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WHAT SHE SAW by Wendy Clarke

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

Publisher: Bookouture

Published: 29th April 2019

Reviewed: 10th June 2019


She lied to her daughter to save her family. Everyone knows Leona would do anything for her daughter Beth: she moved to Church Langdon to send Beth to the best school, worked hard to build a successful business to support them and found them the perfect little cottage to call home. Leona and Beth hike together, shop together, share their hopes and fears with one another. People say they’re more like best friends than mother and daughter. It’s the relationship every mother dreams of. But their closeness means that Beth struggles to make friends. Her mother has kept her sheltered from the world. She’s more reliant on her mother’s love. More vulnerable. When Beth finds an envelope hidden under the floorboards of their home, the contents make her heart stop. Everything she thought she knew about her mother is a lie. And she realises there is no one she can turn to for help. What if you’ve been protected from strangers your whole life, but the one person you can’t trust is the person closest to home?

My Review

A labyrinth of lies, secrets, and red herrings, this twisty debut psychological thriller had me gripped right up to the very end. It’s clear from the outset that Leona is a flaky character with anxiety issues, but are her fears real or imagined? This is a question that keeps the pages turning. Just what is Leona hiding from and why?

Set in the idyllic Lake District, at first you can’t help but want to pack your bags and join Leona; letting all your problems wash away as you breathe in the clean fresh air. However, this seemingly beautiful backdrop soon morphs into an ugly spine-chilling setting, which the author’s skillful writing brings to life on both accounts.

But if there’s one thing more heart-stopping than being in danger yourself, it’s your own child being in danger. This is something the author has done a particularly good job with. Juxtaposed to Leona’s first-person point-of-view, is the third-person limited perspective from her daughter, Beth. With her own set of teenage problems to deal with, Beth’s character plays a central role in the story, and switching narrative perspective works really well. Not only does the third-person perspective add a layer of dramatic irony, it also leaves the reader in no doubt that Leona is the protagonist, and as such she is the one who needs to overcome her past to save her daughter.

Wendy Clarke is definitely an author to look out for and I can’t wait for her second novel We Were Sisters, out 8th August 2019.

I would recommend this author for anybody who likes Jane Corry, Louise Jensen, or Lisa Jewell.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley

for an Advance Review Copy of this book

in return for an honest and unbiased review

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