Happy Saturday! Are you thinking about taking your kids somewhere today? Check my review of Now You See Her, you might think twice about it!!!
I would like to thank Penguin Random House for inviting me to review their addictive summer psychological thriller. This review is my unbiased opinion.
Title: Now You See Her
Author: Heidi Perks
Date of publication: 26th July 2018
Number of pages: 400
Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second …
Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.
Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.
How much do you trust your friends?
How much do you know about them?
When mother-of-three Charlotte agrees to take her friend Harriet’s daughter to the school fete, she has no idea that this kind and mundane act will have tremendous consequences for everyone. I did not know either. I am now convinced I will never take my kids (or others’) to those events!
Now You See Her talked to me instantly. The blurb was intriguing enough for me to not think twice and agree to review the book. What exactly drew me to it?
First and foremost, the originality of the plot. No simple husband and wife domestic noir, no police procedural, no ‘regular’ psychological thriller.
Another missing-persons case? Yes, but with a twist, a layer that I had never read before: women friendship. We don’t get to see them explored enough but the author’s idea of leaving your child to someone you talk to, you trust, you rely on, is the perfect background to set a compelling and intense read.
Told through both women’s voices and with a Before and Now timelines, you get to know Charlotte and Harriet through each other’s eyes, something I felt was beautifully done. Where a relationship lays, two points of view happen. What you share, what you keep to yourself, how you interpret the other’s reaction, everything is subjective. At times, I felt I was reading two different stories with a oh-so-thin thread reuniting them: Alice. The missing little girl.
Losing your child in a crowd is a parent’s nightmare, but what do you do when the missing child is not yours? I was torn between my sympathy for Charlotte and my broken heart for the mother’s horrendous ordeal. Reading the ‘Before’ chapters kept me hungry for more. I was given answers to questions I hadn’t thought about! Going back and forth kept me on my toes and had me thinking about just how quick things can go wrong.
Two lives are at the heart of Now You See Her but the waves they swim through impact many other lives. Charlotte’s kids and ex-husband, Harriet’s husband, friends, neighbours, an entire town. In our days, missing kids make the front page quickly and journalists often act as vultures to reach their audience, feeding off people’s despair to satisfy a voyeurism we are guilty of. Have you never thought ‘It could have been me/my kid/my friend/mother…’ when reading or watching the news? I know I have. Now You See Me allowed me to put myself in the shoes of each party.
Could Charlotte be considered guilty for Alice’s disappearance? Would it have been different had Harriet been less protective of her daughter, letting her learn how to behave on her own? Lots of questions ran through my mind when the search began but what I thought would be a case of two parties clashing in a black and white backdrop suddenly turned into a complicated tale of families, trust, friends, secrets, and lies. The author leads you into a dark room with no escape door, each character stuck in their role, in their guilt, in their life. I am not a mother, but God did I feel for both women. I can barely leave my dogs to someone for an hour, I can’t imagine leaving my child to someone. Yet, I was raised by an overprotective mother and I would be lying if I said it did not play a part in my being crazy!!
On top of the obvious question about motherhood, Heidi Perks pokes into family life and family bonds, testing waters and most of all, what women can do for one another. Manipulation can take you so far, is there a hand strong enough to bring you back? The novel’s pace is absolutely perfect, ratcheting up tension as you turn pages, stirring feelings and leaving you begging for answers. Fingers are pointed. The weight of responsibility and our human need to find a culprit to alleviate our pain taint the novel in a chillingly realistic way.
I did not know what to believe, I suspected there was more than met the eye and boy I was so right! I never once guessed what would happen next! I was simply and utterly addicted!! I couldn’t tear myself away from the book and I just got swallowed in the action and the skillfully dissected emotions the author played with.
Now You See Her is a strong psychological thriller led by a five-star array of characters you will love to question!
Get your copy on Amazon or Waterstones!