Digital Reads Reviews

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Regrets and losses

Truth and lies

Vengeance and revenge

Pride and hurt

Pretense and real

Innocence and mature

What is true, what is false

One is memory, the other life

These are the lines which came into my mind when I finished reading this book. A psychological thriller which started with Maggie in the ICU waking up from the coma and being told that her child Elspeth had drowned due to her mistake, and she herself was found to be a state of near drowning trying to save her daughter. Add to this, her husband Sean had vanished into thin air. Then came the trials of Maggie trying to get her memory of the day back, which led to the tortuous road of the past and its hidden secrets.

My first book by Nuala Ellwood had me gripped to my kindle wanting to make the pages fly and at the same time, slowing down to soak up the atmosphere of this mother and her grief.

The book had me totally entwined in Maggie’s story and her love for daughter Elspeth. I couldn’t help but have my heart broken at the way she cried for her daughter. Told in dual viewpoints by Maggie and anonymous letters by a child searching for her mother, which created its own eerie effect.

Some parts of it I could guess, but I have to admit Nuala did a phenomenal job in maintaining the tension in the plot all through. Maggie’s emotions created a powerful arc which leapt off the pages to wrench my heart in her pain.

The mystery of the lost memory, hidden past, vanished husband, drowned daughter, old affairs, old connections kept me hooked to this book till the last page which drew the entire story in a perfect circle.

A few implaucible scenes kept me from completely believing in the plot, but they were just my niggles, which didn’t detract me from shedding a few tears at the end for this mother who just tried her best. Psychological thriller turned emotional!!

I received an ARC from NetGalley, and this is my journey into its pages, straight from the heart.

Nuala Ellwood was chosen as one of the Observer’s ‘New Faces of Fiction 2017’ for her first thriller, the bestselling My Sister’s Bones. Nuala teaches Creative Writing at York St John University, and lives in the city with her husband and son.

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart.

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter’s funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie’s husband?
And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?

Publication date : 25th January 2019

Publisher : Penguin

35 Responses

  1. This one sounds amazing. Lovely review Shalini. Anytime there is a death of a child and a mother in mourning, it tugs on my heartstrings. Then make it a thriller and wow.

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