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The Night She Disappeared By Lisa Jewell

The Night She Disappeared‘The Night She Disappeared’ is the latest book by ‘Sunday Times’ bestselling author Lisa Jewell.

Midsummer 2017: teenage mum Tallulah heads out on a date, leaving her baby son at home with her mother, Kim. At 11 p.m. she sends her mum a text message. At 4.30 a.m. Kim awakens to discover that Tallulah has not come home. Friends tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a pool party at a house in the woods nearby called Dark Place. Tallulah never returns. 2018: walking in the woods behind the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started as a head teacher, Sophie sees a sign nailed to a fence. A sign that says: DIG HERE.

Every year Lisa Jewell delivers a book that is hailed as her best book to date and I always agree. But this year, Lisa has completely knocked it out of the park with ‘The Night She Disappeared’, a story of love, obsession and amateur sleuthing.

I read this book in one sitting, it was compelling, dark and extremely addictive.

The story is seen through the narrative of 3 women. Kim, mother of Tallulah who disappears one night whilst out with her boyfriend called Zach. Tallulah, a teenage mother who’s in an unhappy relationship with Zach and finds herself drawn to Scarlett, an outspoken and well to do girl who attends the same school as Tallulah. And finally Sophie, who has just moved to the area, her boyfriend is the principal of the school that both Scarlett and Tallulah attended. Sophie is the author of a crime series and when she finds a sign in her back garden with the instruction to ‘Dig here’ she finds herself piecing together the last few moments of Tallulah being seen, along with Kim.

Right from the start, this book pulled me in. The multiples narratives made for intriguing reading. Like Lisa’s previous books, the story is delivered in past and present tense. The story begins with Kim’s narrative at the moment that Tallulah doesn’t return from her night out and then a year later, still appealing for help and never giving up hope. She’s now become the full time carer to Tallulah’s little boy Noah and is heartbroken that Tallulah is missing out on pivotal moments in Noah’s life. Tallulah’s narrative are delivered in the past and to be honest, this makes for sad reading. A teenage girl struck in an unhappy relationship with a seemingly lovely boy, but who’s manipulative and when she’s with Scarlett, she radiates warmth and happiness that lifts off the pages. And newcomer to the town Sophie, is using her crime writing skills to uncover the clues, as well as being new to the town, sees the residents in a new light and is able to notice the suspicious characters and motives.

I’ve always thought that Lisa transitioned beautifully from female fiction to domestic noir and felt that she really triumphed in this story. The characters are addictive and dark, with flawed personalities that really pulled my attention. From Tallulah’s naivety, Kim’s faith and Sophie’s determination. Her writing is skilfully crafted and her observational insights into relationships and society made for even more gripping reading

A modern thriller delivered with drama and twists at every turn, ‘The Night She Disappeared’ is a tense and dramatic story that keeps the reader guessing throughout and made this book impossible to put down.

You can pre-order ‘The Night She Disappeared’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 22nd July 2021.

Handwritten Girl’s Top 12 Books Of 2020

Top 12 Books Of 2020It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a strange old year. For some of us, we either lost our reading mojo and for others, we discovered a new passion that helped us escape the chaos of the world.

For me, my reading dipped regularly. Sometimes, I couldn’t be found without a book in my hand and other times, I left a pile of half read books in my path unable to find one to catch my attention.

If you’re looking for book ideas for yourself or for others for Christmas, check out my top 12 books of 2020, for some ideas.

Click on the links to read my thoughts on the books and why these books might appeal to you.

‘The Dilemma’ by ‘B.A. Paris
‘The Minute I Saw You’ by Paige Toon
‘The Other Passenger’ by Louise Candlish
‘Grown Ups’ by Marian Keyes
‘My One True North’ by Milly Johnson
‘The Last Charm’ by Ella Allbright
‘My Dark Vanessa’ by Kate Elizabeth Russell
‘Just My Luck’ by Adele Parks
The Lockdown Diary of Tom Cooper’ by Spencer Brown
‘The Flipside’ by James Bailey
‘Invisible Girl’ by Lisa Jewell
‘After The Silence’ by Louise O’Neill.

Although these books are available on Amazon, please consider buying from an independent bookseller to help supporting local businesses during this time.

Invisible Girl By Lisa Jewell

Invisible Girl‘Invisible Girl’ is the latest book by Lisa Jewell.

When Saffyre Maddox was ten, something terrible happened, and she’s carried the pain of it ever since. The man who she thought was going to heal her didn’t, and now she hides, learning his secrets, invisible in the shadows. Owen Pick is invisible too. He’s never had a girlfriend; he’s never even had a friend. Nobody sees him. Nobody cares. But when Saffyre goes missing from opposite his house on Valentine’s night, suddenly the whole world is looking at Owen. Accusing him, holding him responsible for Saffyre’s disappearance.

Yesterday was the publication day for ‘Invisible Girl’ and the previous day, I was fortunate to spend my day reading the latest book from Lisa Jewell.

