Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan
Release Date: 28th June 2018
Publisher: Avon
Genres: Psychological Thriller

Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy. 

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.
Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.

Always one keen to support writers from my beautiful Northern Ireland, I jumped at the chance to review this book.  This is a beautifully written psychological thriller that will keep you guessing throughout and even though you might think you know what’s coming, just maybe you don’t! I found the plot to be well paced, with several unexpected twists and lots of gasp out loud moments.  Any predictability was offset by the “looking through my fingers” cringe factor of awaiting the arrival of the inevitable!  Some authors ruin a story by throwing in too many plot twists just for the sake of unpredictability, but Claire Allan walks the line really well, keeping your interest, but allowing the predictable to happen naturally.

From the outset, I was taken by the plot’s relevance to modern life – the lead character, Emily, who largely narrates the story throughout, operates with an almost obsessive reliance on social media. It’s not hard to empathise with her character as she tries to assess and judge Rose’s life, her success and happiness based on her Facebook output. Emily is seemingly vulnerable, still recovering from a previous abusive relationship, but her character is written sympathetically to allow the reader to pull for her throughout, despite some of her more questionable actions! 

This book is by turns dark, disturbing, cringe-worthy, shocking, sad but yet occasionally funny and even heart-warming. Yet more evidence of the perils of accepting as gospel social media’s portrayal of the perfect person, with the perfect life, which turns out to be far from the reality. It raises the question of who can you really trust, who is truly as happy as they seem, what are their hidden demons and who, therefore, should be believed?

Reviewing thrillers is a dangerous business, as plot spoilers can take the joy of discovery from anyone later reading them. So I’ll go no further than to say the story is addictive, striking and well worth the investment of your time in finding out about Emily, Rose, and the rest of the characters in this book. I loved it! Highly recommended. 

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