Posted in Book Reviews

#OrendaMonth Book 6: In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings @OrendaBooks @MandaJJennings + Giveaway!

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I can hardly believe this will probably be my last review for the Orenda Month! I haven’t been able to finish my next read so unless a miracle happens, In Her Wake is my last piece of work, and what a fantastic way to end the review part of this project!

in her wake
Title: In Her Wake
Author: Amanda Jennings
Publisher: Orenda Books
First date of publication: 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Review copy
Number of pages: 320
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own

A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life. Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.

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Imagine everything you know is a lie. A big fat lie and you are at the center of it. Except you have no idea. You are surrounded by the familiarity of faces and places and habits. You have a name, a life, a husband. You’re like everybody else.

Until a fateful day rips apart the curtain and you are faced with a mirror reflecting a world you thought you knew.

This is what happens to Bella.

It took me one page to warm and connect to Bella, as we meet her on her way to her parent’s house after her mother’s death. The first-person narrative made me feel close to her from the beginning through the amazing descriptive and introspective prose used by the author. The event leading Bella back to the family house also played a part, the heavy cloud of sudden grief was written in such a beautiful and human way that my heart broke for this newly motherless woman. It only took me a few pages to feel tears prick my eyes and before I knew it, the pain was all over me.

To say this story is emotional is a euphemism. This story brings up each and every emotion in your body and mind. You’ll feel as if a bulldozer has ran over, or better, crushed you over and over and left you, cold and wet, on the road. Because Bella’s mother’s death is only the trigger of a series of events that will draw Bella, and you, to an unknown road, like a naked child without any landmark, scared and wounded. Suddenly the blinders are lifted and you realize you are not where you belong. But how do you find your way back?

Now don’t think this is the darkest and most depressing story you’ll ever find, because it isn’t. Bella is a complex character with a spectacular hidden strength and those pages tell the story of how a woman can free herself from a shell she had no idea she was stuck in and how she can find the woman she really is.

Bella is a character who will stay with me, her determination and vulnerability moved me more than I can express and the author made her so easy to relate to that the exploration of the character’s identity can only make you think about what important things as family mean to you.

“You can’t turn off love, that’s the tragedy.”

It takes mistakes, tears, alcohol, hope, smiles, new faces and places, and betrayal, but Bella grows in front of our eyes in a realistic and authentic way. I won’t give any details regarding the series of shocks she must face as this is one of those books you need to go into as blind as possible, which means this review is on the shorter side. But hit after hit, Bella finds herself on her way to her true identity.

This is no walk in the park. Secrets, lies, time, and guilt can severe bonds, and I rooted for Bella with every fiber of my being, wishing her all the happiness. At first, I was hoping someone would be here to help her figure things out, but she is the proof only yourself can make a difference in your life through the choices you make. Yes, support is needed, but in the end, you’re the only one capable of saving yourself. I detected very early on the pattern of control in her husband’s behavior, and it was the first clue that told me something was very wrong. I was relieved to see Bella open her eyes to her world, old and new, and to step into life after so many years just letting it pass by. The experiences she goes through during the story teaches her more about herself than all the years she “lived” before her mother’s death. Still, Bella cannot erase her old self and I was amazed by the way Amanda Jennings depicted Bella’s internal struggles and the conflicts which arose from her new situation.

Jumps to the past give you a better insight about why and how things ended up the way they did and while I still cannot forgive what happened, the author made sure to bring enough material to the story for us to try and understand.

How naive he’d been to think he could protect her forever, but he was damned if he’d stop trying.

I couldn’t tear myself away from In Her Wake, this book is one of the purest character-driven story I have ever read.

While I had a few of niggles regarding her new situation, or more particularly her mother’s, and how things turned up, I am glad the author chose this side to bring Bella what she needed. I know, this is totally vague but if I gave away what I am talking about now, it would ruin so much of the story for you!

With In Her Wake, Amanda Jennings masterfully captures the complexities of identity, relationships, broken souls and wasted time, and she delivers a true masterpiece about how strong family bonds are.

I received a copy of this book from Karen Sullivan. This unbiased review is my thanks to her and the author. 

Find out more about Amanda Jennings in my next Orenda Tree post!

