The Girl Who Just Appeared by Jonathan Harvey
One of my goals last year was to try and get more use from my Kindle. It seems I'm going to be keeping that up for the mean time - thanks to various Amazon vouchers and credits from my Amazon Prime trial period.
I think it was thanks to these credits and vouchers that I downloaded The Girl Who Just Appeared by Jonathan Harvey.
This book follows Holly, a young woman who was adopted as a baby. Following the death of her adoptive parents, she decides to try and find out where she came from. With nothing more than the address of her birthplace - 32B Gambier Terrace, Liverpool - she sets about uncovering her past.
When the flat becomes available to rent, she ups sticks, leaving her London life behind and travels to Liverpool to try and find some new clues. Once there, she finds a biscuit tin stashed beneath the floorboards, containing old papers - papers that are the clue to solving the mystery surrounding her past...
The book also goes back to 1981 Liverpool, telling the story of Darren, a teenage boy and the struggles he faces growing up with a younger brother and his erratic mother. He must make huge decisions with lifelong consequences and find ways to carry his secrets.
Holly and Darren's stories come together to reveal all...
The story is wonderfully told, with hints and clues dropped all the way and coming together very satisfyingly at the end. It is by no means predictable though, and there are big twists and reveals that had me wanting to turn back the pages to see if I had had missed any little giveaways. It goes off along themes I hadn't expected and kept me enthralled.
It begins with Holly working as PA to a past-it film star, and at first I didn't have high hopes for the book - it felt a bit chick-lit and just another one of those books that would feature bland characters and vague descriptions of Hollywood-style caricatures. But persevere through the first chapter or two (and it is really only the beginning that needs perseverance), and you are rewarded with a much grittier, darker and tangible story.
I enjoy books like this, cleverly interweaving narratives and tying everything together only at the conclusion, yet leaving no questions unanswered. This is an easier read than the psychological thrillers I've been reading recently, but certainly holds its own on my (virtual) bookshelf. Definitely worth a read.
Have you read this book, or any of Jonathan Harvey's other novels?