When new mother Ali Baker learns of her mother’s tragic death in a car accident, her baby son is only five weeks old. She had expected her mother to visit within the next few days so she was curt with her on the phone – thinking they could talk when she arrived… Her mother had said there was something important she wanted to discuss. Now, Ali will never know what that something was, and she regrets not taking the time to hear her mother out.
Struggling with being a new Mom, and still feeling the physical effects of the difficult birth, Ali’s marriage is under strain. She packs up her baby son and drives from Manchester to Norfolk to go through her mother’s house and possessions. Once there, she discovers long-held family secrets.I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, but don’t believe it is correctly categorized in its description as a ‘thriller’. There were elements of mystery, domestic suspense, and even romance within its well executed pages.
The descriptions and characterizations were very well drawn – as one can expect from Caroline England who is using the pen name C.E. Rose in this instance. Some of the characters were appealing and others not so much. I didn’t care for Ali’s husband at all. I loved Ali’s mother’s gardener, George and pictured him as looking like the actor Tom Burke.
The setting, in the Norfolk Broads, added to my enjoyment of the book and gave some scenes added strength.
I liked the protagonist and could empathize with her situation. A former criminal lawyer, now not working, and with an infant son, she is struggling to cope with her new ‘normal’. Family secrets are always a huge enticement to me when choosing a book, and there were some doozies here. There were two major plot twists, one I anticipated, and one I was surprised by.
This is a slow burner, but worth the journey. It visited the nature vs. nurture debate and would make a great movie. Recommended!
Publication date: August 11, 2021 Publisher: Hera Books
C.E. Rose is a pseudonym of the novelist Caroline England. She is a former divorce lawyer based in Manchester. Beneath the Skin, her debut novel, was published by Avon HarperCollins in October 2017. Her second book, My Husband’s Lies, was released in May 2018 and became a top ten Kindle bestseller. Betray Her and Truth Games are her most recent releases.
She has written two novels under the pen name C.E. Rose. The House of Hidden Secrets AND The House On The Water’s Edge.