Book Review: Beneath The Surface, by Heidi Perks

Publisher: Red Door Books   |   Publication date: 24th March 2016

Beneath the Surface my review

Beneath the Surface

Beneath The Surface plays its cards incredibly close to its chest as it poses disastrous dilemmas for one family under the microscope.

Step into the shoes of a seventeen year old girl with a whole lot to say for herself, who left the house one morning only to return to an empty one. Her mother and her two year old sisters weren’t home, and as time went on it appeared they had no intention of ever coming back.

Unfortunately, this stuff of nightmares happened to Abigail. At first she didn’t could quite understand the bizarre situation she found herself in. She knew she had a difficult relationship with her mother, but surely this was a punishment too far? Surely she couldn’t hate her so much to up and leave without telling her?

When realism finally kicked in Abigail called the authorities and reported her family missing.  The only assistance she received was from her narcissistic grandmother who arrived on the scene to take control, just like she with everything else.

Her future became dominated by that day. As a young girl without stability or guidance and only her grandmother throwing money at her, she was condemned to make one bad decision after another. Over the course of fourteen years Abi carried the burden for the loss of those she cared for. She couldn’t even tell all of the facts to her husband, Adam, placing their own relationship under a significant strain.

As she struggles to piece together the puzzle of her life her therapist, Maggie, suggests she put pen to paper and vent her emotions by writing a letter to Adam. This may bring clarity to her life, even though both he and her family are not currently part of it.  The letter carefully reveals tiny snippets of Abi’s past and increases the suspense at a perfect pace. You just can’t help being intrigued as to what on earth transpired, compelling you to read on!

The remaining story is told from scenes that are happening in an obscure seaside village, where there’s a family facing a few trials of their own and the suspense is steadily rising. But more significantly there’s an elaborate lie that’s so huge it’ll smack you right between the eyes – heck, my reader radar didn’t see that one coming! There were a few moments that left me, well, pretty gobsmacked if I’m honest!

The entire story revolves around the choices we make and how they affect others, even if we can’t see it at the time.  With unimaginable spite emanating from a matriarchal shrew, the placating reactions of those tip-toeing around her, and the ignorance toward the subtle hints of mental illness, the drama is SO well played.  The constant state of wondering whether Abi will ever find the answers she’s looking for keeps the tremendous tension simmering throughout. Yep, it’s very well played indeed.

Rating: 4.5/5

(Huge thanks to the author for generously providing a digital copy of her book for review.)

Beneath the Surface book summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

I donʼt know where you are…
I donʼt know what Iʼve done…

Teenager Abigail Ryder is devastated when she gets home from school to find her family gone.

Nothing makes sense. Things are missing from the house and her stepsistersʼ room is completely empty. But the police think sheʼs trouble, and when grandmother Eleanor tells her to forget them all and move on, there’s no choice other than face the future – alone.

Fourteen years on, Abi and Adam are a happy couple on the verge of parenthood. But when the past comes back to haunt Abi, the only way forward is to go back and uncover the truth – and reveal the dreadful secrets a mother has been hiding all these years.


Beneath the Surface author profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK / Photo used with author’s permission)

Heidi Perks PolaroidHeidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.

Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.

Heidi successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing her first novel, Beneath The Surface.

She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional.

Heidi is now writing her second novel.



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