Book Reviews

Who Are We to Judge: Clear My Name by Paula Daly @PaulaDalyAuthor @TransworldBooks @HJ_Barnes

Another exciting read hits the blog today!

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Title: Clear My Name
Author: Paula Daly
Date of publication: 8th August 2019
Publisher: Bantam Press
Format: proof
Pages: 304


When Carrie was accused of brutally murdering her husband’s lover, she denied it. She denied it when they arrested her, when they put her in front of a jury, and when they sent her to prison.

Now she’s three years into a fifteen-year sentence, away from the daughter she loves and the life she had built. And she is still denying that she is to blame.


Tess Gilroy has devoted her life to righting wrongs. Through her job for Innocence UK, a charity which takes on alleged miscarriages of justice, she works tirelessly to uncover the truth.

But when she is asked to take Carrie’s case, Tess realises that if she is to help this woman, she must risk uncovering the secrets she has struggled a lifetime to hide . . .

We’ve all done things we’re not proud of.


Clear My Name by Paula Daly felt like reading two books at once. One book carried Carrie’s name, accused of having killed her husband’s lover and serving her sentence. The other book was Tess’s, a tough Innocence UK worker getting her hands dirty by digging deep into each case to uncover the truth.

Two faces of a old coin. Lives turned to grey for different reasons.

Clear My Name was my first Paula Daly book and wow! Why did it take me so long to read her work? Her descriptive writing made me connect with Tess really fast and kept me entranced throughout the book. There is a sophistication in the author’s style that gives every feeling twice as much power.

Innocence UK works a lot like Project Innocence in the US. Tess investigates a file submitted to the charity until she gets proof to either move towards the request of a hearing to reopen the case or to abandon the demand if there is ground to work with / if the committee believes the sentence was right. Talk about a stressful job! Tess is responsible for gathering information and make her mind about the convicted. Is intuition enough? Tess, like all the characters, is multi-layered and troubled. I really liked her almost scientific way to approach the cold cases brought to her. Keeping a clear head and balancing her emotions with the hard facts is no easy thing, especially in Carla’s case.

Carla has always claimed her innocence and is in the third year of her fifteen-year sentence. Different from the woman she used to be, she holds on to life for her daughter. In every country, the justice system can fail, and I found Clear My Name to be equally fascinating and scary. The book doesn’t need the fast pace of most thrillers. Its character-driven plot is enough to keep you engrossed in what slowly turns into a messy maze of greys. Innocent. Guilty. The song is known to us all, but things are never as clear-cut, and Paula Daly offers a sharp novel filled with dead-ends and doubt. Tess’s team is met with leads that seem to only drive them to frustration. On top of it, Tess is forced to deal with her own guilt and past. Before I knew it, my brain bound the two women’s fates together, and a dread feeling settled in my stomach. I couldn’t figure Carrie out. I couldn’t decide whether she was reliable. I was never entirely sure of her guilt or innocence. I got a taste of how emotionally draining those situations can be. Tess’s own story would spring on her, and on me, at the worst times and my heart would reach out to her.

Flawed characters and gripping threads kept questions bouncing in my head. Is it better for an innocent to be behind bars or for a guilty party to walk free? Is every person you walk past as innocent as they seem? The system is crushing, so is life.

Clear My Name is a suspenseful and gripping thought-provoking read!

Find the book on Amazon

I would like to thank Hayley for providing me with a proof copy. This is my unbiased opinion.

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Paula Daly is the acclaimed author of six novels. Her work has been sold in sixteen countries, shortlisted for CWA Gold Dagger award, and her books have been developed for the ITV drama, DEEP WATER, starring Anna Friel. She was born in Lancashire and lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children, and whippet Skippy.

14 thoughts on “Who Are We to Judge: Clear My Name by Paula Daly @PaulaDalyAuthor @TransworldBooks @HJ_Barnes”

  1. Brilliant review Meggy! I’m curious to know whether she’s innocent or not and that’s such a thought provoking question you asked at the end of the review, I honestly can’t answer that one yet. I can’t wait to read this one (I think – and hope – I bought this one in London, but need to check)!


  2. Well, i like the sound of this!
    Only recently discovered Paula Daly (her existence i mean, still haven’t read any of her books), but but the books on my list cuz they sounded like my sort of stuff.
    Great review!


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