Summer Book Review: The Missing One by Lucy Atkins

Imagine This: Your relationship with your mother hasn’t been all braiding each other’s hair and slagging your father when he’s away for work (—normal daughters and mothers do this! Please review your relationships.). Growing up, both of you fought like crazy, made up like crazy, then within a few seconds were drawing battle lines again.

So when your mother dies, you are the least person to feel sorrow. You are the least person to rethink the happy moments with your mum. You are the last person to jet away to your mother’s past—which she has shut out to you all her life—to go find out why she was the woman you could never get on with. But you do.

Moments later, you are hightailing it to Canada in search of a best friend of your mum who’s been sending her cards a particular day every one of these thirty-eight years they split up without a reply. With your adorable toddler on your back, and a chance to ditch your husband who you’ve suddenly found out might be having extra-marital affairs, you get away from England.

Now your mother’s best friend is rather peculiar, never revealing much, withholding things about your mother’s past from you. Of course, you could consider the journey here all to be a waste and leave, but you feel this woman is hiding something about your mother’s past she doesn’t want to pass on, you have so many unanswered questions you want to see if you could use your skills as an interviewer to goad her into revealing.

Before you realize it’s really a waste to have come, and when you make a decision to leave, this woman has become preoccupied with your little son and has shocking extraordinary plans for him. Plans that would flare up all the maternal instincts in you such that you would do anything to protect your son from this bitch. Even if nothing helps.

Kali’s life-treacherous, suspenseful journey towards uncovering the secrets of her mother’s past summarised for your delight.

This book is great. One that would consume your time this summer and totally-worth losing the hours for. So well-researched, so well-written, so highly thrilling!

First of all, I loved the storyline. I love the whole mother riding shotgun with her adorable infant to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past. Absolutely fab! You would never underestimate the lengths a mother would go to protect her own child after reading this. And you would adore the weaving of info about captured Killer Whales in parks that would struck an emotional nerve. A star to the storyline.

The main character, Kali, is damn right superb. I loved her to bits. You would also love Kali for worrying about essential details about parenting and mothering that most parents and mothers ignore, her constant eyes on her son, the little mistakes she berates herself daily for like feeding him with fries or not washing a sippy-cup before pouring warm milk in it. She’s the embodiment of a mother constantly looking out for her child even though she admits sometimes she does a shitty job at it. Plus her constant curiosity, making speculations and conclusions with the little info she has about the purpose of her ‘adventure’ makes this title suspenseful.── ★

Speaking on the element of suspense, mystery and the fear of the unknown, I can vouch that this book has all the above. Laden with so much suspense even when the main issue of the plot hasn’t kicked in yet (that is, mother’s best friend endangering her son) you would still find yourself sitting at the edge of your seat and mumbling to yourself, “What the hell.”── ★★

Other characters also make this book a plus as well. There’s Elena, the mother whose backstory is presented in third-person narrative during intervals of Kali’s first-person narrative. There’s Susannah, the once best friend of Elena who’s highly secretive and not giving much away… should I mention deranged too? Alice, the sister who always has a firm perspective of things with her job as a lawyer. There’s also Graham, Kali’s dad who’s also secretive as hell and hiding a chunk of his wife’s past from her daughter—a man who’s (in)actions gutted me so much. A star to these characters.── ★★★

There’s no denying I loved this book. But I found some back-story on Elena’s part unnecessary detail that slowed the pace of this book—some parts were intriguing and important to understand the psyche of a mother who never really showed that much love to her oldest daughter, others were just dragging the story and made me want to quickly get over with it so I could get into the current day life of Kali. Of course, if this book was less suspenseful, I’m not sure I would have been feeling this way, because there would be no eagerness to get on with Kali’s present.── ★★★★

So my rating is a four-point-five stars out of five (4.5 stars).

Lucy Atkins’ highly suspenseful debut (—yes! You heard right!—) which would keep you awake late in the night and wondering when sleep would ever claim you is available on amazon. I totally wouldn’t recommend this book if it didn’t give me headaches for lack of sleep.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants something laden with suspense, anyone who wants something to steal away the hours on a lounger and make tanning for hours seem endurable should get this. It’s the perfect summer read for anyone who wants to feel chilly in these burning hot temperatures.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.

Watch out for giveaway and questions and answers on this book with the author.

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