Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The twists and turns on this book will keep you scratching your head and wondering right until the final chapter.

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About the Book

The unearthing of a long-hidden body stirs up a woman’s memories of a troubled relationship-and teenage trauma-in this suspenseful novel. When she was just fourteen, Jill’s family moved to Walney Island. Initially intoxicated by the freedom of the seaside setting- and fifteen-year-old Andrew Brownstone- she came to learn that her first impressions were very wrong. After making a shocking discovery in Seaview House, Jill fled the scene- a guilty secret she’s carried with her ever since.

Now, thirty years later, when the decrepit Seaview House is being demolished, a body is found in the garden. But who is the deceased? Jill is soon drawn back into the past when police question her about the relationship she had with Andrew Brownstone all those years ago. Yet as the pieces of the puzzle start falling into place, she discovers she’s not the only one hiding something…

My Thoughts

I will admit the characters in this one weren’t my favorite, but I was still drawn into the story to figure out what was going on. Did our main character kill the person they find? Why is she so terrified? All good questions that need answers. All of which you have to earn from the secretive heroine Jill who has spent a life-time of hiding her true self from everyone.

This is a very serious story that deals with some big topics. Even having spent a portion of my life working with a domestic abuse organization through my job, I kept asking myself “Why?!” and yelling at the main character about her choices. But life is hard and difficult. I see what the author was attempting to do here, and I feel like she didn’t quite hit the mark. I’m also uncertain if the main character was supposed to be neurodivergent, but she absolutely came off that way. In which case, I can definitely understand her choices and her feelings more.

At times, it felt like a train wreck I couldn’t look away from, but in a good way. Or more like it was something real that I needed to bear witness to. I enjoyed the book, especially the big twists and payoff at the end. But I had a hard time connecting with the characters – something which I think could have been on purpose. And if that is the case, it was well done.

The book is incredibly atmospheric. I could feel each place vividly, which is an effect I adore. As a fellow writer, I’m quite jealous of writers who can use that atmospheric effect, and it’s one of my favorite things. I received a gifted copy of the ebook from the author and Love Books Tours as part of the tour. This did not affect my review. I look forward to reading other books by the author.

Who’s It For?

If you love an atmospheric, dramatic tale chock full of social commentary and important topics this is a great story for you. It provides epic twists and turns that are unexpected. There are a lot of serious topics that may be difficult for some readers.

Content Warning: Adult Situations, Adult Language, Relationship Abuse, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Drug Addiction/Use, Overdose, Blackmail,

About the Author

Paula Hillman lives in Cumbria, in a large industrial town called Barrow-in-Furness. Ship building is at its heart, and because of its location on the coast, as well as on the foothills of The Lakes, she is heavily invested in the natural history of the place. She studied science at college and specialised in it for her bachelor’s degree in teaching, but her heart has always been tied up with books and reading.

She is married to a photographer and have two adult children. She is a passionate advocate for local communities. Barrow people are community driven and welcoming, and their character is unique in so many ways. She wants to capture all of this in the books she writes.

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