Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 26 April 2013

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? - Paula Daly

Lisa Kallisto receives a phone call from her friend Kate Riverty, and replies to one of her questions without thinking about it very much. After all she’s tired and stressed, busy with her children, her husband, carrying out her job, worrying about money, and her ageing mother; so many things to juggle every single day. Then it is revealed that Kate’s daughter, thirteen-year-old Lucinda has gone missing. And the way things have worked out, it seems Lisa is implicated in this; Lucinda was supposed to have been staying over at Lisa’s with her friend Sally, Lisa’s daughter. So begins a nightmare few days in Lisa’s life, during which friendships are tested, her marriage comes under strain, dark and uncomfortable secrets are brought out into the open, and the community is shocked and scared. When another girl who had been missing is found, the search for Lucinda intensifies and fears grow when there is no news.

This is a wonderful, compelling modern day tale, with some good twists and revelations. The author tackles the modern day plight of women who are trying to cope simultaneously with caring for their children, looking after their home, doing well at work and maintaining their relationships as well as competing with the standards that other seemingly 'perfect' mothers appear to set and which are realistically impossible to maintain. The novel deftly highlights the importance of the real, loving relationships in our lives as opposed to the somewhat fake friendships that can be formed when really there is actually little in common.

This novel appealed to me on many levels; I loved the Lake District setting around Troutbeck and Windermere because that whole area is one of my favourite places in the world, so it was exciting for me to be reading a story based there. I also was very pleased about the inclusion of Lisa’s work caring for and rehoming abandoned dogs and cats. It was great to see an incredibly important cause like this highlighted in this story and incorporated well within the progression of the main plot too at one stage.

First and foremost though it’s a cracking thriller, the author has done a great job for her debut work in keeping the reader’s attention and produced a very good story; it’s pacey and passionate and I was turning the pages very quickly to find out what had happened. I found the narrative really engaging; we have chapters from Lisa’s point of view, an emotional observer on the investigation and close to all involved, then the main detective on the case, DC Joanne Aspinall, and also some short, haunting and teasing passages that allow us an insight into the criminal’s thoughts.

Lisa is a likeable, flawed main character who has a good heart but has made mistakes and is aware of them; in other words she is rounded, human and believable, and she goes through so many emotions over the course of the story. Likewise Joanne’s character is developed beyond her role in the investigation to incorporate aspects of her home life and make her a rounded personality.

As with the best crime stories, there is plenty of intrigue to make you wonder as you read and to make you think about if how things look on the outside really reflects what is hidden within. Importantly, the tension doesn't let up from start to finish. To say anymore about the plot would spoil it, so just give this one a read! I think it could be very popular, in particular at book clubs as it does provoke interesting discussion points. Definitely one to pick up this summer.

Published by Bantam Press

You can follow the author on twitter @pauladalyauthor and discuss the book there using #JWKOMAY

Thank you to Alison Barrow at Transworld for the chance to read a proof copy of this book.


  1. Sounds like a good 'un Lindsay!

  2. Sounds like my kind of read and as we are less than 80 miles from Windermere its especially appealing.

  3. Perfect book for this weekend.

    Stopping by from Carole's Books You Loved May Edition. I am in the list as #36.

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