It has to be said, I’m crap at blogging. And I’m especially crap at doing book reviews. Which is surprising in the sense that I always try to encourage readers to give them, whether it’s of my own books or those of other authors. I even have a page on this site (here, if you’re interested) which includes a guide on how to do a review. Reviews matter. And yet…
Life kind of gets in the way sometimes. To those bloggers whose focus is on giving book reviews, I can only bow to your dedication and diligence. And you can think of that as going some way towards apologising to Lauren North for the delay in reviewing her third novel – but also to the others whose books I’ve read over the past 18 months and realised I’ve not got around to reviewing. I will try to put that right over the coming weeks and months.
Lauren’s book was at the top of my list, so I promise it’s only a coincidence that the other day I shared details of a giveaway she’s doing. Frankly, there’s nothing in this for me, but it did make me feel good that I’m able to do something for her – drop in the ocean that it is – when she has made such a generous offer. If you want to know more about that, go directly to her website for details.
So, all that preamble out of the way, let’s get to the review.
Sadly, I will be a bit vague because of how long it is since I read the book. That said, it’s a psychological thriller with twists, turns and secrets, so I probably wouldn’t have give much – if any – more away had I written this the day after I finished reading it.
Safe At Home is Lauren’s third novel, and I’ve read all three and enjoyed each of them. It’s possible that I’m reading too much into the writing, but it does strike me that, with each new book, she seems to be growing in confidence. Bear in mind I’ve said that I’ve enjoyed them all, so this isn’t to suggest her previous novels were in any way inferior. They weren’t, and I can highly recommend them. The Perfect Betrayal caught me out completely with its twist, and One Step Behind had me guessing all the way through. Safe At Home is even better.
As for that sense of confidence, it’s hard to pin down why I feel that – it just left an impression. Something that did strike me with this novel was how the community it’s set in felt so real, and relatable. So did the characters and their emotions – the hang-ups, the stresses and strains that come from relationships (family or otherwise). All of this gives the story a very grounded background, which makes the events that take place seem both realistic and yet shocking, whilst also tapping into a parent’s worst fears.
So what did happen when Anna left her daughter home alone? Let your imagination run riot – and I still doubt you’ll work out the answer. This book really does grab you and compels you to keep reading so you can find out the truth.
I seem to recall saying the same thing after reviewing One Step Behind, but I’m really looking forward to Lauren’s next book.
You’ll see I’ve used The Hive for the paperback. If you want to know why, I explain here.