Maggie and Colin Grainger have been enjoying a holiday at Cove Cottage for two weeks with their two children, Joe & Livvy, when Livvy, three years old, disappeared under the watchful eye of both parent on the beach. The one minute she was with her mother, running off to join her dad and her brother at the rocks. The next moment she was gone. Maggie, in her state of grief, could not come to terms with the disappearance of her child and hardly had the energy left to take proper care of their son, Joe. The investigation was officially called off but the file kept open, which had Maggie in a constant fear of the telephone. She simply was not ready for the final confirmation of the inevitable.
Philip and Jennifer Marshall lived in Devon, when his grandmother in California was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He flew over to take care of her while Jennifer stayed behind. His stay in California was elongated and Jennifer decided to move into a bigger house in the meantime, being pregnant with twins - which was kept a surprise to Philip. The move proved to be difficult for their daughter Hailey, who also had to start school in the new neighborhood for the first time. A shy withdrawn child, she slowly opened up to her teacher, Katie McLure. Upon his eventual return he found changes he had to accept for the children's sake. Life was different and challenging.
That is the background of the plot that slowly turned into a chilling, heart wrenching, disturbing saga, in which grief played a pivotal role in shaping people's conduct and minds. The love of these two mothers for their children triggered the most basic instincts known to mankind and the results were devastating and shocking.
This is the second novel by Linda Huber that I read. As with the first novel, The Paradise Trees , I was immediately pulled into the suspense which grabbed hold of me in the first paragraph and never ended until the very last sentence.
The book addresses the fears of all parents, and drives the reader's emotions up and down the normality chart with ruthless intent.
Although the story dragged a bit, it was an unbelievable intense thriller that kept me glued to the pages with no way out. The reader does not want to step aside although it was at times impossible to breath normally. I constantly, silently, cried out: "For Heaven's sake stop this! Stop this, I cannot take it anymore!"
A brilliant, enlightened and wonderful wonderful wonderful experience. Linda Huber will fast become a must-read British author for anyone enjoying psychological thrillers. Her writing style is excellent. I cannot actually find the right words to describe it. You just know someone is playing you like a fiddle and it's not the plot or the characters.
A review copy was provided by Legend Press via NetGalley for review. It was an amazing read. Thank you!