aunt Kate’s diary entries interwoven with Isla’s return to Pearl Island, and her own flashbacks to the days before she had to leave. Each of those elements cleverly built the story towards the final, dramatic moments and there was some echoing of the inital chapters at the end.

The real strength in this book though, is the author’s vivid description of the setting and I can only assume that this is enhanced by her own travels around the Caribbean (Janice is otherwise known as The Backpacking Housewife) as you really get a sense of the smells, sounds and cloying humidity as you you read – all of which somewhat made me wish that Pearl Island was real!

Aunt Kate was a really intriguing character and getting inside her head with her diary entries was a great way to let her speak from beyond the grave and also allow Isla to learn more about her Aunt and how she became the way she was.

The romantic elements of the story are built up very well, with lots of unexpected turns and Isla and Leo are a nice pair of people separated by circumstance. But will they work through it and find each other again?? Haha! Read and find out…

Island in the Sun is independently published.

To find out more about this book, and about Janice’s travels, you can check out her blog, The Backpacking Housewife, or you can connect with her on Twitter.

This review is part of the blog tour of Island in the Sun – why not check out some of the other brilliant blogs taking part below:

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Book Review: The Mum Who Got Her Life Back by Fiona Gibson

When her 18-year-old twins leave for university, single mum Nadia’s life changes in ways she never expected: her Glasgow flat feels suddenly huge, laundry doesn’t take up half her week, and she no longer has to buy ‘the Big Milk’. After almost two decades of putting everyone else first, Nadia is finally taking care of herself. And with a budding romance with new boyfriend Jack, She’s never felt more alive.

That is, until her son Alfie drops out of university, and Nadia finds her empty nest is empty no more. With a heartbroken teenager to contend with, Nadia has to ask herself: is it ever possible for a mother to get her own life back? And can Jack and Nadia’s relationship survive having a sulky teenager around?

What I Thought:

I was lucky enough to take part in a blog tour for The Mum Who Got Her Life Back, in which I shared an extract of the book. Although it does give you a flavour of the book, you definitely need to read it so see what a funny and full-of-heart book it is.

Fiona Gibson writes beautifully – I assume from experience – of a woman whose life of living with and looking after her children ends with a jolt, and then starts again with an even bigger jolt, almost shattering the tentative life the she has begun to build.

As a mum of youngish children, I can see this stage coming, but thankfully not for a while, as this book throws up a lot of questions about how we adapt our lives around others and how, as a mother, you’re suddenly not having to plan your daily life around that of your kids.

The beauty of the book and of Nadia is that she is so normal. Ok, she’s a talented illustrator and her ex-husband happens to be a famous film director, but she is so relatable that it’s not hard to wish the best for her and want to have a stern word with many of the people in her life.

Obviously, this wouldn’t be romantic fiction without Nadia and new partner Jack having ups, downs and various trials, but it’s not a spoiler to say it all comes good – which is exactly what you want on a crappy news day!

The Mum Who Got Her Life Back is published by Avon.

To find out more about Fiona Gibson and her books, why not check out her website? Alternatively, you can connect with her on Twitter.

Please note: I was sent this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

They say I must be put to death for what happened to Madame, and they want me to confess. But how can I confess what I don’t believe I’ve done?

1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning – slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.

But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton: could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?

What I Thought:

As someone who has dabbled in writing, thanks to NaNoWriMo, it’s always particularly galling when a debut novel comes to your attention, and you find that it is superbly written and generally excellent. And so it is with The Confessions of Frannie Langton.

Sara Collins has produced a highly researched and beautifully evocative novel of the early 19th Century, with all the good and bad things that that implies. While the slave trade has been stopped, Frannie herself is still a slave in Jamaica as the British continue to argue about whether the practice should be outlawed altogether – but how terrible to remove a man’s property without compensating him! Don’t you just love how people justify bad things to each other?

