Thursday, 24 March 2016

Book Review: Beneath the Surface by Heidi Perks

* I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I don't know where you are...

I don't know what I've done...

Teenager Abigail Ryder is devastated when she gets home from school to find her family gone. Nothing makes sense. Things are missing from the house and her stepsisters' room is completely empty. But the police think she's trouble, and when grandmother Eleanor tells her to forget them all and move on, there's no choice other than face the future - alone.

Fourteen years on, Abi and Adam are a happy couple on the verge of parenthood. But when the past comes back to haunt Abi, the only way forward is to go back and uncover the truth - and reveal the dreadful secrets a mother has been hiding all these years.

Image: Heidi Perks / Red Door Publishing
After reading a string of romance and easy-going chicklit, this book was just what I needed to get some variety back into my reading diet. On the surface, it's a contemporary fiction story, but it contains nuances of a range of other genres from thriller to mystery to crime to romance.

The overarching themes of the book are love, loss, pride, and family values. Family is the key that holds the story together, so it's quite ironic when you read it and see just how dysfunctional our main characters are. Without giving too much away, the whole family pivots around one significant family member, who triggers a series of events leading the characters to where they end up.

Gripping

I found the plot as a whole to be quite far-fetched, and at times certain events or character's behaviour seemed a bit unrealistic or even forced, but I was able to see past these obstacles as it was so gripping I had to keep reading!

The beginning of the book sucked me in instantly. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. The author has crafted the story in such a way that little clues as to why things happened as they did are dangled in front of the reader like carrots for a donkey, encouraging us to read on. This is not a thriller by any means, but it bears the hallmark of the classic thriller clues throughout the whole story.

Unexpected plot twists

There are a number of big twists in the plot, and it must be a credit to the author that I didn't spot any of them coming! Each new twist and turn in the story took me by surprise, guiding and shaping the story to the end point which, again without giving too much away, hit my emotions like a ton of rocks. If you read this book and don't cry at the very end, you must have emotions of steel!

I enjoyed reading about the characters, but I felt like I couldn't really empathise with any of them. I liked the ones I was supposed to like, disliked the ones I wasn't, and even felt sorry for Kathryn despite all that she put Abi and the girls through. But despite that, I just couldn't really relate to any of them on a personal level, which isn't a dealbreaker, but it's still a shame.

Rating: 4 stars.

Beneath the Surface is available to buy now.

Will you be reading Beneath the Surface? Let me know in the comments below!

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