The story is seen from the narrative of 3 characters, Saffyre, Cate and Owen and starts at the point on Valentines’ Day, when teenager Saffyre Maddox goes missing. Written through the different narratives and the different time periods really set the tone and scene for the story.

A troubled teen Saffyre Maddox develops a bit of an obsession with her counsellor Roan, who finds herself following his every move. He never sees her, hence Saffrye being the ‘Invisible Girl’. Roan is Cate’s husband and Cate is worried about the new area that they are renting in as there has been a spate of sexual attacks whilst teacher Owen finds himself being accused of sexual misconduct on the teenagers at he teaches at. He’s a reclusive 33 year old who spends his day on forums and doesn’t engage in the real world and he’s become the main suspect in Saffyre’s disappearance.

The 3 characters are a mix of personalities and all live within the close proximity of each other setting the tone of this claustrophobic thriller. At the core of the book of is the missing girl but weaved throughout the story is the troubling reality that everyone has a secret to hide and even the most highly respected individuals have secrets to hide.

Lisa has created a story that concentrates on predatory characters, toxic masculinity as well as self harm and sexual abuse that does make for unsettling reading. She also includes a world that naive people like myself never knew existed such as Incel forums, where bitter men would rip women to pieces and declare sick fantasies.

The story is an emotive one and I found myself veering from anger at the men’s attitudes and sympathy towards Saffrye as she tried to finds herself and recover from an ordeal that happened to her child that has moulded her into the person that she become. A person, who prefers to hide away from the world and the only time she’s at her happiest is when she’s with nature.

Lisa is currently number one on the New York bestsellers list for her previous book called ‘Then She Was Gone’ and ‘Invisible Girl’ will soon be behind it. A thrilling and emotional book about society and identify that made for gripping reading, filled with unlikable and unreliable characters and a strong storyline that comes seamlessly at the end page, ‘Invisible Girl’ is truly Lisa at her very best, compulsive and dark reading, that will even more make people reconsider walking alone at night time!

You can buy ‘Invisible Girl’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

My Top 12 Books Of 2019

My Top 12 Books Of 2019

Every year, I spend some time looking over my reviews of the books from that were published during that year and find myself faced with the same quandary. What have been my favourite books? The books that I recommended, enjoyed and passed onto friends to share the experience.

2019 has been no different, it’s a cracking year for debuts, ‘The Silent Patient’, ‘The Flat Share’ and ‘The Truth and Triumphs of Grace Atherton’ were all fantastic books that have soared through the books charts

After ten years of writing, C.L. Taylor received numerous accolades for her book called ‘Sleep’ and who can forget that sunny day in July when I read both ‘Those People’ and ‘The Family Upstairs’.

This was initially a list of my top 5 books of 2019, then it became my top 10 before finally becoming a top 12 books of 2019.

So, if you’re looking for some ideas for the book lover in your life, then look no further!

1. ‘Lies Lie Lies’ by Adele Parks
2. ‘The Passengers’ by John Marrs
3. ‘The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton’ by Anstey Harris
4. ‘The Family Upstairs’ by Lisa Jewell
5. ‘Blood Orange’ by Harriet Tyce
6. ‘Those People’ by Louise Candlish
7. ‘Half a World Away’ by Mike Gayle
8. ‘Tell Me Your Secret’ by Dorothy Koomson
9. ‘Sleep’ by C.L. Taylor
10. ‘Louis and Louise’ by Julie Cohen
11. ‘The Flat Share’ by Beth O’Leary
12. ‘The Silent Patient’ by Alex Michaelides

The Family Upstairs By Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs’The Family Upstairs’ is the latest book by Lisa Jewell.

You thought they were just staying for the weekend. They looked harmless enough – with only two suitcases and a cat in a wicker box. But soon things turn very, very dark. It happens slowly, yet so extraordinarily quickly. Now you and your sister must find a way to survive.

Was it any surprise that the minute I started Lisa Jewell’s latest book, I was unable to put it down until I reached the final page, thrilling with unlikable and unreliable characters, this book had gripping written all over it.

The story is seen from multiple perspectives and flows in past and present tense, giving the reader a feel for the drama that is being unfolded.

Libby always knew that she was adopted and when she reaches her 25th birthday, she’s given a house that was in a trust for her. Shocked and bemused, she starts to investigate her family and is unprepared for the secrets that she discovers. As well as the narrative from Libby, there’s also the narrative from another person who’s set in the past tense and tells the reader about the cult that Libby’s family were embroiled with and how their family was consumed and fell apart. There is also one other voice called Lucy, a broke single mother who is trying to make a better life for her three children, but is struggling in another country with no security and hiding from others.

‘The Family Upstairs’ is another gripping story from Lisa, with a clever and intriguing plot and interesting characters, this book is an additive story that was impossible to put down. The different narratives gave a fascinating insight into the story into the mystery of the family and what happened in that infamous house. Masterfully crafted with twists and turns that kept the reader engaged throughout, ‘The Family Upstairs’ is another shining example of how seamlessly transitioned from female fiction writer to thriller.

You can pre-order The Family Upstairs from Amazon and will be available to buy good bookshops from 25th July 2019.