‘My name is Susan Webster. Nearly four years ago, on 23rd July 2009, I killed my three-month-old baby boy’
Susan Webster has spent the past three years in a psychiatric hospital after killing her baby boy in an attack she doesn’t remember. With a new identity and heavy guilt Susan is released back into society and moves to a place where no one knows her apart from a fellow inmate who is now her best and only friend. That is until Susan, now Emma, gets an envelop hand delivered through her door addressed to Susan and inside is a picture of her son at three years old. She’s never remembered that awful day, could someone be lying or has she really gone crazy?
I picked this novel up on a three for £10 deal with Amazon, I was intrigued by the idea and how an author was going to pull this off. While the idea was not simple, I had faith in the reviews I’d read and thought I might as well give it a go because this could be absolutely fantastic. At first I was more than happy, the novel was engaging and interesting, pulling me along as I read. My favourite character was Cassie, Susan/Emma’s best friend, she seemed to have the kind of spark that I felt Susan/Emma lacked. I also felt that the character of Nick wasn’t as needed as he is made out to be, in fact he annoyed me quite a lot as a character and merely seemed like a distraction.
With that in mind, however, I can appreciate that Blackhurst is writing from the point of view of a woman who believes she has killed her son, after being told again and again that she has. I just felt that once events start to unfold she could have had more fire to her, especially when it came to believing her son may still be alive somewhere. I also wished there was more emphasis on Postnatal Depression, which is mentioned as one of the reasons that Susan/Emma had killed her son.
I think what made me struggle the most is that the further I got into the novel the more far fetched it became. There was alternating narratives throughout but the reader isn’t told who the other narrator is and for a while the reader has absolutely no idea what this has to do with Susan/Emma at all and it all just seems a little confusing. By the time I’d got to the ending of the novel I felt a little cheated, there were a lot of similarities to other authors such as Sophie McKenzie. While I’m not saying this was intentional on Blackhursts part I was expecting more. The links that were made were plausible but seemed to me more than a little far fetched.
I’m giving this novel 3 stars ***. While it was a good novel, it didn’t really stand out to me as a thriller. While the writing is good I just felt like the ending was a bit too far fetched for me personally. I do think that others would enjoy this but as I said before I’ve read a lot of thrillers and just didn’t have a huge personal interest by the end of the novel.
Review by Chloe Metzger