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, 30 May 2014

In Too Deep - Bea Davenport

'How had it come to this, I thought. What do I do now?'

Maura Wood is looking back, something has triggered a memory. A photograph in a newspaper. It's of Kim Carter. For a short time they were best friends. Except Kim is dead and Maura 'ran away and became another person.' It was five years ago when Kim died, and Maura has a new identity, and has moved to live and work in South London and try to escape the past. 

Taking us back to five years ago, we drop in on Maura's life then. She lived in Dowerby, a market town in northern England, having moved there with her husband Nick and their young daughter Rosie. From the way Maura describes Dowerby, with its castle and tourist attractions, and the locals who aren't keen on newcomers, it's clear she isn't overly enamoured with the place, to put it mildly, a view that subsequently turned to hatred: 

'Does it seem crazy to feel hatred for a place? Or do you really just hate what happened there? I think I really hate Dowerby, as much as if it was a person. For its smallness, its unwelcoming feeling, its inability to change. I'm grateful to London, though, for allowing me and those like me, to blend into its people-wallpaper, totally unseen.'

Five years ago, preparations were in motion for the annual Dowerby Fair, and Nick is a key organiser of the events, seeking more publicity for the fair to attract higher visitor numbers.  Kim Carter arrives in the town to work as the new district reporter for the regional evening paper. Maura gets to know her, and is friendly towards her unlike many of the locals. Kim is talented and confident, and she becomes like a sister/best friend that Maura has never had before; up until Kim arrives, she made do with her husband and child's company, with no real friends. A firm bond grows between them. Maura laughs and relaxes in Kim's company, and finds a new side to herself, a side she can't express at home. Her behaviour changes through her friendship with Kim. She even starts working with her, gaining more independence, though she is fearful that Nick won't approve of this. He is often unkind and critical in the way he speaks to her, and as the story moves on, we realise that his cruel, controlling and abusive treatment of Maura is not limited to words. I liked a lot of things about Maura, I was glad she had this new friendship and the work that boosted her self-esteem, but I felt saddened at how she was still with Nick after some of his actions had been described; a couple of times I willed her to act differently. 

Back to the present and there is talk of the fair being revived after a five year absence, cancelled as we learn at the start of the novel after Kim's death. Talk of a possible revival has reignited interest in the events surrounding the fair five years ago. Maura, living her new life, working two jobs, surviving alone, suddenly realises that someone is watching her, following her, a reporter asking about her and wanting to resurrect the past. 

I really enjoyed In Too Deep and once I started reading, I raced through it eager to learn more and discover what exactly had happened in the past and how everything fitted together, as well as wanting to know what would happen in the present. I thought there was a good amount of suspense in the story, and the author caused me to ask myself questions, to doubt characters, to question their motives. The characters are well-drawn, they are rounded, with good qualities and with faults. I was convinced by the portrayal of Nick, a nice man on the face of it, his true, awful nature shown in his home. Similarly Kim felt real to me, a beautiful and clever lady, good at her job, but perhaps too keen to ruffle people's feathers and one of those people who can mean so much more as a friend to others than they might to her - though I do think she cared for Maura. I liked the insight into journalism too. The setting, the claustrophobic, at times small-minded community, was vividly depicted. I hoped that things would be better for Maura and there was one aspect of her current life, something missing from it, that I thought must have been incredibly painful.

I found this a tense, compelling, well-paced and nicely structured story, and I would definitely read more from this author in the future. 

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this novel for an honest review. 

Author links - twitter @BerwickBabs | website
Published by Legend Press


  1. These excerpts have grabbed me...I'm now very curious about this one. Thanks for sharing...and thanks for visiting my blog.

  2. Thanks so much for this very generous review - it's wonderful to read that you enjoyed it. Bea Davenport.

  3. I'm so pleased you enjoyed this book too. I loved the suspense and I found the story horribly believable.

  4. Great review Lindsay.

    I tend to like stories that go back a few years and dig into mysteries. This one sounds like it could really hook a reader in.

  5. Great opening line...who hasn't had the same thought at some time or other? Thanks for visiting my blog.


Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and leave a comment. It's great reading your comments and I really appreciate them :)