Girl Unknown by Karen Perry

‘I should, I suppose, go back to the beginning, to the first time we met.’

Professor David Connolly is a university lecturer in history. His wife Caroline has just returned to work in an advertising agency.  They have two children: Holly and Robbie.  All is going well, or so it seems.  But their lives are about to be turned upside down.   Zoë Barry, a first-year student, walks into David’s office one day, and makes a tentative statement:

‘I think you might be my father . . .’

Can David and Caroline integrate Zoë into their family?  David certainly thinks that they should try.  Caroline is less sure, but she’s prepared to try.  But Zoë is complicated and secretive and it isn’t long before she starts causing problems.  David is often inclined to believe Zoë, and takes her side in disputes with Caroline.

The novel switches between Caroline and David, presenting each of their perspectives as they try to accommodate Zoë and work out the best way to deal with her impact on their lives.  But Zoë has her own agenda: there’s clearly much more to Zoë than meets the eye.

The tension builds throughout the novel.  And, even though some of David’s actions seemed incredibly naïve and annoyed me, I kept reading wondering how it would all end.  Perhaps a family holiday in France might provide a solution?  One way or another.

‘Families don’t come apart because a thread has been loosened.’

A fast-paced psychological thriller with more than a couple of twists.  Not all the twists worked for me, but the novel certainly held my attention.  Karen Perry is the pen name of Dublin-based crime writing duo Paul Perry and Karen Gillece. This is their second novel.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

The Lie: Helen Dunmore

I’ve not read books by this author either, and after reading this post, I think I should.

The Idle Woman


I haven’t read any books by Helen Dunmore before because, somehow, I’d got it into my head that she only wrote time-slip romantic fiction. Goodness knows why I thought that, but I suppose I’d heard vaguely about The Greatcoat and extrapolated widely to come up with a completely mistaken idea. The Lie has put me right. A poignant, gut-wrenching tale of love, loss, and survivor’s guilt, it tells the story of the young Cornishman Daniel Branwell as he returns home after the horrors of the First World War.

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