“I don’t know where you are…
I don’t know what I’ve done…
Teenager Abigail Ryder is devastated when she gets home from school to find her family gone. Nothing makes sense. Things are missing from the house and her stepsisters’ room is completely empty. But the police think she’s trouble, and when grandmother Eleanor tells her to forget them all and move on, there’s no choice other than face the future – alone.
Fourteen years on, Abi and Adam are a happy couple on the verge of parenthood. But when the past comes back to haunt Abi, the only way forward is to go back and uncover the truth – and reveal the dreadful secrets a mother has been hiding all these years.”
I had heard so many great things about this book that I jumped at the chance to read it. I can see why people absolutely love it, but I’m afraid I didn’t so much. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great read and I did enjoy it. It was just missing something for me (when I work out what ‘something’ is I’ll let you know). I’m still umming and ahhing over my star rating, hopefully I can decide before I reach the end of this review!
Abigail, a sulky teenager, returns home one day after school to find her mother and twin sisters have packed up and left. Where? She has no idea. Luckily her grandmother, Eleanor, is on hand to explain the situation to the police and calm everything down. She hands Abi a wodge of cash and tells her to get on with her life which Abi does with the aplomb of a teenager; drink, drugs, nightclubs.
Before long Abigail has moved on with her life, but something is missing. She makes a disastrous decision which leaves her painfully alone. Deep down she knows what she needs to do, and that’s find her twin sisters. Fourteen years have passed but she knows it won’t be easy. Secrets and lies rule her family, they are interwoven into the very heart of it. She couldn’t find them then, does she have any hope of finding them now…?
The story is told from three perspectives; Abigail, her mother Kathryn and the twins, Hannah and Lauren. I couldn’t stand Kathryn. It’s been a while since one character in a book made me feel such repulsion and disgust. Granted, there were other things going on with her but aaarrggghh…I wanted to shake her. The obvious villain, Eleanor, didn’t register anywhere near Kathryn on my ‘I don’t like this character’ scale *shudder*. Abigail’s story is told in the form of letters to her husband, Adam. I found this a clever way of bringing further layers into this dark story.
Abigail and the girls are well written and I did warm to all three; maybe less towards Lauren but I think that is what Heidi Perks would want. I loved Abigail’s feistyness, particularly during one scene towards the end of the book (can’t say anymore without spoilers). I was cheering Abi on and was incredibly pleased when the scene ended the way it did.
I’m afraid to say I did find Beneath The Surface a little obvious in places. Saying that, I still enjoyed the book – I just gave myself a little pat on the back for spotting what was coming! The story flows well and I was engaged throughout. It’s well written and I liked Heidi Perks’ style. I would definitely read more of Heidi’s work.
Would I recommend this book? I would, but for me it lacked pizzazz. I think I wanted a little more oomph but can’t begin to tell you how or where that oomph needed to be! After some intense pondering I have come to the conclusion that Beneath The Surface and I just weren’t a good match. It’s a great book, it just wasn’t for me.
Three and a half out of five stars.
Many thanks to Anna at Red Door Publishing for providing me with a copy of Beneath The Surface in exchange for an honest review.
Beneath The Surface by Heidi Perks was published in the UK by Red Door Publishing on 24th March 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
Heidi Perks was born in October 1973 in Bournemouth. She loved writing as a child, and spent many hours making up stories, poems and even magazines that she would sell to her family for 20p.
She graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then moved to London to start a career in marketing. But it wouldn’t be long before she moved back to the south coast again, where her career developed further.
In 2009 her daughter, Bethany, was born, followed two years later by a son, Joseph. Thrown into the new world of motherhood Heidi decided to make some changes to her life. She left her job and in 2012 took pen to paper and starting writing a novel based on an idea she had on holiday six months earlier.
The following year her application for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course was accepted. Heidi became one of fifteen writers who were all coming together in an online space with the same dream: to improve their writing and their novels. With the benefit of experienced authors and agents to hand Heidi decided to make the most of the opportunity by starting a new book. And so the first chapters of Beneath The Surface were born.
With the guidance of agent Sheila Crowley, and the help and support of Clare Christian and Heather Boisseau of Red Door publishing, Heidi is finally realising her dream of seeing her first book in print. Beneath The Surface is due out 24 March 2016.
Heidi is now writing her next novel.