Published: January 9th, 2020 (Kindle)
April 30th, 2020 (Paperback)
Genre: Mystery, thriller.
Trigger Warnings: Mental health issues, postnatal depression
Today is my stop on the blog tour for this brilliant thriller. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part, and Orion and NetGalley for the eBook ARC of this novel.
They meet at their NCT Group. The only thing they have in common is that they’re all pregnant.
Three years later they’re all good friends. Aren’t they?
One Missing Husband.
Now the police have come knocking. Someone knows something.
And the trouble with secrets is that someone always tells.
Wow! What an exhilarating read this turned out to be! Sizzling with tension, this had me on the edge of my seat and up until the wee hours as I couldn’t put it down. The author threw some clever curveballs to throw us off track and I found myself unable to guess where it was going or who I should suspect. A heady mix that made this a delight to read.
When banker Ewan Upton is reported missing Iona and her partner are called in to investigate. His wife Bella is a mess. She has no idea where he could be and his missing passport indicates he planned to disappear. But there’s something niggling at Iona and she thinks there is more to the case. The night before Ewan vanished Bella had been out with a group of friends known as the Mother’s Club. The five women have been meeting regularly since having their babies three years ago but seem to not like each other or have much in common. Though they all have a framed copy of the same photo, taken the night of their first meeting, on display in their homes. Does Bella know what happened to her husband? And do the other mothers, who don’t seem to like each other, know the secret too?
The story is told in dual timelines; in the present day the police are investigating the disappearance of Ewan Upton, and in flashbacks we get to know Bella and the other mothers. They are an eclectic mix of people. All very different and not who you’d put together without the commonality of having babies at the same time. Though Ewan’s disappearance is the mystery that needs to be solved, it was in the flashbacks that the best storytelling occurs and we see the raw, no-holds-barred life of each of the women as they struggle with new motherhood, the changes to their relationships, to their bodies, and the fact that their life is now completely different. Their struggles are different and unique but they are all very relatable and true to life. I found these parts of the story emotional at times as they discuss some often brushed-over or hidden parts of parenthood. They were also my favourite parts as get to know each woman on a deeper level, which helped when the tension soared in the present day as we could understand their actions.
Bella is a mousy, downtrodden wife who’s let herself go since her son, Teddy was born. She suffers from postnatal depression which included hallucination when he was very young and lives in fear of it returning and maybe losing her precious boy. She is lacking in confidence, something that isn’t helped by her controlling, douchebag of a husband, Ewan. God I hated him! My spidey senses told me something was off about him from the start and he turned out to be an awful husband, father and human being who treated everyone like dirt and was only out for himself. I felt increasingly sad for Bella and angry at Ewan, hoping he didn’t return home so that she could have some chance of a happy life once she’d come to terms with his leaving.
This was the first time I’ve read a book by this author and I was blown away by the intricate, clever, riveting and twisty plot. She kept the reader in the dark about so much for most of the book and I loved that I was in the same position as Iona and her colleagues, trying to figure out if the Mothers Club were telling the truth and what had happened to Ewan. I was stumped. While I had some faint suspicions I was mostly clueless which made it all the more amazing when revelations and twists came and things began to fall into place. I was thrilled when Bella’s inner tigress awakened and things begin to turn in the story. The tension soared and it felt like I was on a rollercoaster ride I didn’t want to get off, unable to put the book down until I reached the end and discovered the truth at last.
If you like well-written and surprising psychological thrillers then read this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sarah Naughton’s debut novel, The Hanged Man Rises, was shortlisted for the Costa children’s award. It was followed by a second young adult thriller, The Blood List. Her thrillers for adults, Tattletale and The Other Couple (Orion) are Amazon bestsellers. Sarah lives in London with her husband and sons.