This wonderfully dark cover put this book on my radar – it publishes in paperback on the 7th September.
Zoe and Ollie Morley tried for years to have a baby and couldn’t. They turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to adopt a little girl from birth. They named her Evie.
Seven years later, the family has moved to Yorkshire and grown in number: a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben. As a working mum it’s not easy for Zoe, but life is good.
But then Evie begins to receive letters and gifts.
The sender claims to be her birth father.
He has been looking for his daughter.
And now he is coming to take her back…
This was my first novel by Sanjida Kay and what an enjoyable one it was. I particularly liked the opening chapter, despite the reader knowing from the blurb, that Zoe and Ollie are adopting a baby, Kay introduced this novel with the couple on route to the hospital – it was a very good introduction to the novel and if you read this book without reading the blurb, you’ll find your first surprise at the end of the chapter.
Seven years later, Zoe and Ollie have a baby of their own but Evie is still very much their ‘first-born’ and the couple’s worst nightmare comes true when Evie’s dad comes to take her back. I read this novel in two sitting – Kay has a nice, easy writing style that allows you to fly through the pages. When Evie begins acting a little ‘off’, the trouble begins… My only real issue with this novel was, there was a point when Evie was wearing a dress and Zoe didn’t know where Evie got it from as she didn’t buy it for her, but she didn’t want to ask her where she got it because she didn’t want to risk upsetting her – at seven-years-old, Evie clearly didn’t buy it for herself. That annoyed me because if my child was wearing clothes and I didn’t know where they came from, the world is standing still until I find out!
Based on me thinking, ‘it couldn’t be that simple’, I figured out the twist in the novel, nonetheless, this novel does have a few surprises along the way. Even though I wasn’t fooled, I appreciate Kay’s ability to misdirect the reader several times. The portrayal of the family’s grief was realistic and Kay used the moor setting, where the family lived, to add a dark layer to the parent’s grief as it allows the reader to imagine some truly horrific circumstances.
This is another novel I’m placing in the ‘light-hearted’ psychological thriller category because I didn’t find it too dark or disturbing and the psychological thrills don’t run too deep. As a general fiction novel, I’d say this is a very good book but if you’re looking specifically for a mystery and thriller novel, this is one may fall a little short for you. For me, I didn’t find the plot too complex and I usually look for much darker content in my psychological thrillers.
However, I have no reservations recommending this novel and I look forward to reading more from this author.