Originally published: 23 January 2020
Author: Sophie Hannah
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Length: 336 pages
Reading dates: 30 December 2019 – 2 January 2020
One weekend after Beth has dropped her son Ben to football in Hemingford Abbots, she decides to drop in on some old friends. Flora and Lewis Braid were close friends of Beth’s and Dom’s, until something happened around twelve years ago and they grew apart. Beth is curious about their lives now, so parks outside their house, just to see if she can spot them. As she is waiting, Flora pulls up to their gated property and Beth watches her get out the car. Flora looks the same, only a little older.
Then Beth sees Flora’s children also get out the car – Thomas and Emily. She hasn’t seen Thomas and Emily for twelve years – yet she is shocked to realise they look exactly the same as when she last saw them when they were five and three. They are Thomas and Emily, without a doubt. She even hears Flora call the children by their names – but they haven’t changed at all. They are no taller and certainly no older.
Why haven’t they grown?
This is how the book starts and what an intriguing premise to draw you in! I have to admit, if I was Beth, I’d probably have just decided I’d made a mistake somehow and move on! But Beth is more curious than me! She cannot even begin to work out why the children look exactly the same. She confides in her husband Dom and daughter Zannah – both whom doubt what she has seen but Beth is adamant she wasn’t seeing things.
Beth makes an excellent detective and won’t let it go, going back to the house hoping to get another sighting and as she starts to make enquiries, she is convinced there is something sinister going on.
I had no idea where this book was going – I couldn’t even guess how this book was going to end! But along with the mystery element of this book, I really enjoyed the insight into Beth’s family life. Her husband Dom, who is frustrated by Beth’s obsession, is ultimately supportive of her and her need to know the truth. Her children are similar ages to mine, and I loved the interactions between them, the way Beth feels lost by some of the things they say and do, the frustrations and love for them. The only thing that horrified me slightly was Beth’s lack of support in encouraging Zannah to revise for her upcoming GCSEs!
I haven’t read any Sophie Hannah before, but she has been on my radar for a while. Well paced with realistic characters, Haven’t They Grown was a thrilling and inventive story that kept me guessing. While some of the plot may have been a bit far fetched, isn’t that what fiction is all about? A great book!
Thank you so much to Umut from Papercharm for inviting me on the Bookstagram tour and for sending me an advanced copy of the book. Be sure to check out the other bookstagrammers below and see what they are saying about this book!
About the author:
Sophie Hannah is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling writer of crime fiction, published in forty-nine languages and fifty-one territories. Her books have sold millions of copies worldwide. In 2014, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Sophie published a new Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a bestseller in more than fifteen countries. She has since published two more Poirot novels, Closed Casket and The Mystery of Three Quarters, both of which were instant Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers.
In 2013, Sophie’s novel The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. She has also published two short story collections and five collections of poetry – the fifth of which, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A Level and degree level across the UK. Most recently, she has published a self-help book called How to Hold a Grudge: From Resentment to Contentment – The Power of Grudges to Transform Your Life.
Sophie has recently helped to create a Master’s Degree in Crime and Thriller Writing at the University of Cambridge, for which she is the main teacher and Course Director. She is also the founder of the DREAM AUTHOR coaching programme for writers. She lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.