Happy Monday everyone! I am so excited to kick off the week with a wonderful book. I have been lucky recently with my reads but this one is special and I only needed one sitting to finish it! That’s just how good it is!
I received an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This is my thank you to the Legend Press team!
Title: She Chose Me
Author: Tracey Emerson
Date of publication: 15th October 2018
Publisher: Legend Press
Not having a child can change your life as much as having one.’
Grace has returned to London after twenty years abroad to manage her dying mother’s affairs. When she receives a blank Mother’s Day card in the post, she is confused and unsettled. Who could have sent it to her and why? She isn’t a mother.
Another Mother’s Day card arrives. Then come the silent phone calls. Haunted by disturbing flashbacks, Grace starts to unravel. Someone is out to get her. Someone who knows what she has done. Someone who will make her face the past she has run from for so long.
Emerson creates an intricate web in this intense psychological thriller whose high energy and fast-pace will have you racing towards the climactic conclusion.
Let’s be honest. I am addicted to psychological thrillers. But sometimes when you binge-read a genre, it become more difficult to find surprises, good or bad!
I picked She Chose Me for its title. There was something about the statement that sounded like fate, like a doom over someone’s head. An active verb that just seemed so ominous I had to know what it was hiding. The synopsis is perfectly balanced to give you as little as possible and this is how I love them. Sometimes when a blog tour date gets near and I haven’t read the novel yet, I refresh my memory with a quick glance at what the book is about and most of the time, I end up disappointed. Either because it creates expectations or throws big hints at you to make sure your brain will connect the book to a different but successful psychological thriller, hoping you’ll get into the right mind set and get hooked before you know it, at times when the story itself doesn’t deserve all the love.
No such nonsense here. Actually, diving into She Chose Me was like walking in a snow storm without a coat. No landmark, no (too) familiar pattern. I was one of those characters in the Silent Hill video games, surrounded by fog and disorientated. I knew right there that I wouldn’t be able to tear myself away from the book.
The novel hit me where it hurts from the first chapter as our main character Grace explores the feelings of leaving her sick mother behind, to the care of a home that can take care of her. As an only child, she has the responsibility to do what’s best for her aging mother and this weight is tremendous and hard on the guilt-inducing part of our brain.
‘I am abandoning her’
This first sentence, so strong, so sad, and so mysterious, could have had so many explanations, but the author jumped into the story of a mother and a daughter, role reversed, and the unfairness of life. Each word felt genuine. Too genuine for me not to sympathize with Grace, nor to visualize and feel the emptiness, the helplessness, and the dull ache of this kind of decisions. What a brilliant start. Few authors can turn this experience into words, but Tracey Emerson mind-blowingly fills the pages with the said and the unsaid, the intricate family bonds and the inevitable fate of life.
Mother’s Day cards. I don’t receive them. I have a good reason for it, I don’t have kids. I’d be completely freaking out if I were to receive one… Grace does. Except she’s living a single life, back to care for her mother, and has no idea who is behind this bad joke. If that’s not a signal something is wrong, I don’t know what is!
Motherhood. A big word that I have issues with for lots of uninteresting reasons! The other voice in this novel finds her mother too. In a very different way. In a ‘creepy-what-am-I-reading’ way. It took me a few pages to understand what was going on, and it only added to the thrill I was already feeling rushing through my veins since page one.
What was the link between those mothers and daughters? Why did the chapters echo each other in such a magical and painful way? You get three parts. The first sets the lines and gives you time to appreciate the writing, the building of characters, and the burgeoning tension slowly crawling in. The second part makes you want to whisper at the two main characters, Grace and Cassie. The third grabs your throat and take obsession to its highest level.
The main thread in this novel is a need, a bound that is as beautiful as it is complex.
Originality I wanted, originality I got! It was so fun to explore mother/daughter relationships. Well, fun because it wasn’t me and my mom in those pages! But far from the husband/wife, best friends, or neighbors tropes, She Chose Me gives a taste and a view on what it feels to be on each side of the rope. An abandoned daughter, a punished daughter, a childless mother, a disappearing mother. More than just a character-driven fiction, this novel is the picture of life gone wrong. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be gripped. I never felt the need to judge. I did my best to understand everyone’s motives, sketchy or not, and I was reminded how there are more than one side to every story, how being one of those sides can blind you or trap you in your own version of the truth. Never ever do the novel starts running in circles. Instead, emotions take over. All kinds of emotions. Anger, sadness, joy, despair. Each reaction from the protagonists creates a butterfly effect that leads to a shocking and heartbreaking finale, taking a piece of your heart with it, whether you are a mother or a daughter. And if you happen to be a guy, this book is a good reminder that a kid is a two-people responsibility on top of offering you a glimpse into the world of women, with their strengths and weaknesses.
I Chose It and I don’t regret it! She Chose Me is a beautifully human, riveting and unique psychological thriller! It is hard to believe this is a debut novel!
Get your ebook now or pre-order the print version on Amazon!
From Tracey’s website: Before writing fiction, I worked in theatre and community arts. As well as acting, I ran drama workshops in hospitals, focusing on adults with mental health issues. My short stories have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines and I have a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Edinburgh. I work as a literary consultant and writing tutor and am also the Creative Director of The Bridge Awards, a philanthropic organisation that provides micro-funding for the arts. She Chose Me is my first novel.