You can get the book in your favorite bookstore, on Amazon, or on the Orenda Books’ ebookstore


And now, it is time to thank everyone for their support with a second giveaway! On the blog this time and the prize is …

THE SIGNED COPY OF THE ORENDA STORY OF YOUR CHOICE! 

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Here are the rules: 

  1. The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.
  2. The winner will be announced in the #OrendaMonth Wrap-Up post on April 1st and will have 72 hours to send an email to chocolatenwaffles@gmail.com. Without any contact from the winner, another one should be chosen.
  3. The book you choose should already have been published at this date and will be granted according to Orenda Books’ stock availability. If it is not available, you’ll be allowed to choose another one of course 🙂

All you have to do is go to this Rafflecopter magical box below and get lucky!

The Orenda Rafflecopter Giveaway

Good luck everyone!

66 thoughts on “#OrendaMonth Book 6: In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings @OrendaBooks @MandaJJennings + Giveaway!

  1. It has to be Six Stories. Although I may still change my mind after reading some of the Scandi Noir. You never know!

    Also, you have plenty of time since we agreed Orenda Month would carry on through April 😉

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  2. Brilliant review Donna and you’re right. A great way to end a brilliant feature month. Loved all of your posts – well done you. I don’t know quite how I’d choose a favourite book as I have loved every one of the books that I’ve read under the Orenda banner. All give such different aspects and styles and all are too good to pick a favourite. The Bird Tribunal. Or maybe – In Her Wake. Or could it be A Suitable Lie. Or The Mountain in My Shoe. Or, no Dark Iceland Series… ah – you get my point. Too too many 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I am so grateful for the support I received and to see you enjoyed this Orenda ride as much as I did! 🙂
      Hahaha, I know, I couldn’t pick a favorite either, this is why I leave the choice to the winner to grab the book they wish! Orenda Books has too many fantastic stories to choose from.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read Sealskin because the genre leaves me on the fence on whether or not I would enjoy it! 🙂 Good choices! 😀 Both very different but very good stories! Good luck!!

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    1. I am so happy to hear this, this project has a special place in my heart and it required a different way of blogging so I’m relieved to see others have enjoyed this feature as much as I enjoyed doing it! xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I love that you loved it 😀 It was a really fun month! I still have a couple of branches and the roots to talk about! 😀 I’m sad to see it end but the Orenda Books love will live on! I couldn’t decide which book to put in the giveaway, they are all too fantastic, that’s why I leave the choice to the winner, hahah!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh this sounds intense and wonderful at the same time. I could not even fathom, but Bella seems like such a well developed and thought out protagonist! Love this review. I just feel like this storyline might stress me a tad haha, ❤

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  4. I can’t believe it’s been (nearly) a months since you started your Orenda Month feature Donna, it feels like time has flown by (then again I say that pretty much every month so I should probably stop being surprised when it happens)
    Anyways great review, I haven’t read very many character driven books but the ones I have I loved and the reason I simply because of the development that goes into them. It sounds like this was the case and more with In Her Wake and I’m so glad to see you enjoyed it as well! 🙂

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    1. I know! I feel totally the same way! Except I’m exhausted because I’m not used to blogging so much and I’ve spent my days blogging and commenting so I have no strength left!! I admire bloggers who post daily!!
      The character development in this book is wonderful, the identity crisis she goes through makes her discover who she really is and it’s beautiful to witness.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all your Orenda Books posts, they’re one my fav publishers for sure! It’s nigh on impossible to chose my fav of their books as I’ve never rated one less that 4⭐️ but I’m gonna go with Deep Down Dead as it was my first 5⭐️ read of 2017. And I’m in awe that I followed Steph as a blogger and now she’s an author!

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    1. I love Orenda Books and I am thrilled to see all the support the feature got this month, thank you so much 🙂 This project means a lot to me and I am so happy to have been able to share so much with everyone. Orenda Books is now my go-to publisher! I can’t believe I haven’t found a book I did not like, haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds like a very emotional book but also one that could be inspiring. It’s a lot of fun to do rafflecopter giveaways, I loved checking in and seeing the entries that I had each day. If I were lucky enough to win, I would re read all your orenda reviews and discuss with you which book I think I would most enjoy.
    Thank you for a great giveaway.
    Amanda.

