Small towns and secrets … is there a better combination than this? Nope, definitely not!
Amanda Jennings has always known she was adopted. But she’s always been told that her adoptive parents had no information whatsoever about her birth parents. It therefore comes as a shock when she discovers that she’s been left a house by her biological grandmother, in a place called Avalon Springs. She decides to set off, with her two kids in tow to find out what she can about the house, and if possible, about her past.
Avalon Springs is a small place where everyone seems to know everyone else, and it’s quickly evident that many of them also know quite a bit about Amanda’s grandmother Gloria, and her mother Angie too. As soon as she mentions their names, moods shift, conversation dries up and as much as they try to deny it, Amanda knows that they hold the key to the information she’s looking for about her roots, which clearly lie in Avalon Springs.
Amanda is torn in numerous directions. What was meant to be a brief visit to see the house and quickly sell it, becomes an extended stay. She manages to settle her children, grouchy teen Madison, and anxious Theo, but while they are otherwise occupied she can’t manage to dispel the growing sense of unease that began the minute she first arrived at her grandmother’s house, the house where Angie, her mother grew up.
There are twists, there are turns. There are red herrings, deliberately thrown in just so that the reader will go wandering off along the wrong path, only to realise they’ve got things completely backwards! Lauren Westwood weaves a clever web of deceit against a backdrop of small-town bigotry and jealousy, where everyone knows your business and you can’t hide your shame. And when the past comes calling and everyone scrambles to cover up what they know, and what their role was, are there really ever going to be winners, or only losers.
Westwood’s characters are believable and readers will immediately be drawn to Amanda, who simply wants to know about a family she didn’t think she’d every have a chance to find out about. There are the usual suspects: those who’ve always wanted to leave who were never able to; those who’ve always loved their town and never understood the ones who wanted to leave; those who’ve been successful and use that success to lord it over others. But who is guilty and who is innocent, or are they all just victims of a past that they had no control over?
This is a highly recommended 4-star read.
Lauren Westwood writes dark and romantic women’s fiction and is also an award-winning children’s writer. Originally from California, she now lives in England in a pernickety old house built in 1602, with her partner and three daughters.
Lauren hopes you enjoy her latest book, My Mother’s Silence, which is a dark, emotional journey about homecoming and family secrets. Your opinions are important to her, so please do leave a review.
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Thank you to Bookouture for inviting me to tour with them once again. Look at what others are saying about The Daughter She Lost …