By: Emma Rous
Published Year: 2019
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.
Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.
Who is the child and what really happened that day?
One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.
I didn’t read many mystery/thrillers last year because they just truly didn’t catch my eye. This one pulled me in immediately with the synopsis as well as the cover. The color of the background is beautiful and you don’t often see a lot of white book covers. The girl on the front also looks extra glamourous and there’s something intriguing about a thriller about glamorous people.
What I thought
Ooooo! What a good thriller! This book is a bit bonkers but I really enjoyed it.
Seraphine’s dad just passed away so she and her brothers are left to pack up his things. While doing so, she stumbles across a picture of their mother on the day she was born. Only thing is, her mother committed suicide hours after she and her twin brother Danny were born. Not only was she never told this picture existed, but there is only one baby in this picture and her mother looks happy.
The story alternates between Seraphine’s present day perspective and Laura’s story from 1991/1992. Laura was older brother Edein’s au pair in the year leading up to Seaphine and Danny being born. After losing her dad, and having a history of being accused of not really being a Summerbourne twin, Seaphine decides to seek out Laura and find out the true story of her birth, her mother’s death, and who she really is.
I loved the writing of this book. Everything flowed really well and moved quickly. Even though I knew that there was going to be a surprise, I never felt as though I was reading just to get to the twist. This is Rous’ debut which makes it all the more impressive. So many times a debut for a thriller author can feel clunky as they work to find their voice and rhythm, but that was not this case with this novel.
Even though I had a general idea of what the surprise could me, I wasn’t sure how it would come about or exactly which twist was going to be used. I’m also someone who enjoys alternating view point chapters and I found these transitions to be smooth. I enjoyed both Seaphine’s perspective and Laura’s. In addition to the mystery of who Seaphine really is, there was a balance of smaller secondary mysteries. Such as, why Laura didn’t take her exams and moved out of London to become an au pair.
I feel like I always say that it’s hard for me to review thrillers because I don’t want to give too much away, so I apologize if this review is a little short and vague. This was one of the first books I’ve read in a while that I couldn’t put down and finished in a matter of days.