Book Review: The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

Ever since meeting McDonald at a book event last year, and hearing her speak about her book, I’ve wanted to read it. I loved the premise, and I’m so pleased it lived up to expectation.

Book Description

They said it was an accident. Her mother knows they’re lying. But the truth comes with a price…


Abi Knight is startled awake in the middle of the night to a ringing phone and devastating news – her teenage daughter, Olivia, has been in a terrible accident.

Abi is told that Olivia slipped and fell from a bridge into the icy water below, and now she lies silent, dependent on life support.

But then Abi sees the angry bruises around Olivia’s wrists and learns that her sensible daughter is in fact three months pregnant . . .


My Thoughts

What a fantastic premise for a novel, and one I haven’t come across before. The Night Olivia Fell has an emotionally-driven plot, and is a must read for fans of psychological dramas. Right from the get-go, this novel hooks you, Abi hears the words no mother wants to hear, and from them on, you’re locked into this story. It taps into every mother’s fear, and Abi’s need to know the truth about what happened to Olivia becomes your need too! Her love for her child, her motherly instinct, drives this novel forward.

And if that wasn’t emotive enough, Olivia is pregnant, and when Abi meets her grandchild, it will also be the final goodbye to her daughter – cue the heartbreak, cos damn, that really got to me on an emotional level. This novel is very much a character-driven one, and the relationships between the characters were excellently displayed. Particularly the relationship between mother and daughter, hearing both Abi and Olivia speak about how close they were, their bond, was heartwarming. In contrast, was the hurt and anger at secrets keep and lies told, the actions that can put a strain on this bond – for every action, there is a reaction; and for every lie, there is a consequence.

Abi’s narration is in the present day, but we also get Olivia’s perspective detailing the events in the run up to her fall. These chapters were great at building suspense, each time you learned a bit more about what Olivia was up to, you saw that someone could potentially have motive, and that strengthened your belief that this wasn’t an accident. Also, McDonald got the ‘voice’ of a seventeen-year-old spot on, Olivia wasn’t wise beyond her years, nor did she come across as much younger than she was meant to be, and that was important in creating ‘the belief’ in this storyline. There was ample ‘bitchiness’, friendships, and cliques, just liked you’d expect – borderline cliché, but hey, that’s the life of some seventeen-year-olds!

This is one of those novels that I liked instantly, I was engaged, and invested. You may see it pegged as a psychological thriller, and it is in the sense that any book that captivates your mind has to psychologically thrilling; but this book is more at home in the psychological drama category, highly emotive in nature, with the right amount of suspense. Great characters, a unique plot, excellently executed! I absolutely recommend this one, and I look forward to reading more from McDonald.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

*My thanks to the publisher (HQ) for ganting me access to a digital copy of this title via Netgalley*

23 thoughts on “Book Review: The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

  1. Great review, Janel! The premise of this sounds so interesting; I think thrillers driven by the love of one character for another are so great. They tap into this side of ourselves we all know is there but don’t always acknowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

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