Happy Sunday! It took me a few days to find how to express my feelings about the hyped novel The Rumour… But I made it! I don’t think I can do Lesley Kara’s book justice but I did my best!
I’d like to thank Transworld Books for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Rumour
Author: Lesley Kata
Publisher: Transworld Books
Date of publication: December 2018
Rating: 5 🧚♀️
When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back.
Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.
Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.
So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?
Rumours. You might have helped one spread, you might have been at the center of one. You have probably heard quite a few, given your opinion, then completely forgot about it.
We, human beings, love to know everything. And when we don’t, sometimes we make it up. It can be harmless. To me, rumours are like lies. We are surrounded by them. Is it a good thing? Well, in a world of unicorns and free popcorn, no. But just like we can’t live in a world freed of certain political figures, chocolate addiction, or global warming, we can’t escape rumours.
I remember my mother waiting for me at the school gate. Oh, the school gate. Mothers’ playground. Gather a few women and you can be sure to have juicy news and… Well, you guessed it, rumours. I felt so sorry for Joanna, who gets caught in the game on school premises. Newly back in this town, she wants to fit in, not just for herself, but for her son. And what better way to ensure a place for them both than to take part in the town’s talks? I really liked Joanna and understood her reasons. What harm can a few words do? Can you blame the person who is spreading them or should the blame only be put on the first soul who spoke the words? Often, the start of a rumour gets lost in the way and there is a snowball effect. Most of the time, the rumours are harmless and every day brings new subjects to discuss. But in this little town, the snowball effect turns into a massive black storm engulfing everyone into a paranoid kind of voyeurism. There’s a killer in town, let’s find out who it is!!! I can’t say I wouldn’t be curious if it happened around here…
That’s where the author masterfully played with my mind. I know I have sometimes talked about books challenging what would my reactions be in a certain position, but never did a novel put me in such a position. It dawned on me how easy and common rumours were, and this is scary! Anyone can say anything and bam, it becomes something real. This is where I refer to my lovely friend Kim the Bookworm’s review and confirm that Lesley’s book would be perfect for a book club. I can talk endlessly about how words can ruin a life, trigger awful behaviors, but also about how losing perspective on the context said rumour was launched is the worst. The person behind a rumour might not have meant any harm. So, what do we do? Lesley Kara skillfully lets you be the judge of this! I loved her way of letting doors open, showing and not judging, letting this latest part to some of her protagonists. I took a step back, I breathed, I feared for the characters, and I reflected on my own way of dealing with such issues. What a brilliant mix for a read!!
Oh my. I could smell the flesh of burnt flesh within each chapter. A sentence sentenced Joanna to days of glances, questions, and ‘what if’s. Everyone’s on everyone’s radar. Tongues happily curl and let out songs of misinterpreted information, source-less information, and of course, everyone enters the game. But what was supposed to open doors to Joanna and her lovely son ends up being a complete life-changing bomb. In so many ways.
I simply adored the sense of dread, the everyday life tinted by all kinds of trust issues, people coming and going with their own views on something that Joanna used once and now carries her name on it. She can’t get rid of this rumour and it impacts all aspects of her life. Lots of things are happening and a chilling rumour about a child killer was not on the list next to the laundry and groceries shopping!
Because what makes this rumour so special is the horror behind it. A kid killing another kid. One dead, one lost somewhere, living their life. Is it fair? Is it okay to let your kids run free in a town where a killer might be hiding? What’s the story behind this newspaper front page news? You need answers, the author obliges… by giving you one massive blow to the head!!!! That TWIST is as insane as the speed words can wound! I was gobsmacked. I was panicked, I even reached denial! More powerful than a rumour is the truth… But the price to pay is high! I so wanted to connect all the dots but I was caught in the narration and time flew by. I let myself be transported by the author’s prose and I have no regrets! The ending tasted even better!
The Rumour has got the buzz going for a reason. This novel is the essence of what we call a thriller; a life turned upside down because of a split second, dread, tension ratcheting up until you want to jump to the last pages to know, because YOU HAVE TO KNOW. And most of all, characters you can stumble across when you leave your house, making you shiver at the thought of what might be going around you. A brilliant read, a town tormented by sickness, and fate coming to collect its due! I ADORED IT!
Will you be the next one to spread The Rumour?
Pre-order those crimson words… Here!
Lesley Kara is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She completed an English degree and PGCE at Greenwich University, having previously worked as a nurse and a secretary, and then became a lecturer and manager in Further Education. She lives on the North Essex coast.
The Rumour is her first novel.