#Review I Will Find You by Harlan Coben

Another cracking read from the bestselling author Harlan Coben.

About Harlan Coben

With over 80 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the Number One New York Times author of numerous novels.  His books are published in 46 languages.  Along with Stay Close, he is the creator and executive producer of several Netflix television dramas including The Stranger, Safe, The Five and The Woods.  Larry Tanz, who oversees Netflix’s original programming for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has commented on how Harlan does all the work himself – comes up with the ideas, watches the rough cuts of scenes, sits in on all the phone calls. 

Netflix recently re-upped their overall deal with Coben for several more years, adding among other books his acclaimed Myron Bolitar series. His TV series adaptation of Shelter for Amazon Studios—starring Jaden Michael and Constance Zimmer and based on Coben’s YA novel of the same name—will be released on Prime Video in the coming months.

Harlan Coben grew up in the Newark suburbs in New Jersey in the 60s.  After college he worked in the family travel company as a rep overseas.  He still lives in New Jersey with his wife Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a paediatrician, and their four children.  He had his first New York Times bestseller when his children were very small.

Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award, Harlan is the first author to win all three.  In Paris, he was awarded the prestigious Vermeil Medal of Honor for contributions to culture and society by the Mayor of the city. He has won the El Premio del Novela Negra RBA in Spain, the Grand Prix de Lectrices in France, and the CWA Bestseller Dagger for favourite crime novelist here in the UK.  In December 2022 he was awarded the Raymond Chandler Award, Italy’s top lifetime achievement honour to a master of the thriller genre.  And on the sports side of things he is a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame from his playing days at Amherst College and the Little League Baseball inducted him into their Hall of Excellence in 2013. Follow @HarlanCoben on Twitter, Visit harlancoben.com

About the book

David and Cheryl Burroughs are living the dream – married, a beautiful house in the suburbs, a three year old son named Matthew – when tragedy strikes one night in the worst possible way.

David awakes to find himself covered in blood, but not his own – his son’s. And while he knows he did not murder his son, the overwhelming evidence against him puts him behind bars indefinitely. – Five years into his imprisonment, Cheryl’s sister arrives – and drops a bombshell.

She’s come with a photograph that a friend took on vacation at a theme park. The boy in the background seems familiar – and even though David realizes it can’t be, he knows it is. – It’s Matthew, and he’s still alive.

David plans a harrowing escape from prison, determined to do what seems impossible – save his son, clear his own name, and discover the real story of what happened that devastating night.


Not sure what’s worse, thinking you viciously murdered your very young child or knowing your child is out there somewhere and possibly in danger. David has lived the last few years in the belief that he committed the most unforgivable crime during an inexplicable blackout – he deserves to serve his remaining years behind bars.

His perfect family imploded five years ago, his now ex-wife has moved on and rebuilt her life, and he is a pariah to everyone who used to know him. The why, why would he do something so awful to the child he loved so dearly? The heavy burden of guilt is probably why he is willing to cling so fast to the possibility of his son being alive when his ex-sister-in-law shows him a blurry photo of a face in a crowd. Could be and it equally might not be, because the chances are super slim and just happen to be better than believing that he murdered an innocent child.

It’s a fast-paced dark domestic thriller, which will probably end up becoming a mini series – this author certainly knows how to write with future development in mind. The plot plays with the idea of certainty, especially when it comes to evidence and the legal system, and how easy it is for good people to fall foul of said system.

Buy I Will Find You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Century; pub date 16 Mar. 2023. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Penguin.

#BlogTour Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

It’s truly a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens. 

‘New York Times bestselling author Sophie Cousens is back with her second quirky, romantic tale of love, fate and why a simple mistake could be the secret to finding true love.’

About the Author

Sophie Cousens is a writer of romantic fiction based in Jersey, where Just Haven’t Met You Yet is set. Her previous novel published by Arrow, This Time Next Year, has reached huge success in the UK, having sold 150,000 copies across all formats in just six months. This Time Next Year has also achieved huge success in the US as a New York Times bestseller and Good Morning America Book Club pick.

