Book Reviews

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan (Review #14)

Thank You very much to publisher – Penguin UK and NetGalley for the review copy.
Genre: mystery and thrillers / women’s fiction
Release date: 16 06 2016
Price: £3.85 (GBP)
Pages: ~348
My rating: 7/10
Summed up in few words: kidnapping, identity crisis, violence.
 Description of the book:  Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received: 
‘Dear Amy, 
I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me. 
Please help me soon, 
Bethan Avery’
Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything . . .
How this book made me feel: when I read the description of the book it really left me intrigued and I was very excited when I got this review book. After I finished it, I was slightly disappointed of how it turned out. The main character was a teacher/adviser Margot Lewis. Who was about to get divorced with her husband. When the schoolgirl gets kidnapped, Margot starts getting letters from Bethan, who vanished a decade ago, with a request to save her.  Police is laughing at her letters, so she is trying to figure out Bethan’s  story on her own. But what she finds out ruins her life. Margot is a very strong woman, who has some serious psychological issues. However I really liked the way she was dealing with them. Most of the novel is told by Margot, however I really loved that there were parts, where other characters had chance to express themselves. There was a part where the kidnapped schoolgirl had to tell her side of the story and how she was feeling in some situations. I was ecstatic when author gave an insight of the kidnapper’s brain and how he saw and felt during the whole story.  The ability to involve more than one character in the book makes me enjoy it way more, and I am over the moon when authors do it. The characters in this publication were quite interesting and enjoyable. 
I don’t think that the whole idea of getting letters from kidnapped people was very original, but the fact that they come after so long kept the suspense going. Unfortunately not for very long, because at least for me it was quite predictable what the outcome will be and who the sender was. The intensity of the plot I would describe as “V” shape. The beginning had turns and was interesting, the middle of the book got quite boring and predictable and then towards the end it became interesting and twisty again. I was not very excited to read so many Margot’s thoughts, as some of them were quite irrelevant and felt like dragging unnecessary. There was some action going on but it could’ve been a bit faster paced. It was quite easy to read this book; it has a simple and understandable writing style. The author shares her love for Cambridge in a very enjoyable way by describing the places and buildings very nicely and with great detail. Never been there but from this book I can imagine it is a beautiful place. I really liked that author touched such themes as school hierarchy, influence of internet posts and how naive young girls can be. I do hope that people who read the book will learn something from this book.  I truly enjoyed the ending of the book and I think it was really thought trough and concluding. It didn’t leave any unfinished business and I’m very happy about it.  So to conclude, It is a good book if you looking for mystery, some twists and turns and the story which was told from more than one point of view. 
About the author: Helen Callaghan lives in Cambridge amongst teetering piles of books with her hamster, Aleister. She was at various points a student nurse, barmaid and drama student. Eventually she settled into book selling, working as a fiction specialist and buyer for a variety of bookshops, and did that for nearly ten years. In the end she became restless and studied for A-levels at night school. She achieved a place at Cambridge University as a mature student, where she studied Archaeology. When she is not writing fiction she writes technical documentation for IT companies, which is every bit as thrilling as it sounds. She also keeps a blog, available on http://www.helencallaghan.co.uk/ . The blog is about her writing; including her thoughts on the things she reads and sees, some digressions on cool little nuggets that come up in the research (she experiments a fair bit with medieval cookery), and any other stratagem she can employ to waste the world’s time. Her debut novel, Dear Amy, is published by Michael Joseph and available now. She is represented by Judith Murray at Greene and Heaton Ltd. At the moment she is up to her eyes writing the next book, which should be available from Michael Joseph next year sometime… (Information used form authors website mentioned above.)

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