This book, however, adds extra wrinkles to Frannie’s character in that she is taught to read by her mistress and then instructed to assist John Langton with his experiments to prove that Whites and Blacks are not related, and that Blacks are inferior in every way – as you can imagine, this is enraging to read framed in modern times but, I am assured, was a common enough practice at that time.

We don’t find out exactly what has gone on until the end of the book but, based on Frannie’s character and subsequent behaviour, we can assume that it was horrific to witness and take part in.

I can’t explain much more of the plot without straying into spoilers, but Frannie’s relationship with ‘Madame’ is compelling and, again, beautifully researched and written.

Loving historical fiction as I do, this book is an excellent example of the genre and definitely one to add to your reading list. Not only is is a good read, it is a prime example of books as art, as it has been beautifully designed, with an embroidered design on the cover which is embossed and overlaid with gold foil, and gorgeous endpapers of a contemporary William Morris design – I honestly could not stop running my fingers over the cover as I was reading!

To find out more about this book and Sara Collins, you can connect with her on Twitter.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton is published in the UK by Viking Books.

This post is part of the blog tour celebrating the publication of The Confessions of Frannie Langton. For more reviews and exclusive content, why not check out some of the brilliant blogs below?

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: The Missing Sister by Dinah Jefferies

Belle Hatton has embarked upon an exciting new life far from home: a glamorous job as a nightclub singer in 1930s Burma, with a host of sophisticated new friends and admirers. But Belle is haunted by a mystery from the past – a 25 year old newspaper clipping found in her parents’ belongings after their death, saying that the Hattons were leaving Rangoon after the disappearance of their baby daughter, Elvira. 

Belle is desperate to find out what happened to the sister she never knew she had – but when she starts asking questions, she is confronted with unsettling rumours, malicious gossip, and outright threats. Oliver, an attractive, easy-going American journalist, promises to help her, but an anonymous note tells her not to trust those closest to her. . . 

Belle survives riots, intruders, and bomb attacks – but nothing will stop her in her mission to uncover the truth. Can she trust her growing feelings for Oliver? Is her sister really dead? And could there be a chance Belle might find her?

What I Thought:

I’ve been lucky enough to take part in blog tours celebrating the last two of Dinah Jefferies’ historical novels. Each is set in Asia, as is The Missing Sister, another charming story but this time with more of a touch of mystery thrown in.

The main character, Belle is young and impressionable, but has recently learned that her older sister disappeared, aged only 3 weeks, in Rangoon, Burma. Her mother, who has since passed away, was accused of harming the baby, but Belle can’t bring herself to believe this. As she struggles in find out more information it isn’t clear who she should trust but someone will stop at nothing to make sure she never learns the truth.

As with Dinah Jefferies’ other novels, The Missing Sister is an impeccably researched period piece showing the height of British colonialism and all the things that that has come to stand for. It shows a long-passed period of time which I think we can agree is all for the better.

The scenic descriptions within the book are excellent and when you read about the research trips that Dinah Jefferies has made, they become all the more authentic – in particular the section with a hot air balloon ride over the ruins at Bagan.

There is a solid mystery plot running through this novel, as Belle tries to work around the bureaucrats in charge of Burma to find out about her sister, helped by a handsome American reporter, and it resolves in a very unexpected way, which was very well done.

Throughout the book, interwoven chapters are written by Belle’s mother Diana as she explores her own failing memory and poor mental health to discover whether it was in fact her who hurt her baby which adds an interesting aspect to the book, and shines a light on how far we have come in the acceptance and treatment of poor mental health.

As I’m sure I have said in my previous reviews of her books, Dinah Jefferies’ books are excellent and well worth catching up with – I think I have only two that I’ve not yet read and they are definitely on my list for the near future.

For more information on The Missing Sister and Dinah Jefferies’ other books, you can check out her website. Alternatively, why not connect with her on Twitter?

This post is part of a blog tour celebrating the publication of The Missing Sister. Why not check out some of the other fantastic blogs below for exclusive content and more reviews?

