The Silent Friend by Diane Jeffrey | @dianefjeffrey @HQStories

About the Book

Tragedy brought them together. The truth will tear them apart.

It’s supposed to be Laura’s dream holiday: a trip to France with a group of friends to see their favourite band play live. But the holiday quickly turns to disaster, and Laura is left haunted by terrifying images from the worst night of her life.

When Laura finds an online support group for victims like her, she’s not convinced it will help. But then Sandrine replies to her message, and she seems to understand what Laura’s going through, in a way that no one else can.

Soon, Laura and Sandrine are sharing their deepest thoughts and feelings with each other. But one of them has a terrible secret – she isn’t who she says she is. And once the twisted truth is revealed, there’s no going back… 

My Thoughts

I’ve previously read The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey and I loved it so I was highly anticipating reading her new one The Silent Friend and I’m so pleased to say that it lived up to all of my hopes for it!

I have to start by saying that this is one of those novels where it’s best to know no more than what it says in the synopsis. It does mean that as you get into the book and discover what it’s about it comes as something of a shock but it adds to the reading experience. My review will be vague so as not to spoil anything.

The novel follows two characters – Laura and Sandy – in alternating chapters; it also goes back and forth in time a little as the story builds. The novel opens with Laura struggling to come to terms with something that happened when she was on a holiday with a group of her friends. I really felt for Laura as while I haven’t experienced what she has been through I have suffered with similar feelings and emotions. Sandy has also had something terrible happen in her family and she decides to set up an online support group to try and help others who have been through similar. This is how she and Laura meet.

I felt sorry for both women, they had been through a lot and were struggling to figure out how to move on with their lives. We soon find out that one of them is not being honest about who she is though and this is where the tension really begins to heighten in the novel.

This novel has twists and turns, some I suspected were coming and others genuinely shocked me. It’s a domestic suspense novel that has thriller elements and it really keeps you on your toes. I had no idea what was coming and as I was reading it, my stomach was in a knot. The writing brings the drama to life in such a visceral way that it made me feel like I was right there along with the characters. It was hard to read at times but the writing is sensitive and that’s what made me keep turning the pages.

This is one of those books where I had to keep reminding myself to breathe. It’s not an easy read at times, and there were moments where I put the book down for a brief period before continuing but ultimately this is a really compelling read and a book that you just have to keep reading. I wanted to know how it was all going to end, I wanted to know where the characters were going to end up.

The Silent Friend is a very powerful novel that will take your breath away at times. It’s a book that will make you think and it’s one that will really stay with you. I recommend it!

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey @dianefjeffrey

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About the Book

She says she’s innocent.

WOULD YOU BELIEVE HER?

2013

Melissa Slade had it all: beauty, money, a successful husband and beautiful twin babies. But, in the blink of an eye, her perfect life became a nightmare – when she found herself on trial for the murder of her little girls.

PRESENT DAY

Jonathan Hunt covered the original Slade Babies’ case for the local newspaper. Now that new evidence has come to light, Jon’s boss wants him back on the story to uncover the truth.

With Melissa’s appeal date looming, time is running out. And, as Jon gets drawn deeper into a case he’d wanted to forget, he starts to question Melissa’s guilt.

Is Melissa manipulating Jon or telling him the truth? Is she a murderer, or the victim of a miscarriage of justice?

And if Melissa Slade is innocent, what really happened to Ellie and Amber Slade?

 

My Thoughts

I wanted to read The Guilty Mother as soon as I saw the cover, it really caught my eye and I’m really pleased to say that the novel more than lives up to it.

Melissa is in prison for killing her twin daughters and her appeal is about to be heard. Her first husband Simon, with whom she has a teenage son Calum is convinced she is innocent and is fighting for justice. Melissa’s second husband, the father of her twins, isn’t so convinced. Jonathan works for the local newspaper and along with Kelly, a young woman who is still learning in the journalism world, is tasked with looking into Melissa’s case.

I very much enjoyed this novel, it had me gripped from start to finish. I found reading about Melissa’s experience as a new mother to twins really believable. I can only imagine how exhausting it must be and how different it must have been to when she had her son years previously. Michael is very unsympathetic to Melissa, he misses the high achieving wife that Melissa was before and seems to make no allowances for how much life has changed since they decided to start a family together. This set up is so good in a novel though because it made me suspicious of Michael because it seems he would rather have his old wife back than have to deal with how she is now. It also made me wonder whether Melissa could have harmed her babies due to how fatigued and unsupported she was in the midst of her low mood and struggle.

