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The Push by Ashley Audrain

Published: January 7th, 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Thriller, Domestic Thriller

Today is my stop on the blog tour for this sensational debut. Thank you to Michael Joseph for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

*** Pre-order The Push now and be one of the first to discover why this novel you can’t put down is also the novel you will never forget . . . ***

What if your experience of motherhood was nothing like what you hoped for – but everything you always feared?

‘The women in this family, we’re different . . .’

The arrival of baby Violet was meant to be the happiest day of my life.

It was meant to be a fresh start.

But as soon as I held her in my arms I knew something wasn’t right. I have always known that the women in my family aren’t meant to be mothers.

My husband Fox says I’m imagining it. He tells me I’m nothing like my own mother, and that Violet is the sweetest child.

But she’s different with me. Something feels very wrong.

Is it her? Or is it me?

Is she the monster? Or am I?

The Push is a heart-pounding exploration of motherhood, obsession and the terrible price of unconditional love.

MY REVIEW:

“One day you’ll understand, Blythe. The women in this family… we’re different.”

What if there was something wrong with your child? Could you still love them? Would others see what you do? Is it you or them? 

Compelling, bold, unsettling, and thought-provoking, The Push explores themes of our expectations of motherhood, unconditional love, family,  and if monsters are born or made.

From the first pages the author had me in the palm of her hand. There is an immediate air of mystery and an impending sense of doom that made me excited to keep reading. I needed to know why Blythe was watching her daughter through the window and why she would feel the need to write her side of the story to give to her ex-husband. From the beginning there is also a spine-tingling terror attached to Violet, though I wasn’t sure if this was because she is someone to be feared or it was Blythe’s perception being pushed onto the reader. This conundrum is at the heart of the story as Blythe tries to solve the puzzle of if her daughter really is born a monster or if she is the monster for thinking that of her child. 

The idea of children being born evil or being deliberately manipulative is one that is controversial; you aren’t supposed to dislike your child let alone voice that feeling. We see in this story how people are aghast and disgusted with Blythe when she voices her concerns about Violet or tells them the things she’s done. Children are supposed to be innocent and born good. We like to believe that as parents we have an element of control over how they turn out and that by raising them the right way, they will be good people. When people do bad things we look for a reason – neglect, abuse, absent parents, poverty – anything that will reassure us this can’t happen to us. Not our children. This book addresses that fear in all of us that it may not be in our hands and that some people might just be born bad.

The characters are all well-written and compelling, particularly Blythe and Violet. Not since We Need To Talk About Kevin has a child given me the chills or been so unlikable. I thought the author wrote her brilliantly as while she evokes these feelings, we’re never quite sure if they’re the truth or if it is all in Blythe’s head. Every time I made my mind up about Violet something would happen to make me doubt my conclusion, the author keeping me on the edge of my seat until the final page. 

I liked the confessional style of writing and how it is mixed with flashbacks to the older generations of women in Blythe’s family. The flashbacks give important insight into not only Blythe’s mindset, but the mystery of the women in her family and the raw truth of motherhood. They also help to show how the past can ripple down through the generations with devastating effects. 

Riveting, pacy and insightful, The Push certainly packs a punch. It is a story that feels both shocking and sadly familiar and I think it will resonate with many people as every mother’s nightmare come true. I am still in awe that this is the author’s debut novel and can’t wait to read more from her in the future.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

TW: Child death, postnatal depression, mental illness, self harm.

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Ashley Audrain is a Canadian writer. During a July 2019 interview with the Toronto Star Audrain described her debut novel, The Push, as a “psychological drama told through the lens of motherhood.” Prior to turning her hand to writing, Audrain was publicity director for the publisher Penguin Canada.
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Blog Tours book reviews

The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce

Published: August 20th, 2020
Publisher: Wildfire
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction, Domestic Thriller

Welcome to my stop on the tour for this sizzling thriller. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for the invitation to take part and Wildfire for the gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

Shocking, dark, addictive – THE LIES YOU TOLD is the compulsive new thriller from Harriet Tyce, best selling author of BLOOD ORANGE.

Can you tell the truth from the lies?

Sadie loves her daughter and will do anything to keep her safe.

She can’t tell her why they had to leave home so quickly – or why Robin’s father won’t be coming with them to London.

She can’t tell her why she hates being back in her dead mother’s house, with its ivy-covered walls and its poisonous memories.

And she can’t tell her the truth about the school Robin’s set to start at – a school that doesn’t welcome newcomers.
Sadie just wants to get their lives back on track.

But even lies with the best intentions can have deadly consequences…

‘I read The Lies You Told in two days, barely able to turn the pages fast enough. It’s spare and taut, the sense of wrongness building in chilling, skilfully written layers, with a jaw dropping last line twist’ Lisa Jewell, #1 bestselling author

‘I adored Blood Orange and therefore could not wait to get my hands on The Lies You Told. It is a triumphant encore, every bit as intriguing, well-written and addictive as its predecessor’ Sara Collins, award-winning author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton

‘An absolute page turner with a twist you’ll read twice because you can’t believe you missed it’ John Marrs, author of What Lies Between Us

MY REVIEW:

“Can you tell the truth from the lies? “

Chilling, addictive and surprising, The Lies You Told is a sizzling domestic thriller that I had me hooked from beginning to end. The author had me transfixed, unable to put the book down to sleep like I should and spent every minute I wasn’t reading thinking about it. 

Sadie was a great protagonist. She was likeable and relatable, trying to stay strong and hold it all together while feeling like she is falling apart on the inside. She has a lot to deal with: her marriage ending, moving back from another country, unwelcoming parents at her daughter’s new school, and the toxic legacy of her late mother that haunts the walls of their home. But she is determined to build a new life for herself and her daughter, and I was rooting for her to succeed.  

But that isn’t the whole story. This is an intricate and layered novel with a creeping malice that lingers in the air and seeps from the pages, casting a shadow of foreboding and suspense. In short chapters written in italics, the story flashes forward to a Sunday yet to come. At first Sadie is telling herself not to worry, that Robin is safe, slowly escalating in tension until part two, when we finally arrive at that Sunday and follow the heart-stopping events as they happen. 

This was my first time reading anything by Tyce, and she lived up to all the great things I’ve heard. She tackles a wide range of topics such as domestic violence, toxic families, parental pressure, bullying and grooming, crafting a tense, twisty page-turner with a chilling edge. The story is skillfully plotted and filled with compelling characters that enrich the suspense. 

Darkly atmospheric and utterly riveting, this kept me guessing right up until the jaw-dropping finale. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys psychological fiction.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✫

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Harriet Tyce was born and grew up in Edinburgh. She did a degree in English Literature at Oxford University before a law conversion course at City University, following which she was a criminal barrister for nearly ten years.

Having escaped law and early motherhood, she started writing, and recently completed the MA in Creative Writing – Crime Fiction at the University of East Anglia. Blood Orange is her first novel, and The Lies You Told will be published in August 2020.

She lives in north London with her husband and children, and two rather demanding pets, a cat and a dog.

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