Title: A Ruined Girl
Author: Kate Simants
Publisher: Viper Books
Date of Publication: August 27th 2020
Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Format reviewed: e-ARC
Number of pages: 384
Two boys loved her. But which one buried her?
Two years ago, teenagers Rob and Paige broke into the house of Paige’s school counsellor and stole only a necklace, but traumatised their victims in the process. No one knows why. And Paige hasn’t been seen since that night. Having spent her life in children’s homes and the foster system, no one cared enough to look for her.
Now Rob is out of prison, and probation officer Wren Reynolds has been tasked with his rehabilitation. But Wren has her own reasons for taking on Rob as a client. Convinced that Rob knows what happened to Paige, and hiding a lifetime of secrets from her heavily pregnant wife, Wren’s obsession with finding a missing girl may tear her family apart…
There was no way I was going to miss Kate Simants’ novel A Ruined Girl. Just reading the title gave me goosebumps. So when the blog tour invite came up, I ran, jumped, and grabbed my place on it! Call it gut feeling, but I knew I would enjoy the book.
Was I right?
Do you even need to ask???
Viper Books have quickly become one of my favorite publishers. If you are not following them, do it now.
Now on the book… I went in innocent and sweet; absolutely blind as I had not read the blurb. I find that doing this helps me dive into a story without putting pressure on the story. This time, I was rewarded with an absolutely gorgeous reading time. There are thrillers, and thrillers. A Ruined Girl gives it all – the brain food, the questions, the thrill, the chills. Kate Simants sparkles emotions on every pages. The result is a breathtaking, perfectly wrought tale of intertwined lives heavy with pain and the numbness of grey childhoods.
I have to say it: this prologue is top-notch. You’re plunged in the dark of the night and of hearts with a man, a boy, and a body. No names, no details, but neither are needed to reel you in and hook you. The enthralling writing is enough! I was mesmerized by what I was reading. Kate Simants cast a spell on me!
Wren Reynolds was a probation officer and is now part of a team with a new challenge – rehabilitate offenders through a carefully-laid plan. It allows them to get the ‘you’re out of jail’ card sooner but they have to visit those affected by their crimes and apologize… How do you deal with overflowing prisons? You send some guys home! The author really captured the bureaucracy ensnaring the prisons issue. Tight funds, too few workers, not enough hours in the day, the scrutiny from the population and politicians. I felt the frustration! Wren’s first case is Rob. Two years ago, Rob and another teenager, Paige, broke into Paige’s counsellor’s house. Rob was arrested but Paige was never seen again.
Why? What? How? If Wren’s job description doesn’t include answers to those questions, she is still determined to get them. I immediately felt how personally Wren was taking this case, but I couldn’t figure out her motive.
Slowly, to the rhythm of Before and Now chapters, we are invited into the lives of Rob, his brother Luke, Paige, and all the people involved around Paige’s disappearance. I felt I was running a marathon for answers. The past was catching up with the present, threatening it, and the present was hurling forward in a desperate attempt to escape the scars of the years…
Kate Simants masters the laws of dealing with difficult subjects while maintaining a high tension and strong characterization. She doesn’t use child abuse, drugs, and other atrocities faced by children in care, on top of those feelings of being aloof, apart, forgotten. She delicately and painfully knitted a web around simple needs – warmth, a family, protection, atonement from mistakes.
Wren is a fantastic character. Her partner Suzy is heavily pregnant, and part of the police force. I felt she was the safe line saving Wren from herself. Indeed, Wren goes above and beyond to understand what happened to Paige, putting her life with Suzy, and her job, at risk.
A Ruined Girl is an outstanding read – dealing with some very dark pearls allowed to shine through the author’s excellent writing. A true thriller with that little X-factor that makes it different and unforgettable!
I loved it!
Thank you very much to the Viper Books team for inviting me to be part of the tour. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.