Originally published: 13 May 2021
Author: Lia Middleton
Published by: Michael Joseph
Length: 384 pages
Listening Dates: 11-16 May 2021
NAOMI ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A MOTHER.
But three years ago, her husband left, taking their child with him.
Now, her daughter has come to stay, and Naomi knows it’s her one chance to re-build her family. But the night ends in a terrible accident. And Naomi tells a lie she can never take back:
NAOMI REPORTS HER DAUGHTER MISSING.
Within hours, her home is invaded. Journalists crowd the driveway. Police search the woods at the foot of the garden. Her ex-husband paces the hall.
And Naomi can’t look away. Because the only thing worse than the lie she’s told is the truth:
NAOMI HAS NO MEMORY OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED THAT NIGHT . . .
I’m going to try not to refer to the plot in this book if I can because I’m worried I might give something away! Poor Naomi is a character you can’t help but feel sympathy for. In flashbacks we see evidence of Aiden, a loving husband, but things start to unravel for Naomi after the birth of her daughter Freya. She is too scared to sleep in case anything happens to her and her mental health ends up suffering.
For reasons we don’t find out until later in the book, Aiden takes Freya away to live with him and marries Helen, Naomi’s once best friend! As the book opens, Naomi has been allowed to have Freya overnight for the first time since Aiden took her away and mother and daughter have a lovely time together before a terrible accident tears her life apart.
A real page turner of a novel, the author expertly captures the grief of both Naomi and Aiden as the police interview them both then search the land around the farm on which she lives. But Naomi feels like there is a huge piece of the puzzle missing as she can’t remember what happened that night. And the lie she tells just seems to snowball and gets out of control.
Naomi’s mental health after Freya’s birth is handled well – I could almost feel her exhaustion and worry about her new daughter and her obsession with keeping her safe. And ironically it is the “help” she gets in the form of sleeping pills that leads to her downfall.
An exciting read, Naomi’s actions were ones I sympathised with. The author expertly weaves the story together with what happened in the past with what is happening in the present. An intense and compelling debut, I really enjoyed this psychological thriller.
Thank you to Hanifa for sending me a proof copy of the book.
About the author:
Lia Middleton is a barrister who specialises in crime and prison law, and lives with her husband and two young children in Buckinghamshire. When she isn’t writing, Lia enjoys reading, travelling, and discovering new food markets and festivals.