Many thanks to BOTBSPublicity for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Hera for the ARC – I am delighted to be reviewing ‘Familiar Strangers’ on my blog today.
‘I took you, Becca. You’re not my daughter.’
Since Becca Wall’s mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, every day Becca loses a little more of the loving, caring mother who would do anything for her only daughter. But when one day Nancy Wall confesses that Becca is not her child, Becca’s world falls apart.
Becca tells herself that the words are just a cruel symptom of Nancy’s illness; after all, she has her birth certificate, and pictures of herself as a newborn along with her Mom, Dad and older brother, Danny. Becca tries to forget, to get on with her life – until the day the police question her about the whereabouts of a missing woman, Katie Collins.
Katie has disappeared without a trace, telling her husband that she is leaving to find Rebecca Wall. But Becca doesn’t know Katie, so it’s a case of mistaken identity – isn’t it? But as Becca discovers why Katie was desperate to find her, the lies that Becca has always believed come crashing down.
Soon, it’s clear that someone knows the truth – and that they’ll stop at nothing to keep their secrets…
What does TWG think?
‘Familiar Strangers’ has such a lot of promise. As an intense read, Jackie Walsh has that bang on. I mean, with a line coming out of Becca’s mothers mouth being, ‘I took you, Becca. You’re not my daughter.’, it really could not be anything other than intense. I don’t know about you, but those eight words sent tingles up and down my spine.
As an emotive read, again, Jackie Walsh nails that element as well because the storyline also deals with the turmoil behind early onset Alzheimers and the effects it has both on the person, and the family. Those parts of the book aren’t easy to read, and I am sure that they aren’t very easy to live through either, however I am very glad that I was able to have my eyes opened to such a heartbreaking illness. I wish there was more help for the sufferers and their families. I cannot even begin to imagine how emotional seeing your loved one going through that must be.
However, like I said at the star, the book has a lot of promise. For me, I found the way everything was brought together wasn’t as tight as it could have been. There was a lot of scene setting and less actual action. I know that scenes need to be set in order for the storyline to work, I just felt that there was more descriptions about what Becca did daily, instead of the nitty gritty details such as Katie Collins. I also found the ending to be a little bit rushed which was a shame.
Aside from that, I enjoyed the complex family dynamics, the intense relationships, and the uncertainty between each of the characters. I thought that the psychological element of the book was utterly brilliant and left my mind in absolute turmoil. I think that Jackie Walsh has an incredible, incredible talent that I cannot wait to see grow as she releases more books.