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!
Title: In Her Wake
Author: Amanda Jennings
Publisher: Orenda Books
First date of publication: 2016
Source: Review copy
Number of pages: 320
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.
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!
Here are the rules:
- The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.
- The winner will be announced in the #OrendaMonth Wrap-Up post on April 1st and will have 72 hours to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Without any contact from the winner, another one should be chosen.
- 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!