An unreliable narrator and her equally unreliable identical twin sister. Sarah – who says that her 18-month-old son Oliver has been taken from her; and Evie – who’s always played the role of her sister’s protector and who isn’t about to give that up now when she’s most needed.
Neither of the sisters is particularly likeable although I did find it easier to empathise with Sarah (and her numerous issues). Evie on the other hand, got on my last nerve – she made the hairs on the back of my neck prickle with unease. She is smarmy, over-nice, unpredictable (even more so than her mentally unstable twin), and just too much of everything to have allowed me to have any positive feeling toward her. When she started with the whole “Rah-Bee” pet name routine, I felt myself physically cringe.
The author has very cleverly created characters who carry sinister undertones with them wherever they go, leaving readers in a complete quandary as to what they are meant to see and believe. Which twin is believable? Which is the unstable one? Does Oliver exist? If so, where is he?
I don’t remember ever being so tempted to read the ending of a book before I actually reached it!! I was that desperate to know what was going to happen here. I found myself holding my breath, gasping in frustration, swiping each page … I just had to know where this was going. Don’t get me wrong, the plot moves at quite a fast pace, but once I was immersed in it I couldn’t pull myself out until I knew the outcome.
This is a well crafted thriller. The issue of mental health is dealt with sensitively and the complexities of the human mind and our dependencies on others are also well covered. Do we rely on those who do us the most harm? Do we stay in our comfort zones purely to please others or only ourselves? And what are the long-term effects of personal loss and trauma? Do we ever really know, and do we ever really recover?
This is an intense 4-star read. Many thanks to Damp Pebbles Blog Tour and Inkubator books for inviting me on the tour. Take a look at what other bloggers are saying about The Child Who Never Was …
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3kqo1if
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/33IIk4u
As a child, Jane spent a lot of time in elaborate Lego worlds populated by tiny plastic animals and people. Crime levels were high, especially after the Dragon brothers set themselves up as vets and started murdering the animals in their ‘care’. (They got away with it by propping the victims up with Plasticine and pretending they were still alive…)
As an adult, she is still playing in imaginary worlds and putting her characters through hell – but now she can call it ‘writing’ and convince herself that she is doing something sensible. In real life, she has a PhD in genetics and copy-edits scientific and medical journals.
Jane is the author of Watch Over Me. THE CHILD WHO NEVER WAS will be her second novel published with Inkubator Books .