Sophie previously worked in TV in London for over twelve years, producing The Graham Norton Show, Big Brother and Ant and Dec. Sophie has also previously published an eBook only romantic comedy novel How To Get Ahead In Television which was shortlisted for the 2015 Romantic Novelist Association Awards. She relocated from London to Jersey and balances her writing career with working for an arts charity, taking care of her two small children and enjoying small island life. Follow @SophieCous on Twitter or on Instagram

About the book

Tell me story of how you two met… Hopeless romantic Laura has spent her career as a journalist telling other people’s unbelievable love stories. But when it comes to her own love life, it seems she keeps looking for ‘the one’ in all the wrong places.

That is until she picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport by mistake and finds inside contents that just might belong to the man of her dreams. From romantic piano sheet-music to a battered copy of her favourite book, Laura knows this is the sign she’s been waiting for.

And if her job has taught her anything, it’s that when it comes to love, you can’t let opportunity pass you by. And so Laura is determined to track down the mysterious suitcase owner and her own happy ending. But fate, as always, might just have other ideas…


Laura is convinced there is a perfect connection with a potential soulmate just waiting to happen to her. When she picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport and all signs point to the perfect man, then she gets slightly obsessed with finding him. 

Whilst retracing the path of her parents love story, and more or less stalking a stranger she has never even seen before, she encounters some hard truths and eye-opening revelations about herself and others.

I must admit it made me laugh, a lot. Laura’s energy, social awkwardness, bumbling mistakes, and quite frankly her naïve optimism – it all makes her a lovable character. You can’t help but go along for the ride. It’s as if she lives in this alternate universe where everything just falls into place eventually, no matter what kind of obstacle she encounters.

Cousens clearly has knack for storytelling and in equal measures for creating characters readers find relatable, and yet simultaneously they have an element of fantastical fictional characters. It’s exactly the right combination for a feel good and often funny read.

I think this is going to be a popular read. It hits all the right spots. A bit of nostalgia, a budding romance, friendship, a dab of comedy, and the hunt for Mr Right – also known as the elusive Mr Wrong Suitcase.

Buy Just Haven’t Met You Yet at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Arrow; pub date 11th November 2021 – Paperback Original £7.99. Buy at Amazon comAt Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Margins by John Wigglesworth

 It’s a pleasure to take part on the BlogTour The Margins by John Wigglesworth.

About the Author

John Wigglesworth is a British national who has been based in Asia for the last ten years. The Margins is his fiction debut. In his spare time—when he’s not writing—John runs his own company in Bangkok. A former backpacking junkie, John travelled extensively across India and South East Asia before realising that his wanderlust was incompatible with the parenting demands of his Westie. He is now settled in Thailand. Follow @JohnWiggleswor8 on Twitter, Visit johnwigglesworth.com

About the book

It’s a tragedy that will make headline news across the globe—the bodies of scores of Westerners discovered at a remote commune high in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh. Amidst a growing media frenzy, the Indian authorities are desperate for answers, and only Ethan Hicks can provide them—for no one else made it out alive. Yet as Ethan begins to recount what took place up on the mountain, it soon becomes apparent that his story will prove just as shocking as the injuries he survived . . .

Moving between the bustling streets of 1980s Delhi and the forested slopes of the Kullu Valley, The Margins is a dark and unsettling exploration of the human condition—a tale of greed and obsession, but also of love.


Ethan is a survivor of a tragedy, unfortunately it looks like the sole survivor, which means the police have questions. The reader gets a glimpse of the man who started looking for purpose, whilst dawdling his life away in India. He meets like minded people with a penchant for mind-numbing substances – together they decide to create their own solution to their lack of purpose. Now, everyone is dead – except for Ethan of course.

In a way Margins holds the concept of why theoretical ideology of societal structures is often only a good idea in theory. Take communes as your attempt at Marxist Communism for example. Communism only ever works well in theory, because ultimately capitalism and greed supersedes the ideology, and of course someone has to or wants to be in charge. There will always be a hierarchy no matter how equal society is structured. 

Also, just to note, that statistically the majority of communes, cults are brought to life by privileged white men. In this case the irony of the privileged wanting to escape the chains and societal burdens laden upon them by capitalism by escaping into a self-made utopia of equality with no rules, which then turns into an excellent example of how capitalism works and of course the exploitation of workers.  

Although this is a premise that is deeply ingrained with a message about societal structures and the fallacy of the practical usage of theoretical ideologies, Wigglesworth has written it as very cleverly constructed suspect and crime scenario. I loved it, it’s definitely one of my best reads of the year.

