Frankie and Sophie were best friends from early childhood.
Sophie Collier came to Oldcliffe-On-Sea with her mother and brother when they ran away from Sophie’s abusive father. Francesca (Frankie) Howe lived with her affluent mother and father in the seaside hotel that they ran. Frankie had never had a close relationship with her mother and preferred the company and attention of her dad, Alistair Howe. The beautiful, entitled, and popular Frankie took the less popular and plain Sophie under her wing and the girls were best friends throughout their childhood and adolescence.
Sophie spent a lot of time at Frankie’s parents pink hotel and came to be fond of Frankie’s Dad. Fatherless, she craved a male role model in her life and Frankie’s Dad was always kind to her, letting her borrow books from him etc. When they are sixteen, both girls develop a crush on the same handsome local boy, Jason.
Frankie and Sophie hold a dark secret about a devastating event that happened when they were just sixteen.
When she was just twenty-one years old, in early September of 1997 Sophie died after she fell from the town’s decrepit Victorian pier – taking her secret with her…
“Can you convince yourself to believe your own lies?”
Eighteen years have passed since that fateful September and Frankie runs her family’s successful hotel business, now located in London. She has put her life back in Oldcliffe-On-Sea behind her and proceeded with her life – until she gets a phone call from Sophie’s brother, Daniel. They have found some human remains and are going to test them to see if it is Sophie. Daniel wants Frankie to accompany him when he goes to identify the remains and to help him discover what really happened to his beloved sister. Against her better judgement, Frankie agrees – partly because her current relationship is not working and she craves a little space to think.
“Maybe you can never really escape your past.”
Her return to the seaside town brings about a series of events and meetings with people from her youth. Also, her youthful attraction to Sophie’s brother Daniel seems to have blossomed into an even more powerful emotion. Then… disturbing notes are delivered to where Frankie is staying:
Has someone discovered the secret from Frankie and Sophie’s past?
Then, Frankie begins to see Sophie. Is she imagining things now?
“This place isn’t good for me. Too many memories, too many ghosts.”
Written via two narratives alternating in perspective between Frankie’s present and Sophie’s past, this psychological thriller kept me riveted throughout. This is a novel of the often complicated dynamic of female friendships and the destructive nature of lies bred by secrecy. Recommended to all who enjoy a thriller with strong characterization and who don’t object to an unreliable narrator.
If you think you might enjoy this thriller, add it to your Goodreads TBR!I received a digital copy of this novel from HarperCollins Publishers via Edelweiss.
Of the two covers for “Local Girl Missing”, I much prefer the one with the roses on the right. Which is your favorite cover?
Claire Douglas has worked as a journalist for fifteen years writing features for women’s magazines and national newspapers, but she’s dreamed of being a novelist since the age of seven. She finally got her wish after winning the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award, with her first novel, THE SISTERS. Born in Bristol, she now lives in Bath with her husband and two children.