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: Psychotopia by R. N. Morris & Giveaway

A game for the times we live – and die – in. Enter Psychotopia, a dark new dystopian novel from the author of the acclaimed Silas Quinn mysteries.

PSYCHOTOPIA, LEVEL ONE. Create your own boutique psychopath, then deceive, manipulate and be ruthless, spreading mayhem and destruction to reach the next levels.

It’s the computer game for our times. After all, the amount of crazy in the world is increasing. Senseless violence on the streets is becoming the norm. Can Dr Arbus’s ground-breaking device identify and neutralize psychopaths before it’s too late? In this increasingly dysfunctional world, surely Callum standing by Aimee after her devastating encounter with Charlie is proof that real love and goodness can still win in a world that’s increasingly rotten . . . Or can it?

What I Thought:

For an author who is primarily known for historical fiction to take a leap into a futuristic setting is a brave one, but for R. N. Morris and Psychotopia it largely pays off.

The interesting thing about this novel is that there are elements that are clearly futuristic, but many things are not too disimilar to today – it’s not a great leap to imagine the dystopian future Morris has created coming true sooner rather than later.

The premise of the book – that psychopathy is becoming more and more widespread, and coming out of the shadows and into the mainstream – is easy to identify with, especially given current issues with terrorism and a surge in knife crime and even, to some extent, psychopathy among our current elected officials would not be hard to imagine.

Choosing a game as the focus of the book is an interesting one, given the media insistence that games fuel reckless behaviour – despite research indicating otherwise – and asks the question of whether the game fuels the behaviour, or if art just imitates what is going on in the wider world – not sure it’s something we will ever be able to truly answer, but this book offers one possibility.

The different character voices are unique, but there is something really sinister about the game developer – perhaps knowing what you know about the book and what you infer about him from how the book is set up aids this, but also some of his ideas for the Psychotopia game could only come out of a very sick mind!

This book is an interesting, yet bleak, look at a possible future fuelled by an over-reliance on technology, big corporations and an increase in the media fuelling the flames of hatred and leading many people to care only for themselves and their near family. It’s my sincere hope that this vision of the future never comes to pass – uncomfortable reading, but compulsive all the same.

Psychotopia is published by Severn House.

To find out more about R. N. Morris and his other books, you can check out his website, or you can connect with him on Twitter.

Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of the blog tour for Psychotopia. For more exclusive content and reviews, why not check out the blogs below?

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: This Strange Hell by C. J. Sutton

A suited man runs from a burning tower in Melbourne as bodies rain down upon him. 

Before the city’s millions can compose, he boards a train into the countryside. Hiding his identity and changing his appearance, the man finds his way to Sulley Ridge, a lawless town in the heart of the harsh Victorian outback.

The following day, a burned man wakes up in a hospital bed. Surging with rage, he speaks a name. Within an hour, the suited man’s face is across every screen in the country. It’s the greatest manhunt Australia has ever seen.

But as he tries to camouflage in Sulley Ridge, he soon realises the town has its own problems. Under the iron fist of a violent leader, the locals are trapped within slow and torturous decay… 

As we learn more about the night of the burning tower, the connection between the suited man and the burned man threatens to leave a trail of destruction across the state.

Here is the story of a man on the run from his past, as the line between sanity and evil is danced upon. 

Here is the tale of This Strange Hell.

What I Thought:

There is a lot of great fiction coming out of Australia at the moment – fantastic, gripping thrillers that keep you guessing, and This Strange Hell is no exception.

The intrigue builds quickly as we switch between the suited man and the burned man, whose relationship we don’t yet know and follow the suited man into hiding in a rural town. Things in Sulley Ridge, however, are not as they first appear – local drug lord Siphon runs things in Sulley Ridge, and there are no police in town for a reason.