Buy The Margins at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Penguin Random House SEA; pub date 15th Jan 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Smuggler’s Wife by Evie Grace

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Smuggler’s Wife by Evie Grace – published by Arrow 31st December.

About the Author

Evie Grace was born in Kent, and one of her earliest memories is of picking cherries with her grandfather who managed a fruit farm near Selling.

Holidays spent in the Kent countryside and the stories passed down through her family inspired her to write her Maids of Kent trilogy. Evie now lives in Devon with her partner and dog. She has a grown-up daughter and son. She loves researching the history of the nineteenth century and is very grateful for the invention of the washing machine, having discovered how the Victorians struggled to do their laundry.

Follow @eviegrace2017 on Twitteron Amazonon GoodreadsBuy The Smuggler’s Wife

About the book

Her heart led her to him, but will loyalty be enough to make her stay…When the beautiful but naïve Grace Lennicker falls for Isaiah Feasey, son of a rival smuggling family and owner of a local tavern, her sisters try to intervene. But as tensions grow, there is another suitor also hoping to win her hand in marriage, the dashing and more favourable Albert Enderby, a young lieutenant in the Revenue.

Grace is unwittingly drawn back into the world of smuggling that her sisters fought hard to leave behind, and as the violence erupts, she finds herself unable to stand by, knowing the rival gangs will kill anyone who stands in their way.

When her husband becomes involved, Grace is forced to make a difficult decision – turn him in and risk her life, or stay loyal and risk the lives of those she loves.


This is the third book in the The Smuggler’s Daughters trilogy. All three books feature a different sister and can be read as standalone novels. Grace gives just enough of the other back-stories to get the gist of the relationships between the sisters and their story up to this point.

This time the focus is on the youngest Lennicker daughter Grace. She has set her sights on a man who is truly considered to be the enemy and aside from that he is a criminal and a rake. No wonder her sisters do everything to keep the two of them very far apart indeed, however the heart wants what heart wants or is that the body, then again it could just be the fact a bad boy always looks so much more charming than a good guy.

Little does she realise that she will eventually have to make a decision between her loved ones and the man she believes is the bees knees. Sounds like such a simple choice, well it would be if everyone wasn’t knee deep in dangerous and ruthless situations the majority of the time.

What Grace does really well is present the other sisters as just that – sisters – and not, from a character perspective, from a pre-story or own story point of view. Which means Winnie is the stern somewhat snobbish woman concerned about neighbours and reputation, as opposed to the young woman having to deal with the scathing judgements due to her previous predicament. Similar applies to Louisa and perhaps more so to her husband, where previously rising in the social ranks and becoming part of the regime may have appeared exciting and romantic, in this book it takes on more of a serious tone.

The result is a premise that gives a certain vibe of historical romance, and yet simultaneously the author gives it a Cookson sign of times feel. Instead of a glossing over of problems of the time, although there is a certain element of humour, there is more of reality vs romantic imagery when it comes to the plot. Grace delivers an escapist read combined with a more serious tone.

Buy The Smuggler’s Wife (The Smuggler’s Daughters #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Arrow: pub date 31st December 2020. Paperback Original – £6.99. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop org.

#BlogTour To Tell You The Truth by Gilly Macmillan

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan.About the Author

Gilly Macmillan is the New York Times bestselling and Edgar-nominated author of What She Knew (also published as Burnt Paper Sky), The Perfect Girl and Odd Child Out. Gilly grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and lived in Northern California in her late teens. She studied history and worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery in London before starting a family. Gilly has since worked as a photography teacher and she now writes full time. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Follow @GillyMacmillan and @arrowpublishing on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreadson Facebook, Visit gillymacmillan.comBuy To Tell You the Truth

About the book

Lucy Harper has a talent for invention…

She is an exceptionally successful writer whose obsessive readers hound her for every book. But the pressure is extreme. And it’s not just the pressure of finishing her next novel. Years ago when she was a child, Lucy’s little brother went missing and he has never been found. Many people think Lucy was responsible for his disappearance. Lucy herself can’t bear to think about it.

Writing a thriller a year is demanding and Lucy depends on her husband Dan to take care of everything in her life. But Lucy finds herself in a real police drama when Dan goes missing. The evidence points to her. And it isn’t the first time someone’s vanished in Lucy’s orbit.

