“A Game for all the Family” by Sophie Hannah – Book Review

“People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe.” ~ Andy Rooney

a game for all the familyWM

Publisher’s blurb: Independent Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…  After escaping London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible in her beautiful home in Devon. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school.  Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody’s been expelled – there is, and was, no George. Then the anonymous calls start: a stranger, making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big and one small, to fit a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be…




Justine Merrison, a former television executive, has resigned from her high pressure career and moved to a manor house in Kingswear, Devon with her husband Alex (an opera singer) and her teenage daughter Ellen.  This family was very interesting and I loved the parts of the novel in which they featured – in other words the parts that were ‘in the real world’.  I enjoyed the part where Justine brings home a Bedlington terrier puppy who is called Figgy.  Also, I liked that Justine was newly free of her career and that she felt almost ‘smug’ about her newfound freedom. She is burnt out and craves nothing and she wants to do nothing alone.

The introduction of a mysterious, threatening caller added to the plot immensely.  As did the wry humour interspersed within the narrative.

this is how I imagined Speedwell House would look - overlooking the River Dart.

this is how I imagined Speedwell House would look – overlooking the River Dart.

When Ellen is tasked by a teacher to write a story, she and her best friend George decide to swap stories.  True stories.  She tells him the story of how her mother left her job in London and he tells her his family story as told to him by his mother.  It is this story that comprises the second storyline throughout the novel.  At first I enjoyed it, but then I became more and more unhappy as it became more complicated and convoluted.

The narrative delves so deeply into Ellen’s story that it eventually crosses over into the main plot – and there is where I began to feel disappointed…

This is a novel which examines truthfulness and falsehood.  Lies. Lies we tell others and those we tell ourselves.  How chilling it is to believe one’s own lies…

Firstly I have to say that I’ve read several of Sophie Hannah’s novels AND that I have enjoyed each and every one.  Her mastery of the written word and the essence of the mystery novel is top notch.  It is for this reason that I requested “A game for all the family” from Edelweiss.  This novel, though as well written as her others, did not fulfill my expectations and I think that is because I found the dual storyline just too ‘over-the-top’ for my full enjoyment.   Sophie Hannah has an imagination that is unsurpassed, but this time her novel was just too far-fetched.  Sadly, the ending was a let-down as well.

I will read further novels from Sophie Hannah as I enjoy her narrative style and genre.

I am grateful to William Morrow and Edelweiss for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in exchange for my unbiased review.


SophieSophie Hannah Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 32 languages and 51 territories.  In 2014, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Sophie published a new Hercule Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a bestseller in more than fifteen countries.  In September 2016, her second Poirot novel, Closed Casket, will be published.

In 2013, Sophie’s novel The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards.  Two of her crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012.


About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, Psychological thrillers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to “A Game for all the Family” by Sophie Hannah – Book Review

  1. Great review! I nominated you for a Liebster Award, check it out over here — https://thecatcherinthebook.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/liebster-award-nomination/


    • Fictionophile says:

      Thank you for nominating me for the Liebster Award. I am very flattered.
      BUT… as my blog states (https://fictionophile.wordpress.com/about/) I do NOT participate in blogger awards, blog hops, or other tagging memes.
      I have tried this type of venture previously and found that it was just too time consuming and took away from my reading and reviewing time. I dislike the whole ‘chain letter’ aspect of the awards. Also, I feel uncomfortable ‘tagging’ others to participate. Sorry to sound so ungrateful…


  2. skyecaitlin says:

    Thank you for your candor: I was truly getting excited, until the ending. It still sounds like a nice read.


    • Fictionophile says:

      It IS still a good read. You just have to let your imagination flow – and be in the right mood to accept eccentricity and the implausible.


  3. I agree with you here! Loved it to begin with, but it got more and more confusing and bogged down as it went on. I adore Sophie Hannah, but I don’t think this was one of her best!


  4. I have only read one by Sophie Hannah and never picked up another but over the years seeing all the reviews I think I may try again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s