A quick rundown… Charlotte and Chloe thought they were safe in New Zealand, but their past finds them and sets them on a scary road.
Strengths: Interesting and multilayered plot.
Weaknesses: Found it quite difficult to get into initially as it jumps straight in.
Why I read it: eARC from Random House – thank you! (It was embarrassing that I hadn’t read a Susan Lewis book yet!)
Pages: 464 (eARC)
Publisher: Random House
Setting: New Zealand, England
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Susan Lewis has been one of those authors who have always been on the edge of my radar – I’ve seen her books in the shops and online, had friends talk about how good they are…and yet I’ve never read one. Shame. She’s written many books, the majority of them bestsellers. So I was glad to cross off one of my many ‘authors to try when I was offered this eARC. (Needless to say, the opinions are my own).
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened this book, but boy, did it launch straight into the action! Instantly we meet Charlotte and Chloe, living an idyllic life in northern New Zealand. They seem content, but there’s a hint of uneasiness in the background. Was there something I was missing? There wasn’t a great deal of description of who Charlotte was, why she felt safer now and why she was so happy to live what might be considered a fairly boring life in New Zealand surrounded by a complex family group.
Thank goodness for the internet. Previously, I had only the sneaking suspicion that a book might be a sequel. Now, I can tell you after less than a minute of research that this book is a sequel to a previous Lewis book, No Child of Mine. In this book, you’ll find out how Chloe and Charlotte came to be who they are and where they are. Others have mentioned that you could read this along and I think it’s possible, but I have some reservations.
One: I am a stickybeak and I want to know exactly how they got to that point. I think reading the first book would have helped. Two: On starting to read this, I felt like I’d walked into a movie halfway through. I was confused and it took me some time to work things out. This made the first part of the book drag for me.
Three: Some parts seemed a bit strained.
Another thing I didn’t really like about the beginning was the New Zealand reference overload. (This is not because I’m Australian! I love my Cookie Times and Hokey Pokey!) It seemed forced and literally cramming every fact possible about NZ into as few sentences as possible. It was great that Lewis did the research, but it felt fake to me.
The topic content reminded me a bit of Jodi Picoult – Lewis certainly isn’t one to shy away from the big issues. Some may find the content disturbing, especially if you’re a parent. Perhaps I read this a little too soon after my last Picoult, because I wished for happier plots!
Would I read another Lewis book? Maybe – if I found a book that focused on a topic I could relate to more or was passionate about. I just wasn’t terribly into this book, although it was written well and the characterisation detailed.