Book Reviews

The Other Side of the Mirror: #InServitude by Heleen Kist @hkist #audiobook

Title: In Servitude
Author: Heleen Kist
Publisher: Pollock Glen Publishing
Date of publication: January 2020
Format: audiobook
Narrator: Kat Harrison
Length: 7h 44m

Grace thought her sister led a perfect life. She was wrong. Now, she has to pay the price.

When Grace’s beloved sister Glory dies in a car crash, her carefully considered life spirals out of control. She discovers Glory was laundering money through her café for a local crime lord. What’s worse, Grace finds herself an unwitting accomplice, now forced to take over her sister’s shady dealings.

Determined to protect herself and those Glory left behind, Grace plots to turn the tables on Glasgow’s criminal underworld. But her plans unravel when more family secrets emerge, and she starts to question Glory’s past intentions.

Grace grows convinced her sister was murdered. Seeking justice, she finds betrayal…

Please note: This book contains cursing in keeping with the streets of Glasgow which some listeners – like the residents – may find offensive.

It is funny how the idea we have of someone’s life can be so far from the truth. In Servitude begins when Grace learns her beloved sister Glory has died in an accident. The emotion in the narrator’s voice caught me straight away. I didn’t know Grace, I had never met Glory, I had barely started the book and yet I felt my eyes prickle with tears and a strong feeling of hopelessness wash over me. What was happening? Easy. Heleen Kist’s writing was already seeping into my heart!

Grace doesn’t have time to come to terms with her sister’s death, as quickly enough, Glory’s picture-perfect life unravels under Grace’s eyes and grey areas appear. Glory’s seemingly prosperous café is in fact in trouble, and Glory had more than one skeleton in her closet. The more Grace discovered about the woman she thought she knew, the more her thoughts and emotions went all over the place. There is no linear way to deal with grief, and here Grace decides that the best way to cope is to settle all of her sibling’s issues. It soon becomes an obsession and Grace ends up dealing with very dangerous guys and very dirty money. I couldn’t have imagined Glory to be untangled in such a mess. I kept wondering how far things would go. There is a similarity to the sisters, though, as neither gives up. I could feel Grace step closer and closer to the edge, neglecting her boyfriend, being in conflict with herself about what to do, trying to be there for everyone. The narrator gave each the characters the perfect intonation, the perfect tremor in the voice. I didn’t know if I should be more scared of the baddies or Grace’s fight to protect her sister and family despite everything. How much do we owe to our family? How far should we go for them? The author explores the boundaries of the word and chews on them…

In Servitude is an engaging read/listen with the right amount of secrets and twists. I loved the way Heleen Kist threw her main character under the bus the way she did. Being so focused on the events, I almost forgot to pay attention to Grace… Big mistake. The ending left me gobsmacked! After going through so much with a woman I thought I’d grown to know, I was reminded secrets hide everywhere, and everyone has them…

You can find the book here!

I’m Heleen and I love writing novels. 

If this sounds like an addiction, that’s because it probably has become one.

I’m Dutch and I live in Glasgow with Scottish husband and our two kids.

My debut crime novel IN SERVITUDE came out in 2018. I’m very proud of its success in various awards + reviews.

STAY MAD, SWEETHEART is my latest novel: a dark yet empowering feminist thriller that’s getting rave reviews already.

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