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**BLOG TOUR** The Face at the Window by Ruby Speechley

To the outside world, Gemma Adams has it all: a beautiful house, a job she enjoys, a handsome husband and a newborn baby boy. Gemma knows this is all a facade, however, and is harbouring secrets about her marriage that could destroy her. Now her baby has been taken by someone she thought she could trust and her marriage is going from bad to worse. She needs her baby back, even if it puts her own life in danger.

The Face at the Window is told from the perspective of two young women, each of them in an abusive relationship, even if they can’t actually see it. Gemma appears to have the perfect life, something she shares happily on her social media. The photographs she posts hide the true nature of her relationship, however, and we soon discover how controlling her husband, Nick, is. It was quite unnerving as a reader to see this develop, fearing for Gemma and willing her to make the break.

The other main protagonist is Scarlett, a young woman with secrets of her own. She, too, is in a controlling relationship with an older man but is too naive to see this. Perhaps for me, the most interesting aspect of her story was her search for her unknown father. book, leading to an exciting denouement that had me holding my breath.

Although this is about a missing baby and, indeed, this is an integral part of the plot, there is so much more to The Face at the Window. This is a book about coercive control and abuse and serves as a lesson into how we shouldn’t always believe everything we see on the likes of Instagram. Ruby Speechley has written strong, believable characters who made me question whether everyone who commits a crime should receive a punishment if the reason behind it is to save someone else.

This was one of those books that had me hooked from the start and kept my attention right until the very last page. A definite page-turner!

With thanks to Hera Books, Net Galley and Sarah Hardy at Book on the Bright Side Publicity.

In Her Footsteps by Ruth Harrow

Trapped in an abusive marriage to her husband Dan, Harriet longs for the day when she has enough money to be able to escape her living nightmare. After a particularly vicious attack, she finally summons up the courage to leave her old life for good, laden with just a suitcase and a box containing her secrets. Eighteen months later, and running her own art gallery in Coventry, to the outside world, life is good. Appearances can be deceiving, however, and plagued by anxiety and nightmares, even the prospect of a new relationship does not stop her from hiding in the shadows. Can she ever truly escape her past?

From the very start of the book, we are shown how we should not believe everything we see. To the outside world, Dan is a perfect husband but behind closed doors, he is abusive and controlling, his wife having to live her life exactly as he wants her to. Despite her being completely under his control and taking his beatings on a regular basis, Harriet is a strong woman and I admired her tenacity and forethought that would enable her to finally make a clean break from her life. The attack that finally pushes her to leave is a particularly brutal one and it was heartbreaking to think that, in real life, there are women who have to endure this.

Her life in Coventry seems perfect as she finally gets to put her art degree to good use. She even embarks on a relationship with a good-looking divorced man but this sets in motion a chain of events that seriously begin to threaten her sanity. Her new boyfriend seemed perfect, but at the same time, too perfect. I could not decide whether he was genuinely a nice guy or whether he was up to something. His ex-wife was not a particularly nice character and also helped to muddy the waters.

It soon becomes apparent that Harriet is hiding something from the past, something linked to her family. I really felt for her when she went to visit a therapist, desperate for help to stop the increasing amount of panic attacks she was experiencing but determined not to spill her secrets at the same time. When we do finally find out what her secret is, it was a genuine shocker and something I did not see coming. This completely changed the direction of the book and left me questioning everything I had already read.

This is a very clever book with a fascinating plot that became completely ‘unputdownable’ as it progressed. I was also very happy with the ending and felt that all questions had been answered. This is a great debut and I look forward to reading more of Ruth Harrow’s work.

With thanks to Ruth Harrow for the ARC.

About the Author

Ruth Harrow was born and raised in London and graduated from the University of Kent before embarking on an unfulfilling career as an accountant.

In 2016, she put pen to paper and drafted the first version of her debut psychological thriller, In Her Footsteps.

She lives in Colchester with her husband, two children and chocolate Labrador, Rolo.

 

 

***BLOG TOUR*** The Good Mother by Karen Osman

I am thrilled to be today’s stop on the blog tour for the fantastic new book from Karen Osman, The Good Mother.

Keeping secrets from her husband is not usually something Catherine would do but when she begins writing to Michael, a convicted killer, she knows her family would not approve. In another part of the country, Kate is trying to bring up two children with an out of work husband and a severe lack of money. When she meets someone who begins to recognize her talents, she knows she is playing with fire. Lastly we have Alison, a university student who has managed to gain a place on her dream course. University life is not what she hoped for, however, and she finds herself lonely and unhappy. That is until one of her professors takes an interest in her. All of these women have secrets which threaten to come to the surface once Michael is released from prison…

First of all, I would like to say how much I loved this book! Told from the perspective of three women, it took a few chapters before I fully engaged with the characters but once I’d got a handle on who was who, I couldn’t wait to find out how each of their stories progressed. Often in books written in this style, I find myself wanting to read about one of the characters more than the others, but The Good Mother had me hooked on all three story lines.

One of the underlying themes running throughout the book is the impact keeping a secret has, whether it be Catherine’s reluctance to tell her husband about her prison pen-pal, Kate’s growing friendship with her tutor or, more seriously, the toxic relationship Alison has with her professor. Although I could see why Catherine and Kate kept their secrets, I was willing Alison to speak out about what was happening to her and had a sense of foreboding throughout the chapters dedicated to her story. It was Alison who had the most impact on me whilst I was reading and I was desperate for her to have a happy ending.

Karen Osman

Throughout the book, it is obvious that the women’s lives were going to collide at some point and, although I was right about some of the connections, there was one part of the story that I did not see coming at all. It is great when you read a book and you get that ‘Eureka’ moment when all of the pieces slot into place. The Good Mother certainly had one of these moments and provided the story with a satisfying, if heartbreaking, conclusion.

It is hard to say too much without giving away the plot, so my advice is to grab a copy of this well-written, emotive book and read it yourself!

With thanks to Melanie Price at Aria – Head of Zeus for my ARC.

Take a look at the rest of the blog tour:

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