It was great to have the journalist’s perspective too as we get to take a step back from being inside Melissa’s life and see it from an outsider’s point of view. Jonathan has had real sadness in his own life and as a father to two boys he can’t see how anyone would harm their own children. I enjoyed learning more about him and seeing how he tried to separate his own life experiences from Melissa’s. In Jonathan’s office is a new team member to the newspaper, Kelly, and she ends up being Jonathan’s side-kick. I loved Kelly, she’s clearly a bit green but in some ways that allows her to see things that Jonathan doesn’t see and she brings so much to his story (and to the novel).

Diane Jeffrey is an excellent writer – she explores Melissa’s story with such sensitivity whilst also keeping the novel thrilling so that you find yourself reading at every possible opportunity in order to find out what the truth was. There are twists and turns along the way and things I didn’t see coming… and the ending is brilliant!

The Guilty Mother is a novel that keeps you on your toes all the way through! I kept changing my mind about whether Melissa was guilty, and also changing my mind about who else might have done it. The story is so engrossing and impossible to put down! This is the first novel that I’ve read by Diane Jeffrey but it absolutely won’t be the last, I’m intending to buy everything she’s ever written now! I highly recommend this book!

The Guilty Mother is out now and available here

 

WWW Wednesdays (24 Jul 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

This is the eighth book from my 20 Books of Summer choices and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve had this book on my TBR for about three years so am glad to get to it and am so happy that it’s living up to my hopes for it.

Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd

I treated myself to a copy of this last week as I keep seeing great reviews for it and am fascinated by it. It’s a really interesting book.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey

This book is so good! I was gripped by it from the opening pages and it’s a book I read in just two sittings. I’ll be reviewing this one very soon,

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

This is another great read, one that I also read in two sittings (and only because I started it late at night and had to sleep!). I’m reviewing this one tomorrow for the blog tour so please look out for my post.

Looker by Laura Sims

This is such a brilliant novel about a woman’s obsession with her neighbour. I really did love this one. My full review is here if you’d like to know more.

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

I really enjoyed this book, it was a perfect thriller for the summer and I recommend it. My review is already posted so you can find my thoughts here if you want to know more.

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This was the seventh book from my TBR for the 20 Books of Summer and I adored it. I love getting completely lost in a Penny Vincenzi novel and am sad this is the last one. I now want to make time to re-read all her other books!

 

What I plan on reading next:

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

I’ve been so eagerly anticipating reading this novel as I love Shari Lapena’s writing so I plan on getting to this on in the coming days!

Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland

I’m on the blog tour for the audio book of this one and I’m keen to read it soon so hopefully I can get to it this week.

What You Did by Claire McGowan

I’ve seen some fab reviews of this book so when I found it was in the Kindle First selection for this month I grabbed it and really want to read it soon!

Stop At Nothing by Tammy Cohen

I’ve got an ARC of this book on my Kindle and I’m so keen to read it. Fingers crossed I get to it in the next few days!

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

A New Book Haul (Stacking the Shelves 13 Jul 2019)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

Purchased Books / eBooks

 

The Gifts of the Body by Rebecca Brown

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while and decided to buy it this week. It’s a collection of linked short stories about care workers during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

What You Did by Claire McGowan

I feel that getting this book was serendipity as I wasn’t able to sign up to the blog tour when it was offered to me but I made a note of the title to pre-order it and when I went to do that I saw it was on the Kindle First book selection for July. So I got a copy ahead of publication and I can’t wait to read it!

Prognosis: A Memoir of My Brain by Sarah Vallance

This is my other Kindle First pick for July as it sounds like a fascinating memoir about one woman’s experience of traumatic brain injury.

 

Borrowed AudioBooks

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Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin 

I borrowed this audio book from Scribd and while I found it quite interesting it just isn’t the book that its set up to be so it was disappointing. It’s much more about the author and her time in LA and her obsession with Joan Didion than it is about society’s obsession with murdered young women.

 

ARCs

I got a lovely surprise package from Orenda Books this week that contained the first four books mentioned below.

 

Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson

I love this author’s writing and have very much enjoyed the first two books of hers that I’ve read so I’m thrilled to have a copy of this one.

Cage by Lilja Sigurdottir

I’m so keen to read this next book in the series so it was wonderful to get a surprise copy in the post!

 

In The Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone

I haven’t read anything by this author before (although I do have two of his other novels on my TBR) but this book sounds brilliant so I’m very happy to have it.

Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen

This is a new-to-me author who I’ve heard such good things about so I’m really looking forward to reading this book.

 

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey

I was offered a copy of this by the author and I jumped at the chance to read it as it sounds like my kind of book. I hope to read this one very soon.

Maigret’s Childhood Friend by Georges Simenon

This was another surprise book that arrived in the post this week. I’ve not read any Maigret novels before but I’m happy to have the chance to read this one.

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.