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    1. You summed it up very well 🙂 I think one should be in the right mood to read In Her Wake, it’s emotionally heavy!
      I’m so afraid of doing something wrong and ruin the entries, haha, but you are so right, it’s fun to check the entries!
      That would be a lovely discussion for a difficult choice! 🙂 Good luck, Amanda! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s been a fabulous month Donna! Credit to you! I loved Six Stories 😍 I would love to Exquisite to my book pile but as that’s not out yet, Cursed would be my choice

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    1. Aw thanks so much! It’s been fantastic indeed! 🙂 I can’t believe the support I received with this project! Orenda Books deserves all the light! 🙂 Six Stories is SO GOOD!!! Wait… they all are haha!

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  8. Excellent review! You’ve definitely convinced me I need to read this one as well… Character that you can connect to right away, strong character development, feelings being bulldozered over; where do I sign up?!

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  9. This sounds highly intriguing! Well I have to say my favourite Orenda book is Louise Beech’s How to Be Brave, because it is not only a fabulous inspired story, but it accompanied me through one of the most harrowing experiences ever, with my daughter in hospital and so even though there are many fabulous sounding books, the next Orenda book I want and plan to read is her next book, The Mountain in my Shoe!

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    1. I haven’t read How to Be Brave because I feel I need to be in the right mood for it, but I have heard so much praise about it 🙂 I am sorry to hear that you had to go through a terrible time, it is nice when a book can accompany you this way. The Mountain in my Shoe! What a fantastic choice!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read Sealskin because I can’t decide whether or not I’d enjoy the genre! I hope you find time to indulge in some awesome Orenda Books soon 🙂 xxx

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  10. Wow you did it! It was a great month, for you but really for us too, to be treated to so many reviews of fantastic books! I don’t know which one I’d choose if I’d win, a Louise Beech novel or this one. I like it that they’re both so emotional and with deep feelings.. I’m craving that lately.

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    1. I did it! Still three posts and it will be over, I can’t believe I made it through an entire and intense month of blogging and reached my goals and beyond! I’m exhausted but happy!! Thank you SO MUCH for your support and I am over the moon that you enjoyed the Orenda Month! It’s so hard to choose one book!!

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  11. I don’t know, Donna… You get better and better and better with each review you write and I always get so pulled in! I doubt after reading your review (any of your reviews) anyone could hold back from wanting to read the book themselves… and you definitely keep making me want to drop everything and read what you’ve just read. Basically- TLDR- fabulous review! 😀

    Thank you so much for the giveaway opportunity- trying my luck for sure! 🙂 ❤

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    1. Okay, you made my day with this comment. Wow! THANK YOU! I keep thinking of those reviews as terrible ramblings that are absolutely not convincing, haha! But I can only agree on dropping everything to devour Orenda Books! I mean the story, not Karen, right? :p
      You are very very welcome, I’m happy to be able to share the love xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. SO EMOTIONAL! I was trying to not put myself in her shoes because it was too painful! But I am so happy the author did not make it a heavy and dark book, it’s just life and what you make of it, so yes, there are tears, but there’s so much more to it!
      You are very welcome, love spreading the love!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s embarrassing how many of these books I’ve read but if I had to pick 1 as a favourite, it would “Where Roses Never Die”. Cleverly plotted with poignant moments that made me think.

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  13. Another one for my TBR. Great review Donna and you have done such an amazing job with this feature. I look forward to seeing what you have planned next!

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    1. So happy this book joins the rest of your TBR pile! I can’t wait to discuss it with you! Next is… READING! Seriously, I realized all those hours of blogging every day could be turned into reading! Well, I’m sure studies and the dogs and life is going to get in the way, but I’m really hoping for reading time and rest!

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  14. Gosh, has anyone told you how intense some of your analogies are? Crushed by a bulldozer…. I hope such a thing would be quick and painless, as soon as it reaches my head! This was a fantastic review though! These Orenda books always sound so good! Where are the bad ones?! 😛

    – Lashaan

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    1. Haha, actually yes, a teacher made the remark once! But it was the best way to convey how powerful this book is! Thank you so much! Still looking for the bad Orenda Books…No luck so far! xx

      Liked by 1 person

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