All of the scenes in Sulley Ridge have a touch of the Wild West about them, as the author expands on Siphon’s presence and history in the town and with the inhabitants, and one resident who has recognised the suited man as Brady Lockhart – suspect number one for the Melbourne fire – realises that this might be their one chance to get rid of Siphon for good.

There’s no question that this book is violent – sometimes extremely so – but it is never gratuitous and all helps to build a picture of the desperate residents of Sulley Ridge, and a man who is seemingly above the law. Some upsetting scenes very firmly root the reader on the side of the residents and the suited man, even with the knowledge that he is connected with a fire that has killed hundreds.

Although there are some beautiful descriptions of rural Australia, they manage to conjure an image without being overly wordy. The book itself is compact which helps to keep it fast-paced and full of action – even when some characters are shown a reflective mood, the action is never far away.

Thoroughly recommended for action fans, I’ve grabbed C. J. Sutton’s first book – Dortmund Hibernate – too, as (at time of writing) it’s only 99p in ebook.

This Strange Hell is independently published.

To find out more about C. J. Sutton, you can check out his website, or connect with him on Twitter.

This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the release of This Strange Hell. for more reviews and exclusive content, you can check out some of the great blogs below…

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: The Mum Who Got Her Life Back by Fiona Gibson

Hello folks, today we have an exclusive extract of Fiona Gibson’s latest novel about the HEN – the Happy Empty Nester and the struggles of getting used to being home alone when your kids have gone to University.

There’s a synopsis at the end, and a review to follow…

A year or so later, Danny started seeing a make-up artist ten years his junior. I was fine with that, truly; Danny and I were managing to get along pretty cordially, and I was enjoying teasing him about his new liaison. ‘So how are things with Kiki Badger?’ I asked during one of our regular chats on the phone.

I heard him exhale. ‘Nads, why d’you always do this?’

‘Do what?’

‘You know. Use both of her names.’

I smirked. ‘It’s one of those names you have to say in full…’

‘Why?’

‘Because it sounds like a sex toy. “The batteries in my Kiki Badger have gone flat!”’

‘You’re ridiculous,’ he exclaimed, laughing. Then, after a pause: ‘It’s nothing serious, y’know? We’re just… hanging out.’ Yeah, sure. ‘How about you?’ he asked. ‘Is there anyone…’

‘You know there isn’t,’ I said quickly.

‘No I don’t. You might have someone squirrelled away-’

‘Hidden in a cupboard?’

‘Maybe,’ he sniggered.

‘Chance’d be a fine thing,’ I retorted, but in truth I wasn’t too interested. It’s not that Alfie and Molly would have kicked off if I’d started seeing someone; at least, I don’t think they would have.

As it turned out, their dad and Kiki have stuck together over the years, and the kids have always seemed fine with that. However, they lived with me, and perhaps that made me more cautious. I wasn’t prepared to endure some teeth-gritting, ‘Alfie, Molly – this is Colin!’ kind of scenario at breakfast with some bloke I wasn’t particularly serious about. There were a couple of brief flings, conducted when Molly and Alfie were at their dad’s, and a significant one, eighteen months ago; well, it was significant to me. But since then? Precisely nothing.

Synopsis:

When her 18-year-old twins leave for university, single mum Nadia’s life changes in ways she never expected: her Glasgow flat feels suddenly huge, laundry doesn’t take up half her week, and she no longer has to buy ‘the Big Milk’. After almost two decades of putting everyone else first, Nadia is finally taking care of herself. And with a budding romance with new boyfriend Jack, She’s never felt more alive.

That is, until her son Alfie drops out of university, and Nadia finds her empty nest is empty no more. With a heartbroken teenager to contend with, Nadia has to ask herself: is it ever possible for a mother to get her own life back? And can Jack and Nadia’s relationship survive having a sulky teenager around?

This post is part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of The Mum Who Got Her Life Back. Why not check out some of the great blogs below for more exclusive content and reviews?

