My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 2 days
Pages - 352
Publisher - Headline
Blurb from Goodreads
They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied? I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don't you? My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my tattered life. This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he's dead? If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?
2013 Susan Websters letter to the parole board is accepted, Susan is being released and starting a new life as Emma Cartwright. Emma can move on, meet new people and start to heal, Emma is not Susan, Susan who killed her twelve week old baby. Emma is ready to heal, however someone knows Emma is Susan, someone knows what she has done and now Emma has a letter hand delivered to Susan and a picture of a toddler, the same age as Susan's baby would be. Soon Emma is being tormented, could her son really be alive or is someone punishing Susan for her crime and is she in danger?
So the book opens in 2013 and pretty much jumps into the present with Emma getting the picture of a toddler suggesting it is her son. There is no memory of her child's death but she has been convicted, lost her husband and everyone has told her of her guilt. Now Susan aka Emma, needs to uncover who is tormenting her and if there can be any chance her child is alive. The story flips to the past 1987, written in italics and headed Jack. We go between the past, with Jack, and then to the present with Susan, the relevance of Jack doesn't become clear until much later in the story. With it being headed and in italics it is easy to identify the time jump and character distinction so doesn't disrupt the story too much.
Susan is unreliable at times, particularly as she is constantly questioning herself and her crime, things happen to mess with her mind and reality and you do feel sorry for her. She agrees to meet a reporter who seems to want to help her and believe she is being tormented. With little support and the scale of terror climbing up Susan has few places to turn. Her behavior at times is exasperating and questionable however if you had lost your child and being tormented, who can say how you would behave. Her poor choices and erratic behavior did impact on my enjoyment of the story to be honest and as it went on I did at one point think really? However, it does make for a very good page turner, I was invested in the story and needed to know how it all panned out. This was my first time reading this author, I would read her again 3/5 for me this time.