Did she kill her husband? Would she remember if she did? Is she even capable of telling the truth?


Lucy has decided to do the unthinkable when it comes to having a book character who generates both income and lots of interest. She has written what she wants, as opposed to what everyone else demands, including her personal assistant and husband. Both the same person by the way.

It doesn’t take too long for Dan to become the husband everyone thinks is a privileged tosspot living off the money his best-selling author wife brings in. The sympathy vote swings towards Lucy, well I say that but in reality her past is so dark it’s a case of glass houses. Dan springs an unpleasant surprise on her and she ends up back where all her nightmares began.

I really enjoyed Lucy and Eliza. Forget about the irritating husband – these two know how to steal a scene. I can’t decide whether I really need to know the truth or just admire the author for leaving the status quo as it is. Black hole with plenty of unpleasant possibilities – both cruel and brilliant at the same time.

Macmillan really knocks it out of the ballpark with this read. The way the two are connected via storylines, memories and in real time. The crime is secondary to the often insidious and manipulative nature of the relationship between Lucy and Eliza. Absolutely fascinating, which I would love to go into more detail about, but I think readers should discover this duo for themselves.

It’s a riveting psychological thriller – Macmillan at her best.

Buy To Tell You the Truth at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Century: pub date 25 June 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Three Perfect Liars by Heidi Perks

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Three Perfect Liars by Heidi Perks.

About the Author

Heidi Perks is a Sunday Times bestselling author of Now You See Her and Come Back For Me. Elements of Three Perfect Liars are drawn from Heidi’s own personal experience of being sidelined at work when returning from maternity leave in her previous life as a marketing director for a financial company.

Heidi Perks’ debut novel Now You See Her twice reached the Sunday Times bestseller list, first in hardback in July 2018 at No.9 and again at No.6 in paperback in March 2019 where it was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2019. Now You See Her has sold over 120,000 copies across formats to date and has received a staggering 200 five start reviews on Amazon from readers. It has also been optioned for TV from the production company behind BBC One’s ‘The Miniaturist’ and Channel 4’s ‘National Treasure’. Her follow up novel Come Back For Me sold over 30,000 eBooks in the first month of publication. She sets all over books on the South Coast of England where she lives with her family.

She is a graduate of the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative Online Novel Writing Course (the only creative writing school run by a literary agency). Follow Heidi on Twitter @HeidiPerksBooks and join in the conversation with #ThreePerfectLiars

Follow @HeidiPerksBooks on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads, Visit heidiperksauthor.co.ukBuy Three Perfect Liars

About the book

You think you know them. You think you know the truth. You are lethally wrong…

When the harbour side offices of a prestigious advertising agency burn down overnight, the lives of three women suspected of the crime are changed for ever.

Laura Denning has returned to work following the birth of her first child, only to find that her maternity cover has been made permanent. She and her boss, Harry Wood, have always been close, but Laura can’t help feeling side-lined or that the new girl is out to get her…

Mia Anderson was brought in as temporary cover for Laura’s position and has quickly become indispensable. But if people knew the truth about why she was really so desperate to stay, they might not welcome her with such open arms…

Janie Wood has given up everything to support her husband Harry and his business. She’ll do anything to keep him and her family safe, but does that include attempted murder…? Who started the fire? And what is the terrible secret that connects the three women?


To her colleagues Laura is the workaholic, the not interested in social interactions and very competitive co-worker. They don’t see the woman who is torn between the baby she wants to nurture and the career she loves. When she walks back into her job after a short maternity leave she doesn’t expect to find the temp running her accounts and more or less in charge.

Mia is perceived as the interloper by Laura, but to everyone else she is the competent worker and to her family she is the rock that holds them together. Is Laura right, is there something more nefarious behind the way Mia has wormed her way into a job that doesn’t belong to her?

Then there is Janie, the woman who has left a successful career to support a husband, who is distracted and holds a torch for another woman. A man who has disdain for the serious complaints his female colleagues and women in general have about his workers and associates.

What do they all have in common? They are women living in a world governed by men, a patriarchal society that ignores the abuse, the assaults and sub-human treatment due to their gender. The only thing worse than a man supporting other men doing all of the aforementioned are women who support the misogyny and cheer the perpetrators on from the sidelines. Is one of our characters guilty of doing exactly that?

