Published 2nd July 2015 by Faber and Faber
Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins’s mother commits suicide. Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago. This is a story about loss and family secrets, and how often the very darkest secrets are those that are closest to you.
Sarah Ward is an online book reviewer whose blog, Crimepieces (www.crimepieces.com), reviews the best of current crime fiction published around the world. She has also reviewed for Eurocrime and Crimesquad and is a judge for the Petrona Award for Scandinavian translated crime novels. She lives in Derbyshire where her debut novel, In Bitter Chill, is set.
Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahrward1
Today it is my turn on the blog tour to celebrate the publication of Sarah Ward’s debut novel. I am really happy to be involved with this. Sarah Ward is well respected in the blogging community and it is lovely to see her book in print.
This is an impressive debut novel by Sarah Ward, who puts a new delicious spin on a missing child case.
The story takes us to 1978, where two eight year old girls are kidnapped in broad daylight. Only one child manages to escape, with Sophie remaining missing presumed dead. Rachel, now in her forties, has managed to move on from the past and is a genealogist. She has fragmented memories about the kidnapping. Sophie’s mother commits suicide, which triggers Rachel’s search for answers. DI Sadler and DC Connie Childs are brought in to investigate, both the disappearance of Sophie and the suicide. Why were the girls taken? And who would not want the truth to come out today?
This is a sophisticated and unsettling read, with uncanny observations about the past. There was plenty to recognise and smile about, for anyone who grew up in the late 1970s/1980s. This is a missing child story, that is a little bit different. A small community has hidden secrets, that will not stay hidden.
I was fascinated by Rachel and her love of genealogy. This surprised me because I’ve not ever been interested in discovering my own personal family history. Genealogy is very much the in-thing these days. Everyone can easily access birth certificates and death certificates online and uncover their family tree. It was very clever how this was interwoven into the story.
There is much to love in this book. Its highlight for me was the focus on genealogy. Family secrets, missing children, a killer and insight into our recent past; a perfect combination!
Join the rest of the Blog Tour and say hello to Sarah Ward on twitter.