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Book Review: The Yanks are Starving by Glen Craney

Mired in the Great Depression, the United States teeters on the brink of revolution. And the nation holds its collective breath as a rail-riding hobo from Portland leads 20,000 World War I veterans on a desperate quest for justice to the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

This timely epic evokes the historical novels of Jeff Sharra as it sweeps across three decades with eight Americans from different backgrounds who survive the fighting in France and come together again, fourteen years later, to determine the fate of a country threatened by communism and fascism.

We follow these men and women from the Boxer Rebellion in China to the Plain of West Point, from the persecution of conscientious objectors in the Midwest to the horrors of the Marne in France, and from the Hoovervilles of the heartland to the pitiful encampment in the bowels of the District of Columbia.

Here is an alarming portrayal of the political intrigue and government betrayal that ignited the only violent conflict between two American armies under the same flag. 

What I Thought:

I was asked to review Glen Craney’s historical novel, The Yanks Are Starving, some time ago and I’ll admit I struggled a little on first picking it up. However, being a firm believer in books coming to you at the right time, I let it sit and when I picked it up again recently, it was easy to fly through.

Even though I would call myself a fan of Historical fiction and historical events, I had no idea about the Bonus Army as described in this book. After serving their country in World War 1, regular Army veterans were promised a salary bonus, to be paid in 1945. As the Depression begins to bite, these men begin realising that most of them will be dead before the bonus is paid, and demand it sooner. In a move that proves that veterans of foreign wars were treated with the same disdain then that they are now, this was refused, setting the scene for a war between the establishment and the veterans.

Glen Craney’s novel cleverly interweaves real-life and composite characters to get into the belly of the Bonus Army, following them from their pre-war lives, into the trenches of France and to the Hoovervilles of Washington in 1932. Whether real or composite, the characters are well-written and it’s clear that the author has done a huge amount of research.

Part of my degree course involved study of the Depression and the New Deal, but this period was not especially well-covered which is a real shame. A lot of the narrative surrounding the Depression is of hopelessness, but this episode proves that there were still people trying to take control of their lives and make demands on their Government. I guess it goes to prove that history is written by the winners and it’s no surprise that the US establishment would want to keep stories such as this out of History classrooms and textbooks!

The Yanks Are Starving is a mighty tome, dealing as it does with such a large chunk of time and a large number of individual characters but it is always clearly signposted and it’s easy to follow through the story of each main character and their interactions with each other as they approach the eventual climax of the novel in the heart of the US capital.

Many people take a dim view of history and dismiss it as irrelevant to today but, looking at today’s news, there are very many episodes in history such as this – particularly in the US – that can and should serve as valuable lessons to us all!

The Yanks Are Starving is published by Brigid’s Fire Press and, at the time of writing, is only 99p in ebook from Amazon.

To find out more about Glen Craney, you can check out his website, or connect with him on Twitter.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Book Review: Jog On by Bella Mackie

Divorced and struggling with deep-rooted mental health problems, Bella Mackie ended her twenties in tears. She could barely find the strength to get off the sofa, let alone piece her life back together. Until one day she did something she had never done of her own free will – she pulled on a pair of trainers and went for a run.

That first attempt didn’t last very long. But to her surprise, she was back out there the next day. And the day after that. She began to set herself achievable goals – to run 5k in under 30 minutes, to walk to work every day for a week, to attempt 10 push-ups in a row. Before she knew it, her mood was lifting for the first time in years.

In Jog On, Bella explains with hilarious and unfiltered honesty how she used running to battle crippling anxiety and depression, without having to sacrifice her main loves: booze, cigarettes and ice cream. With the help of a supporting cast of doctors, psychologists, sportspeople and friends, she shares a wealth of inspirational stories, research and tips that show how exercise often can be the best medicine. This funny, moving and motivational book will encourage you to say ‘jog on’ to your problems and get your life back on track – no matter how small those first steps may be.

