Digital Reads Reviews

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My review

The blurb said a woman arrived to a village via the train with her bag stolen and total retrograde amnesia, including not knowing her name. Then she knocked on Laura and Tony’s home claiming it to be hers, as the address was all that she remembered. They took her in, and Tony named her Jemma. And the twists started rolling…

J. S. Monroe has written a brilliant book with so many twists that at times I felt almost like a pretzel. Memory and hippocampus were brilliantly used in the entire plot. I loved the way Monroe has plotted the amnesic main character. I had to go back to my knowledge bank to remember if such an amnesia is possible. Well, the brain can be tricky!!

The book had a darker overtone, without it being too macabre, but it went with the entire flow. Tony, as the man obsessed with sea horses and memory, was as unlikable as villain ought to be. There was something off each time he helped Jemma.

The author then went ahead admixed in the plot, the character of a psychotic woman who had murdered her best friend and who looked just like our protagonist. In all this confusion, the cops and an ex-reporter Luke had to search for the lone thread which would unknot the entire plot.

My niggles came and went as I read the book, some parts were too descriptive (I learned to skim read), a few unanswered questions (I let go of them), slightly clearer prose (I had to re-read some bits)

The book held me captive till I reached the last page and then made me write this review. What a book!!

I received an ARC from NetGalley and publisher, Head of Zeus, and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating : 4 stars

About the Author

J.S. Monroe read English at Cambridge, worked as a freelance journalist in London and was a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4. Monroe, the author of five other novels, was also a foreign correspondent in Delhi for the Daily Telegraph and was on its staff in London as Weekend editor.

Book blurb

She arrived at the train station after a difficult week at work. Her bag had been stolen, and with it, her identity. Her whole life was in there – passport, wallet, house key. When she tried to report the theft, she couldn’t remember her own name. All she knew was her own address.

Now she’s outside Tony and Laura’s front door. She says she lives in their home. They say they have never met her before.

One of them is lying.

Product Details

Publication date : 4th October, 2018

Publisher : Head of Zeus

52 Responses

  1. I loved your review, Shalini. I liked when you said it made you feel like a pretzel, with all the twists. 😂 I had to look up hippocampus. Great job as always. 😉

    1. Hahaha part of brain which looks like sea horse which is responsible fir memory, anxiety etc. One of the oldest part of the brains. Brain is one organ we don’t know much about…

        1. Hahaha Laurie how’s the headache? Mine are controlled by a dark room in morning hours and timings my medicines in such a way that I can sleep off the side effects.
          What did your doc say?

          1. I’m glad that you at least know what’s causing your headaches. If they’re side effects from your new meds maybe there’s something different they can prescribe for you??
            My headaches are still happening on a regular basis. I haven’t gone to see about them yet because now I have to focus on another issue first. 😞

    1. Hey Leslie how are things, girl. What’s happening? I was just remembering you today. I missed you❤️❤️ hope all well with you. All my love for you

  2. Your stellar reviews always trigger my greed – I raced to netgallery but alas – I was too late – but I was able to “Wish for it” so I did. Love your style!

  3. Aww. I think of you all the time, and constantly hope you are doing well. I wish we lived closer so we could hang out and share good books (and wine, of course). 🙂 I plan on bugging you again in a few weeks with another beta read. So, be ready for more hunky dregs, girl… 🙂

    1. Yes… Hippocampus is one of the oldest parts of brain, they say brain evolved, but this part remained as it is and is the one responsible for anxiety memory etc.
      I feel brain is one unknown organ

  4. If the book properly identified the brain area responsible for the amnesia and used science to explain it, then this may be worth it.
    Technically, the amygdalas are responsible for anxiety. The hippocampus conversely, helps with memory and learning which is all aided by the hypothalamus. All of these area are in the mid-brain (the dead center) and run the body and the mind. Though executive function and personality comes from the frontal lobes.

    1. Thank you. What I remembered from my studies and dissection, you are right about dead center. But the latest studies, I read one article which showed though the centre responsible for anxiety may be amygdala, the pathways go via hypocampus. So they assume that there are two parts which may contribute.

      1. Hmmm, that is interesting, I may have to read about that. A recent development that I was not aware of.

          1. That’s really great. I love reading research articles. They are the most informative.

      1. Maybe. Neuroscience works everyday to understand the inner-workings of the brain and a lot of what they think they know ends up being incorrect at some point. This is why they revise so many books so often.

        1. Hehehehe… You I have no idea whats a pretzel. But I do know they are twisted thingys to eat… Are they sweet or salted? My brain says salted!!

  5. Ha ha! I do know how much you hate descriptive writing!! 😂
    I also think it’s strange that this woman wanders up to the door saying this is her home and they just take her in and “Tony names her Jemma”… What is she? A stray animal?! LMAO! I didn’t think people normally took humans in to keep and name! 😂🍻

    1. Nooooo the original Jemma was a murderer with psychosis, who killed her best friend… And there was a reason he did that…. Sheesh that’s the mystery of this book

  6. Twisty pretzel book! Hehe loved how you likened it to a pretzel! I notice books like this love using memory to keep the suspense going. Did you manage to figure out the ending? Lovely review as always, Shalini!

  7. Great review Shalini, even if there is a bit of macabre it sounds like I might like it. I always love the way you share how a book makes you feel.

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