It’s a psychological thriller – the kind of story that teeters on the boundaries of morally right or wrong. For me one of the main points is how we as women are often our own worst enemies, whether it be in the workplace, educational environment and most definitely in the home environment. The stay-at-home mom vs the working mother debate has got to be one of the most vicious in regards to women hurting and insulting other women. Oh and bottle vs breast, and ect. Yeh, instead of sisterhood there always seems to be something that divides us to the point of becoming enemies.

Perks always delivers a great read by combining crime, suspense and that question that sits on your shoulder – right or wrong?

Buy Three Perfect Liars at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Cornerstone Digital; eBook pub date 12th March | Hardback – Publisher: Century pub date – 30th April 2020 – £12.99. Buy at Amazon com

Read my review of Now You See Her by Heidi Perks.

Criss Cross by James Patterson


Cross is there to watch someone he put on death row die – a gruesome serial killer, but isn’t there always someone who believes in the innocence of even the cruelest of killers. His family is convinced he is the victim of mistaken identity, someone has gone to a lot of trouble to frame him. Someone like Cross.

Cross is used to the doubt and stands by the evidence, but is thrown for a loop when he is called to the scene of a murder. A murder that has the calling card of the alleged killer he just watched being executed. Then a few more occur – each with the MO of a killer he has stopped.

I admit I followed the red herring for a while, despite the fact it seemed far too obvious. I thought Cross was a little too trusting when it came to his kid, especially considering the cases he has dealt with in the past. Surely your natural instinct would be to distrust everyone? Your day job is full of serial killers and psychopaths, and you just let your kid make friends with a random stranger? Err nope.

It’s a psychological thriller with an action thriller vibe. It’s hard to believe that this is the 27th book in the Cross series. This one hasn’t quite got the same finesse as some of the earlier ones and seemed a little rushed.

The Alex Cross series brings a lot of nostalgia with it – hopefully Patterson can breathe some of the old suspense into this series in future.

Buy Criss Cross at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Cornerstone, pub date 14 Nov. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow @JP_Books on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit jamespatterson.com

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett


This is an incredibly poignant and full-on piece of writing. Garrett doesn’t flinch before laying the cold bare truth on the table or pull any punches. She says it how it is and she wants you to hear it. This story about a young teenage girl who wants a boyfriends and to experience the sexual side of a relationship, although her parents would prefer she stay abstinent. That way she can’t accidentally pass on her acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

I have to note that I found the level of scrutiny and lack of privacy Simone’s parents give her is extreme, regardless of how worried they are about her. It is difficult enough to navigate the world of teenage angst without the added burden of a health condition everyone is scared of and parents who think it’s okay to suffocate instead of empower their child.

I found the level of research into the topic of living with AIDS admirable both overall and in the context of the main character, a young teenage girl. It’s described meticulously and in a way that makes sense to a layman and perhaps especially to a young reader.

Garrett confronts the invisible and yet very alive and kicking discrimination against people with AIDS and HIV. The fear that was sown and grown in the 80s, during the frightening pandemic which took many lives. Since those times medical research has come so far that an HIV or AIDS diagnosis isn’t automatically a death sentence, as it once was. A very fixed and rigid regime of medication will allow a person with said diagnosis to live a long life.

The author also takes readers into the world of white privilege and the institutionalised racism Simone is confronted with, and her world of secrecy. She is torn between staying under the radar and knowing that embarking upon a sexual relationship means disclosing her condition.

It’s a YA read, but it’s also one I recommend for readers of any age, mainly because this book will do a lot to allay irrational fears that still exist when it comes to this condition. Garrett has a strong voice she isn’t afraid to use and I look forward to reading more by her.

Buy Full Disclosure at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Penguin; pub date 31 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Hive.

Follow @dancingofpens on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit camryngarrett.com

#BlogTour The End of the World Survivors Club by Adrian J. Walker

Today it’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The End of the World Survivors Club by Adrian J Walker.About the Author

Adrian J Walker was born in the bush suburbs of Sydney, Australia in the mid ’70s. After his father found a camper van in a ditch, he renovated it and moved his family back to the UK, where Adrian was raised.