What I Thought:

Although the link between exercise and good mental health has, for the most part, been widely accepted, for many people with depression and anxiety the thought of pulling on a pair of trainers and going for a run is something like hell.

That’s why it is great to read a book whose author acknowledges that yes, her first run, and her second, third and fourth WERE hell, but that there is a light at the end of the running tunnel if it’s something you would like to try. There are by no means any quick fixes in this book – reading it will not make anxiety and depression disappear into thin air, but it does show that the author was able to make genuine improvements in her mental health, starting from her being prostrate on the floor and unable to leave the house.

Jog on by Bella Mackie is just one woman’s story of how she began to take control of her own mental health, but there is a lot in it whatever position you’re coming from. Alongside her own experience, there is a lot of information and stats about the state of the UK’s mental health and – most importantly I think – loads of information on where you can go next after reading the book, in the form of phone numbers and online information services.

All through the book, it very much feels like you’re reading along with someone who knows what it’s like to have really poor mental health (I hesitate to say suffer from…) and can offer something more than solutions – she can offer companionship and a sense that whatever your mental state, you are not alone.

I was inspired several years ago to start the C25K programme, after reading Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley, but with one thing or another I let it drop and my fitness lagged once again. Reading Jog On has persuaded me to don the trainers again and get back out there, with the ultimate aim of completing the Race for Life but, whatever your goals for your own fitness or your mental health, this book is definitely a must-read.

Jog On is published by William Collins.

To find out more about Bella Mackie, you can connect with her on Twitter or Instagram.

Please note: I received a copy of this book via Netgalley for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey

Jen has finally got her daughter home.
But why does fifteen-year-old Lana still feel lost?

When Lana goes missing for four desperate days and returns refusing to speak of what happened, Jen fears the very worst. She thinks she’s failed as a mother, that her daughter is beyond reach and that she must do something – anything – to bring her back.

The family returns to London where everyone but Jen seems happy to carry on as normal. Jen’s husband Hugh thinks she’s going crazy – and their eldest daughter Meg is tired of Lana getting all the attention. But Jen knows Lana has changed, and can’t understand why. 

Does the answer lie in those four missing days? 
And how can Jen find out?

What I Thought:

After hearing such excellent things about Emma Healey’s first novel, Elizabeth is Missing, I was excited to read Whistle in the Dark although, based on reading reviews of the first book, I gather that it is very much plot driven, while this book is more focused on character.

That certainly isn’t to say that there are not dramatic moments in this book – coming from a starting point of a missing teenager is not exactly tame – but as the novel progresses, each flashback and each chapter from a different viewpoint carefully build a picture of a family and show that just because you are related, it doesn’t mean you can relate well to each other.

I don’t know yet what it is like to be mother to a teenager, but it seems incredibly hard work, based on the experience of Jen the mother in this book. I couldn’t help but empathise with her as she desperately tries to find out what has happened to Lana in her missing four days while, at the same time, trying not to alienate Lana and potentially make her disappear again.

Most of my sympathy, I will admit, was with Jen, which comes purely from the perspective of a parent, but I have no doubt that a teenager reading this book would have a different take on it!

As the novel goes on, it’s clear that Lana’s disappearance is not the most important element at play – finding that out is almost incidental – the real emphasis here is in the relationships of the family. Easy-going Dad, Hugh and older sister Meg who has had to take a backseat ever since Lana came along are almost shut out of the tense drama going on between Jen and Lana. So much so that Meg feels unable to share parts of her life with her parents.

As a character study, Whistle in the Dark is beautifully written and raises questions about support for young people struggling with their mental health, and also support for their parents who are often left alone to deal with situations that are beyond their comprehension and experience. It doesn’t necessarily provide any easy answers, but does remind us that families like Lana’s are out there in great numbers.

Whistle in the Dark is published by Penguin.

To find out more about this book, and Emma Healey, you can check out her website.

This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the release of Whistle in the Dark in paperback. Why not check out some of the amazing blogs below for more reviews and exclusive content.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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