Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication date: 10th February 2016 (Kindle) | 1st April 2016 (Print)
Today, it’s my stop on the incredible #InHerWake blog tour and I’m delighted to share my review with you for this amazing book by Amanda Jennings.
Books of this calibre should be revered until the end of time. You know the ones I mean, don’t you? Those that evoke every emotion, challenge your waking thoughts, their perfect wordage standing out from the crowd, otherwise known as extraordinary.
Featuring arresting descriptions of the Cornish landscape and intensely vivid, desperately unsatisfied characters, this remarkable story of adversity is one to regard with wonder. In Her Wake sees the anatomy of Bella Campbell’s life being picked apart, piece by fragile piece, until nothing will ever be the same again.
Doctor Henry Campbell and his wife, Elaine, struggle to conceive a child causing a disturbing riptide throughout their marriage. His wife’s distress even tempts them toward religious intervention. So when precious Bella arrives, Doctor Campbell’s wife is overjoyed as her prayers have been answered. She is ‘complete’ and dedicates herself to providing care, home-schooling, and friendship for her daughter above everything and anyone else.
For all their neurosis Bella had no reason to feel anything but admiration and love for her overly-protective mother and emotionally distant father. Subsequently, despite adoring her parents and all their foibles, Bella leads a very lonely life, longing for people her own age to talk to. We discover she has an imaginary friend called Tori, whose personality is the complete opposite of Bella, encouraging her to try new and daring things she would never dream of for fear of disappointing her parents who offer her the world – albeit one that is locked behind a door closed to everyone else she is told for her own safety.
The odd attention that had been heaped upon her in her formative years may have been suffocating, but it was comfortingly familiar. Bella was finally given a chance to spread her wings at university and it was there she met a lecturer twenty years her senior called David, who whisked her off her feet to become the next stable figure in her life, where it seems her wings were stealthily being clipped.
Upon learning of the death of her mother, Bella returns to her childhood home to attend the funeral and is accompanied by David’s subtly condescending presence. They discover her father is bewildered, lost – episodes of his distress emanate from the page. As her mother was the eccentric, complicated bedrock she knew best, Bella’s visit entails awkward silences with her Father to eventually reveal a slither of a childhood she didn’t know existed when a letter written by Doctor Campbell drops the bombshell of all bombshells. Who could have predicated that a single day truly would change everything?
As a result, the world has been throw wide open for this young woman and she has no choice but to discover it for herself. Yet she is hindered by crippling anxiety when tasked to have her own thoughts and aspirations, of which there are excruciatingly heart breaking episodes throughout. After being greatly influenced by her mother’s choices and fears, being told the monsters would come for her if she stepped outside, and since being married to a much older, persuasive man, she didn’t quite manage to escape the clutches of a claustrophobic atmosphere – merely replacing the old façade with a newer, more sickeningly charming one. It seems monsters come in all shapes and guises…
For the duration of the story Bella is on a haunting journey of self-discovery. Accompanied only the occasional visit from her imaginary friend, a projection of her inner-self screaming to be released, she takes charge of her destiny the only way she knows how. As the enigmatic layers are peeled away they reveal how an immense tragedy impacted greatly upon those around her, a tragedy that Bella will soon discover the effects of as she opens the ominous doors of her life and steps out into the world – a world that had been waiting for her, it seems, forever.
Rating: 5/5 ABSOLUTELY AND POSITIVELY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
(My thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for providing the most wonderful ARC for review and for saving a space on the tour bus for me once again. Much appreciated.)
(Courtesy of Amazon UK)
A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own
A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life. Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.
(Author photograph and profile courtesy of publisher)
Amanda Jennings made her literary début with the internationally bestselling novel Sworn Secret. Her second book, The Judas Scar, was optioned by a film and television production company shortly after release. She is fascinated by the ways people react to trauma and deal with its long-lasting effects, and also the complex relationships within a family unit.
She used to work at the BBC, but now writes full time and looks after her three daughters and a menagerie of animals. She writes a popular blog and is a regular guest on BBC Berkshire’s Book Club.
She enjoys running writing workshops, is a judge for the Henley Youth Festival creative writing competition, and is involved with the Womentoring Project, which offers free mentoring by professional literary women to talented up and coming female writers who might otherwise not have access to such an opportunity. She is a regular speaker at festivals and book events, combining her childhood love of the stage with her love of writing.
She likes to be active, preferably beside the sea or at the top of a snow covered mountain, and when she isn’t writing she can usually be found walking her dog and enjoying the peace and solitude of the great outdoors.
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the #InHerWake blog tour:
Leah, at Reflections of a Reader blog