Monday, 22 June 2015

The Other Child - Lucy Atkins

About the book...

Sometimes a lie seems kinder than the truth ... but what happens when that lie destroys everything you love? 

When Tess is sent to photograph Greg, a high profile paediatric heart surgeon, she sees something troubled in his face, and feels instantly drawn to him. Their relationship quickly deepens, but then Tess, single mother to nine-year-old Joe, falls pregnant, and Greg is offered the job of a lifetime back in his hometown of Boston. Before she knows it, Tess is married, and relocating to the States. But life in an affluent American suburb proves anything but straightforward. 


Unsettling things keep happening in the large rented house. Joe is distressed, the next-door neighbours are in crisis, and Tess is sure that someone is watching her. Greg's work is all-consuming and, as the baby's birth looms, he grows more and more unreachable. Something is very wrong, Tess knows it, and then she makes a jaw-dropping discovery... 

About the author...
Lucy Atkins is an award-winning author, book critic and journalist. Her latest psychological suspense novel, The Other Child (Quercus, 2015), is about a photographer and single mother, Tess, who falls in love with a paediatric heart surgeon and moves with him and her young son to Boston USA, where things begin to unravel. Her debut novel, The Missing One, is about a woman's search for her mother's hidden past. 


Lucy lives with her family in Oxford, UK but has lived in the USA three times: in Philadelphia, Seattle, and Boston. As well as writing novels, she is a book critic for The Sunday Times, and has written features for newspapers such as The Guardian, The Times,The Telegraph and magazines such as Red, Woman and Home, Psychologies and Grazia. Lucy has also written, co-written or ghost-written six health-related books, including First-Time Parent (Collins, 2008) 





My thoughts...
I follow Lucy on twitter and when she asked if I would be interested in hosting her for part of the blog tour for The Other Child I jumped at the chance.  I love reading contemporary novels and thrillers, especially psychological ones and The Other Child sounded right up my street.  I was just about to go off on holiday so I headed to Amazon to download an ecopy of the book as I couldn't wait for the review copy to arrive in the post.

There was no softly, softly introduction to this novel. Lucy dragged me straight into this edgy, psychological thriller, that had me looking behind doors and talking out loud to Tess on more than one occasion, willing her not to say or do something for my fear of the consequences.  I felt uneasy from almost the first page.  Tess and her situation just didn't sit right with me.  

The story begins when Tess and her son Joe arrive outside their new home in a Boston suburb that Greg, Tess's husband had rented for them. He had lived in the UK for 15 years but had applied and got his dream job back in his home country, America.  As a result, he quickly proposed to Tess, not wanting to leave her behind. A whirlwind wedding and Tess found herself emigrating to begin married life with her new husband in another country at a time when her life was already in turmoil.  Pregnant with Greg's child, despite him making it clear to Tess he never wanted to be a father. He was so good with Joe she was sure things would be ok once the baby was born.  Everything should be hearts and flowers but tension and stress oozes out of the pages.  

Lucy's descriptive skills are brilliant, she got inside my head with both the characters and the physical descriptions of places, with the intricacies of what at first appeared a simple story.  A story that got right under my skin.  Half answered questions, situations that couldn't quite be explained, neighbours that blew hot and cold, an elusive husband who was vague and evasive yet at the same time loving and caring.  Each of these saw me turning the pages faster and faster - wanting to calm my racing heartbeat. At the same time, holding my breathe - willing Tess not to do or say something for fear of the consequences.  

Time and time again I thought this would make such a good film - a jumpy, edge of the seat one - I held my breathe, untangled the story, decided what was happening and why only to change my mind again with the next chapter.  Some things just can't be explained. I would recommend this book to anyone who like me, likes that heart pounding, clammy hand feeling that gets the adrenaline pumping.  I loved this book so much and don't think I've ever read a book that had me contradicting my own thoughts so many times.  Over and over again I veered from not believing a word that was written on the page to believing every one of the same words - I was so convinced by the story. 

Lucy you had me hook, line and sinker.  So very rarely does a book leave me so drained.  I, unlike Tess can't blame pregnancy hormones, absence of close family and friends or worry over an unhappy child to explain my state of mind - I blame you! This rib crushing, adrenaline inducing story held my attention, I never for a minute had to suspend believe as every scenario and character was so very plausible.  Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for this amazing book.