Sophie Hannah | Published January 2020
All Beth has to do is drive her son to his away match, watch him play, and bring him home.
Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn’t want to see her today, or ever again.
But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches from across the road as Flora and her children Thomas and Emily step out of the car. Except… There’s something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. As Beth would have expected. It’s the children. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then.
They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Hilary hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.
They are no taller, no older… Why haven’t they grown?
A couple great books released in January 2020 kept me super busy during quarantine. Too bad I wasn’t as busy writing reviews because I’m about 14 books behind on that task. 🤦🏾♀️ Eh, life is for living gang..cant be ALL about books. 😉
I’m starting to enjoy what I call, ‘new age’ suspense thrillers that rely on characters that live in our current time. They send texts, have Instagram accounts, stalk one another on social media and feel entitled to know the details of someone else’s life. Enter our main character Beth. She and her husband ended a friendship with another couple, Flora and her husband, 12 years ago but, Beth has continued to stalk Flora and her family, on social media. Unfortunately, for Flora, her families social media accounts don’t seem to document the evolution Beth expects. Beth randomly drives by Floras last known residence and happens to catch Flora mid-emotional breakdown, with 2 children that look as if they haven’t aged a day. Impossible! Beth MUST get to the bottom of this. 🙃
Basically, Beth is a whole ‘Karen’, less the negative, racially charged indignation, but, an extra dose of ‘minding your business and mine too’. 🤦🏾♀️ Once Beth has seen the children she is determined to understand why they haven’t aged and why Flora would be having a breakdown in her own driveway. The only reasoning we’re ever given as readers is because, exasperatedly, ‘The Children’ need help and since no one will listen, SHE must get involved! And by involved she means going to the children’s school, hiding in Flora’s car at one point, while staking out the children, canvassing Floras neighbors and demanding interviews with Flora’s husband and the family he sold their old house to! 🤦🏾♀️
All of this is plausible to Beth, especially since she feels she may have slighted Flora in some way when they stopped being friends, and owes Flora her help, even if Flora says she doesn’t want it. And Flora DOES say she doesn’t want it. 😳
Pros: In my opinion, the premise of Beths meddling is paper thin. But, there are enough twists and turns to keep you interested. I enjoyed the story and given our current addiction to social media, I didn’t find Beth’s intrusiveness that far fetched. Beth’s family also makes for believable supportive cast and are both supportive and discouraging of her shenanigans when they should be.
There is an interesting overtone of some supernatural reason why the children aren’t aging. Are they vampires? Its a nod to a great plot that the actual reason is far more sinister, though you aren’t really sure till the bitter end.
Cons: Unfortunately, Flora’s response to all of Beths attention is not as believable. Beth is going to get on your nerves. More than a few times I thought ‘…or you could mind your business.’ And without giving up the ending, several of the characters come out being just..real mean. Like, Im pretty sure no real reason was identified why any of this happened except, I felt like torturing someone. Just mean and unlikable.
Even with its flaws, its a page turner and a quick read. The drama is nonstop and that keeps it interesting. If you like twists and turns, reading about busy bodies in action, narcissist and their wives, with a side plot of possible vampire children, read this. Goodbook 15 of 42.