In Her Wake is available now in Paperback and E Book. Thanks to Karen at Orenda and of course to Amanda for the review copy and inviting me onto the blog tour.
A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own
A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life. Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.
I first came across this author when I reviewed her previous novel, The Judas Scar. You can read my review for that here. I have been thinking for two days of how to write my review without gushing effusively and showing myself up. So I will do my best, but honestly just buy this book, read it and sit in awe as I did.
The story begins with Bella and her husband going back to her childhood home of The Old Vicarage, already there is a sense of foreboding even amongst the first few lines. Bella's mother has died and she has returned for the funeral. Her father is a broken man, there he something he wants to say but can't. He wanders around in a daze, unable to do even the simplest of tasks. A further tragedy and a subsequent letter leave Bella shocked to her core. This is when the foundations of her very existence come crumbling down around her. Ensues is a search for herself, a search for her past and a search for her future.
So we know that a shocking crime has been committed, this much I can tell you. Amongst this though the author manages to create multi faceted characters, and stories that are told from various viewpoints. So that you cleverly begin to feel even a smidgen of empathy with the worst of the characters. Bella is the central character and she seems meek and mild and easily controlled to begin with, psychologically I would imagine this is understandable.
There is an instance near the beginning of the book where Bella smashes a photograph, I found a great symbolism there with the shattered photograph representing shattered lives and people. The author has an exquisite way with words. The descriptive passages of Cornwall are incredible and she must know the area well. She uses such eloquent prose and I found it a joy to read, every sentence lingering in my head. It was a difficult subject matter but written so beautifully.
The author manages to put on the characters emotions layer by layer. Sometimes almost like a disguise, you peel a layer back and there is a new emotion and more of the real them is revealed. What there is in this story is a real skill for showing the reader the story. So instead of just mundanely writing it all down. I feel as if I have been submersed amongst it and given the space to form my own opinions.
I would say that ultimately this book is an exploration of families, identity, betrayal, and what happens to us when the root of everything we know gets turned upside down.
If you like thrilling, shocking and exciting books written with a great skill and beautiful prose then this author and this book are for you. You can tell with every word, sentence and page that writing is her craft.
About the Author:
Amanda Jennings made her literary début with the internationally bestselling novel Sworn Secret. Her second book, The Judas Scar, was optioned by a film and television production company shortly after release. She is fascinated by the ways people react to trauma and deal with its long-lasting effects, and also the complex relationships within a family unit. She used to work at the BBC, but now writes full-time and looks after her three daughters and a menagerie of animals. She writes a popular blog and is a regular guest on BBC Berkshire’s Book Club. She enjoys running writing workshops, is a judge for the Henley Youth Festival creative writing competition, and is involved with the Womentoring Project, which offers free mentoring by professional literary women to talented up-and-coming female writers who might otherwise not have access to such an opportunity. She is a regular speaker at festivals and book events, combining her childhood love of the stage with her love of writing. She likes to be active, preferably beside the sea or at the top of a snow-covered mountain, and when she isn’t writing she can usually be found walking her dog and enjoying the peace and solitude of the great outdoors.
You can follow Amanda on twitter @mandajjennings
Please visit the other stops on the blog tour, tomorrow sees the turn of Vicky who you can find at: http://vickynewhamwriter.com/