Book Review: The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft

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Simone Porter and her husband Matt lead a normal busy life as a journalist and a doctor today, but eighteen years ago, fate had dealt them a cruel blow, the pain of which they still felt.

Eighteen years ago, their six month old daughter, Helena, was stolen from the park. Simone, a teenager herself and Matt a medical student had been exhausted and Matt’s other had come to help them out by taking Helena to the park, when she gets stolen. All efforts at tracing Helena came to no good and slowly Simone and Matt rebuilt their lives, but the grief remained with them.

So, eighteen years since then, Simone gets approached by a young woman who claims that she was Helena, Simone is completely thrown off balance. Simone and Matt don’t know what to think but before they can progress further, even ascertain if the young woman was indeed, their daughter, Helena or Grace as she is called, disappears, again. For the second time in their lives Simone and Matt are plunged into the same feelings of loss and helplessness.

Simone needs to know what happened. She can’t just let her daughter, if it was her daughter, disappear a second time. Refusing to be a silent spectator, Simone follows leads, hunts down information as best as she could. As she investigates, what emerges is beyond what she could have ever imagined.

An absolutely gripping, nail-biting psychological thriller. Keeps you guessing till the very end. I wish I could say more, but that would totally spoil it for you. Do read this if you like psychological thrillers, which keep you at the very edge of your seat.

My Rating: 4/5

Thank you NetGalley and Bookoutre for the review copy of this book.

About the Author
Kathryn Croft is the bestselling author of The Girl With No Past, which spent over four weeks at number one in the Amazon chart. Her first two novels, Behind Closed Doors and The Stranger Within, reached number one in the psychological thriller charts.

Her fourth novel, The Girl You Lost, will be published on 5th February 2016, and is now available for preorder on Amazon. 

After six years teaching secondary school English, Kathryn now writes full time and has a publishing deal with Bookouture. 

Book Review: Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

This was a book that I picked up from the ‘Book Club’ section of my library. I’ve always liked the books I’ve picked up from there. The books normally have layers, and lots of elements to them, so if I am in a hurry, I just grab the first one that catches my eye. Thankfully, this one caught my eye.

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From the Blurb

When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.

But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.

Cathy was once a carefree, the happy woman, who falls in love with Lee. The man who can’t do any wrong, the perfect boyfriend. Not just in her eyes, but also in her friends’ eyes. He is just the perfect man, loving, caring, and he even wants to get married. Her girlfriends, who long for a relationship like that, can’t understand why Cathy isn’t jumping with joy. Little do they know that for her, he is slowly turning into a very different, very scary person. Cathy’s life is not what she she signed up for, and she has no way of getting out. She is trapped. The way Lee’s character changes, was absolutely scary to read. It is so easily possible. You feel for Cathy, you feel her helplessness, her desperation. The way the story builds up, is very well done as well. We know a little, but not everything, but enough to keep us going, and wanting more.

Cathy, as the woman she is now, is again, beautifully portrayed. Her fears, her OCD, her constantly being on the edge, it just shows how a violent relationship can change a person, scar a person. The heights to which people can go, right from stalking to physically causing harm. Cathy is slowly getting help to overcome her fears, all thanks to her new neighbour Stuart and for the first time since her traumatic experience, she feels hope. Hope that she might lead a normal life, that she might not need to look over her shoulder all the time, when everything changes.

One of the saddest revelations was finding out what Lee did for a living. Although I have to say, I did have a slight inkling about that. But it just made things so much more disturbing.

This was a book that I couldn’t stop reading. Thankfully I was reading on a Saturday night, so I could read until late in the night, and believe me, it took a while before I went to sleep. I went downstairs to check my locks more than once. Every noise had me starting. The book had that much of an effect on me. I loved the way it ended. It was just brilliant, with right amount of everything. I wish I could say more but.. Well, just read it! You won’t regret it (if you like this sort of books, that is).

A book I would highly recommend. It could even be a cautionary tale. An immensely powerful book, powerful writing, strong, strong plot, beautifully thought out and very well-defined characters. But if you tend to get easily affected by books, I would say, be cautious, this might not be the book for you. It is a strong book, in the sense, that it could be unsettling. But for me, it was a 5/5 read. This is the first book that I have read of this author, but I’m sure this wouldn’t be my last.

About the Author

Elizabeth Haynes grew up in Seaford, Sussex and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University.

She currently works as a police intelligence analyst and lives in Kent with her husband and son.

The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson

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Poppy Carlisle and Serena Gorringe were the ice cream girls. As teenagers, they had been embroiled in a murder case and a glamorous picture of theirs eating ice cream had been published, dubbing them the ‘ice cream girls’.

The trial resulted in Poppy being found guilty of murder while Serena was found innocent. Years later Poppy has finally been released from prison, and she is on a mission. She wants to make the real killer, Serena, confess and clear her name. Serena, on the other hand, had put it all behind her, and is leading a normal middle class life. Her husband doesn’t know that she was one of the Ice Cream girls, she would rather keep it that way. Bringing the past back would make her life a living hell. But would Poppy allow her that? What happens next? You have to read it to find out. The one thing I can reassure you is that you wouldn’t be able to put it down.

How did I find it? It was a great book. It explores such a scary issue and in a great way. The ways in which young teenagers could be vulnerable to influences and how easy it is take advantage of them. To elaborate anymore would take away from your enjoyment of the book.

The book is written from Poppy and Serena’s perspective and goes back and forth in timelines as well. The stark difference in Poppy’s and Serena’s lives are brought out so well, when the narratives change. Amidst all the turmoil in her life, Serena is a mother who lives a very regular life, and its so easy to identify with her and her concerns. It builds up very well, and ends very well too. I actually liked the ending. It was realistic although I did read reviews where people were disappointed by the way it ended. In a lot of ways it’s also an education, in how easily things could go wrong. Both Poppy and Serena were just regular youngsters, until everything went all wrong.

It’s a beautiful book, handling a very tough subject, and I think Koomson handled it very well. If you do pick up this book, do keep a box of tissues handy, because if you are anything like me, you’ll have tears pouring down.

I give it a 5/5.