Ever since he can remember, Adrian has been interested in three things: words, music and technology, and when he graduated from the University of Leeds, he found a career in software. His novel The End of the World Running Club, a post-apocalyptic running fable about hope, love and endurance, was a Simon Mayo Radio 2 book club choice.

He lives in Aberdeen with his wife and two children.

Follow @adrianwalker on Twitter, Visit adrianjwalker.comBuy The End of the World Survivors Club

About the book

In the End of the World Running Club Edgar Hill ran 550 miles after an apocalypse to ty and find his family. He had it easy. This is his wife’s story.

Beth Hill has survived the apocalypse with a baby and toddler in tow. And what’s more she’s done it alone – without her husband’s help. He’s never been any help. But when disaster strikes and someone steals her kids, she knows what she has to do.

The new world might be very different: no government, no law, no infrastructure and a whole lot more ocean than there used to be. But one thing hasn’t changed – the lengths a mother will go to save her family…


Think Water World at the early stages of the apocalypse, but with redefined coasts, countries and continents left. The beginning of the end is when people show you who they really are, and you should believe them the first time they show you.

The story takes place before the deterioration and destruction has come to a halt. It’s somewhere between ‘it’s really happening’ and ‘this is our new reality’ so we have to adjust to it asap. Following on from Ed’s story, this is the story of his wife and children. Beth steps up to the mark and proves how far a mother will go to protect her children.

There is a moment in the book between Beth and Ed, which is particularly poignant and also relevant in normal circumstances and not just post-apocalyptic scenarios. Ed does what most men do and would do in that situation, he blames Beth for losing their children. She loses it and gives him a loaded barrel of truth. The non-caregiver or non-primary caregiver really has no clue what it is like to take care of babies or children 24/7 without any break. To be the person who is sucked dry of any choice other than things relating to said children and to have all the responsibility and none of the accolades. It’s always easier to judge when you’re sat on the outside looking in.

Kind of fascinating to realise that even in the middle of a crisis and the end of the world, some things never change. There will always be someone who thinks they know better and feel it’s their duty to tell you exactly that. Kudos to Walker for capturing the gist, frustration and anger of the underappreciated full-time mother absolutely perfectly.

It’s post-apocalyptic fiction with a realistic and down-to-earth plot. Walker plays on hidden fears and very real threats, which is what makes the read less speculative and more believable.

Buy The End of the World Survivors Club at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Penguin Random House UK – Ebury Publishing; pub date 5 Sept. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

I think the majority of people will have a certain image of Achilles in their heads thanks to the portrayal of his persona as a great warrior and handsome hero in major blockbuster movies. According to Greek mythology, Achilles was the son of the mortal Peleus, king of the Myrmidons, and the immortal Nereid Thetis. She is a sea nymph, a goddess of water and also purported to be one of fifty Nereids, the daughters of the ancient sea god Nereus.

The latter is especially important during this story, because Achilles’ obsession with his mother has a direct influence on the way he interacts with women, in this case Briseis. The initial attraction is caused by memories evoked by the smell of the sea on Briseis, which reminds him of the mother who abandoned him. He returns to the sea over and over again to connect with the feeling of love and protection he misses so much. Achilles becomes the young boy who yearns for the arms of his mother. Of course in relation to Briseis and memories of his mother we are talking Oedipal complex.

The Greeks are fighting to get Helen back, the infamous Helen of Troy. This story is focused on the lives of the women in the camp of the Greeks during this conflict. Women and girls who are bounty from other conflicts and sieges. Any male above a certain age is considered a future threat and therefore annihilated.

It doesn’t matter which status the women had before, they are all in the same boat when they are taken prisoner. Saying that, there is still a hierarchy with the worst position being the women no man of importance has any interest in. They are given to the soldiers as camp whores. The others are just whores by a different name. Although sometimes a woman might rise to the position of wife, it tends to be a rarity. The reality is that these women are treated like voiceless scum.

Barker combines mythology, history and women’s fiction, the result is a beautiful bold and heart-wrenching piece of literature. It is the gift that keeps on giving. It speaks of the unheard voices and the imposed silence girls have always had to live with. Even the alleged hero, winner of hearts and ruler of warriors is but a man at the end of the day. A man who treats women with disdain.

Buy The Silence of the Girls at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.Publisher: Penguin; Paperback pub date 2 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.