Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood.
Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart.
The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.
And when Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of their daughter’s funeral.
What really happened that day at the river?
Where has Maggie’s husband gone?
And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?
Isn’t it fantastic when an author carries all that was great from their previous novel into their next novel? It’s the very thing that allows you, as the reader, to recognise their work, to get to know their style, and I think that’s what essentially keeps you returning to an author’s work, these assurances. Now, I don’t mean repetition in plot, I mean repetition in skill! When I read Ellwood’s previous novel, My Sister’s Bones, I loved the dark themes running through the plot, the feelings of unsettlement created within me, the emotional tug, and how the plot plays on your perception of what’s real. And I loved that all these things were present in Day of the Accident too!
The fragility of Maggie’s character was expertly displayed, as she tries to put the events together that led to the accident, you’re right there with her, trying to piece things together. What is a true memory and what is Maggie wishing to be true? Ellwood’s ability to push Maggie to the brink of sanity really had me unsure of what to believe, and this created the suspense that propelled me through this novel. At times, this novel was poignant, with the subject matter involved (waking up from a coma to find your daughter has died and your husband is gone) it needed to be, to be invested in this novel, you have to feel that emotion surrounding Maggie.
That’s not to say this novel doesn’t stretch reality, and you might have to suspend your disbelief towards the end. However, it’s wrong not to mention something else that was present in the last novel, and carried in to this one, and that’s the ‘commercial’ nature of the ending – it made this novel similar to other psychological thrillers, and took away from the brilliance that came before. I think this comes from the powerful nature of the plot, you’re so invested in Maggie’s plight, perhaps to the point you forget this novel takes places within the fictional realm where anything is possible. I think I was expecting more of a subtle ending. That’s not to say the ending isn’t good and the twist didn’t work well, because it absolutely did, it just had a bigger focus of the entertainment factor than I was expecting.
What is great about this novel are the layers that are slowly peeled back in order to get to the ending, to the truth. I made my predictions based on the feeling that something is not quite right, and I missed the mark – but it’s that feeling when you know something is amiss, and you’re reaching for it, that makes this novel addictive.
If you enjoyed Ellwood’s previous novel, you’ll like this one. Day of the Accident is an addictive read, dark in nature, suspenseful and emotional, a main character you like even more with every page you turn, and a plot that will have you guessing till the end.
*My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this title and inviting me to participate in the blog tour*
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