today is my stop on Amanda Brooke’s blog tour for her latest novel, ‘The Child’s Secret’ which was published yesterday and which I absolutely recommend. I’d like to thank lovely Jaime from Harper Collins for the opportunity to take part on this epic blog tour, and special massive thank you to Amanda for the fabulous interview (found at the end of this post) which I hope you’ll all enjoy. Make sure you visit the other tour hosts for more reviews and awesome stuff.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Child's Secret by Amanda Brooke
Published by Harper Collins
Published on 14.1.2016
Genres: women's fiction
Buy on amazon.co.uk or Buy on amazon.com
A little girl is missing. Her parents are hiding something. Who will pay the price?
When eight-year-old Jasmine Peterson goes missing, the police want to know everything.
What is local park ranger, Sam McIntyre, running away from and why did he go out of his way to befriend a young girl?
Why can’t Jasmine’s mother and father stand to be in the same room as each other?
With every passing minute, an unstoppable chain of events hurtles towards a tragic conclusion.
Everyone has secrets. The question is: who will pay the price?
Last year I had the opportunity to read Amanda Brooke’s ‘The Missing Husband’ which I absolutely enjoyed and as it was my first AB book I’ve made a promise to myself to watch out for her next books. I was over the moon when I saw a proof of ‘The Child’s Secret’ in my mailboxand my hands were itching to make a start because I had a strong feeling Amanda’s once again created a complex and layered story with memorable characters. My intuition was right, I devoured this book in a day and spend the next couple of days thinking about all the topics (very sensitive ones) this book covers.
‘The Child’s Secret’ opens with scene where we find out little Jasmine is missing and Sam McIntyre, a local park ranger whom Jasmine met when she visited the park with her class, is questioned about his involvement i the disappearing. Going back in time, to the day when they met in front of the Allerton Oak and following their strange friendship, we find out more about Jasmine and Sam and their little secrets. As you read on, you start suspecting and assuming wh might be responsible for Jasmine’s missing, but there are big chances you might be wrong. At least, that’s what happened to me. But, through Jasmine and Sam’s story we also get to meet her mother and father, a bit of a dysfunctional family with secrets of their own. It was hard reading what Jasmine’s mother went through every day, sacrificing for her daughter’s happiness and future. I’ve read many books where women were abused by a member of the family, but there’s something about the way Amanda describes it that made me almost feel it on my skin. I felt anger, pain, pity, heartbreak… all at once and the thought how lucky I am not to have experienced such a thing never escaped my mind.
Told from different POVs, ‘The Child’s Secret’ is one of these beautiful, thought provoking reads perfect for book clubs as it raises so much discussion about family, abuse, past mistakes and consequences which will probably follow in the future. It’s also a book with characters so well portrayed and memorable, you’ll feel like being in the same room with them.
I did try to predict the ending and who’s responsible for Jasmine’s disappearance, but I was proved wrong. This is definitely a good thing, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. However, what was troubling a bit was the slower pace at the beginning which for some readers can be a problem, but a fair warning, read on and you won’t be sorry. Though it seems there’s too little action at the beginning, remember this is a women’s fiction with psychological thriller/mystery elements where characters and human nature are far more important than million things happening at once. You’re given loads of information to build a picture of Sam and Jasmine’s relationship in your head, to really get to know them and their motives for the following events.
I already said I wouldn’t change a thing about the ending, however what I would add or what would have made this book even more intriguing (in my opinion) is more shocking revelations. I expected a very big BANG, some jaw dropping moment that would spice the plot a bit, but even without it, it’s definitely a great book that I’m happy I’ve read and which once again proves Amanda’s writing skills that keep you glued to the pages. I already can’t wait for Amanda’s next novel, I’m getting slightly addicted to her writing. Note to myself: get to her previous books, you know you’re missing out on a lot.
INTERVIEW WITH AMANDA BROOKE
1. If you could sum up your new novel, ‘The Child’s Secret’ in just five words, what would they be?
Broken hearts aren’t empty vessels.
2. ‘The Child’s Secret’ is told from multiple POVs. What did you find harder, speaking in Jasmine or Sam’s voice?
I think both characters had their own individual challenges but I suppose it was harder writing from Sam’s perspective because it was the first time I’d written from a male point of view, and while there were aspects of his past that reflected my own, his reaction to what happened was a complete contrast to my own. I did enjoy developing his character, however, and his relationship with the other characters, most especially his interactions with Selina. I loved the fact that they were two people who liked to keep their thoughts to themselves but could read each other so well. Writing from Jasmine’s point of view came with its own challenges too, because although I was a little girl once, it was quite some time ago!
3. Did you have a definite idea for the ending once you started working on ‘The Child’s Secret’ or did you wait for ‘the characters to decide what the ending will be like’?
I always knew how the book was going to end although the structure completely changed after the very first draft. The Child’s Secret begins in the present day, with Jasmine missing and Sam being questioned by the police but in that first draft, all the scenes were in chronological order so those conversations with the police didn’t appear until nearer the end. I never could have imagined how the book would develop over the various rewrites but seeing my stories evolve is one of the things I love most about writing.
4. Abuse even in fiction is not an easy topic. How hard or challenging was it for you to authentically portray an abused character?
As a writer, it’s always challenging to portray someone experiencing things that you have never had to deal with first-hand and the more serious the topic, the more onerous it is to do justice to the real sufferers. Like many people who are on the outside looking into an abusive relationship, it’s easy to question the victim’s actions. Why didn’t they say anything? Why didn’t they walk away? Why did they still love or feel obligated to their abuser? These were questions I had to consider but as I developed my characters and understood them better, I found a deeper understanding of their motivations, although ultimately, not acceptance of the abuse.
5. Every reader feels fiction differently and will have its own opinion on the message/s behind your book, but what’s the message of ‘The Child’s Secret’ YOU wished to deliver to your readers?
There are a number of characters in The Child’s Secret who reach points in their lives where they think the future has nothing more to offer, so I suppose the message I would want readers to take away is to never give up. Life is precious and however unhappy and worthless a person feels at a given moment in time, with a little courage, a lot of effort and a measure of blind faith, there is hope.
6. Are you currently working on a new novel and can you share a bit about it with us?
Over Christmas, I was working on the copyedits for The Goodbye Gift which is out in July 2016. The story opens with Lucy who is twenty four and needs a heart transplant. The focus quickly moves to the three main characters, Julia, Helen and Phoebe who are all registered as organ donors and the book follows their lives to a dramatic conclusion, which could ultimately lead to a transplant for Lucy.
7. How important do you think is for an author to also be a voracious reader? Which book/s could you recommend to us & our blog’s readers?
I think it’s incredibly important for anyone who wants to develop their writing skills to read. I love reading and there’s usually something to be gained from every book I pick up. Since becoming an author, I tend to be more aware of the writing style or the structure of a novel, but that’s a good thing because it gives me a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t from a reader’s perspective.