Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
BOOK ORIGINALLY CALLED “WHAT WE HIDE“
The news of her mother’s death hits Nell as if she’s been shot. The letter has to be some kind of prank, but who could be so cruel? After all, Nell’s mother died nearly thirty years ago.
Nell’s parents died when she was a baby, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother, Lilian. So when the lawyer’s letter arrives, informing her of her mother Sarah’s death just the previous month, it destroys everything she thought she knew. Her grandmother loved her, so why did she lie? And why did her mother abandon her?
Returning to the town where she grew up in search of answers, what Nell finds instead only raises more questions. Lilian, now frail and living in sheltered accommodation, refuses to see her, and a hostile cousin she has never heard of is occupying the family home.
Then Nell starts receiving anonymous threats.
Leave here, or you won’t leave alive.
Going back to the family home was meant to help her find the truth. But it’s clear someone has a secret they’ll do anything to keep hidden. Is Nell prepared for what is hiding behind closed doors – or the cost of finding out?
This story follows Nell, a young woman who recently discovered that her mother passed away, despite the fact that her grandmother Lilian told her she died when Nell was just a baby. After going back to her hometown to confront Lilian and ask her why she lied to her for all those years, Nell begins to unravel the truth and discovers a nasty web of lies that leaves her questioning everyone around her. Temporarily living in her grandmother’s estate, she begins to be terrorised and realises that someone doesn’t want her there, and they won’t stop until she leaves.
I was relatively surprised by this book and found myself really enjoying it. It was a little difficult to get into but, overall, it was a very intriguing story that was executed well. There were a few little twists throughout the story but the majority of them weren’t very shocking, especially towards the end of the book as the last few chapters seemed quite rushed. The writing style was enjoyable and simple, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It flowed smoothly and made for an easy read, something to pick up on a hot summer day and read.
The characters in this book were relatively strong, though I would have liked to of seen Sarah, Nell’s mother, have some more flashbacks as I felt as though there was only a little depth to her character. She seemed to of been written as a side character when she could have made an excellent main character alongside Nell. Lilian was a pretty frustrating character as there seems to be moments where she was being redeemed for lying to Nell, only to figure outs she lied again. Their relationship was quite confusing, especially once Lilian’s own letters are written into the book, and I was left wondering whether Lilian loved Nell at all. There are a few other characters introduced, Joyce, Adam and Jenny, and, while they all do play pretty big roles in the story, especially the ending, I found that they weren’t mentioned as much as I’d of liked.
Overall, I rated this book three stars. I honestly liked the concept and thought it was written very well. I would have liked to of seen the characters be a little more daring as I feel as though they were written a little too simple for me. The storyline itself was very original and I would definitely recommend this book to my friends. I am going to pick up The Orchid Girls, also by Lesley Sanderson, in hopes that the writing was just as riveting as this!