Hodder & Stoughton 23rd January 2020 (Hardback)
All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.
Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora Braid for twelve years.
But she can’t resist. She parks outside Flora’s house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car. Except…
There’s something terribly wrong.
Flora looks the same, only older – just as Beth would have expected. It’s the children that are the problem. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Beth hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.
They are no taller, no older.
Why haven’t they grown?
I’ve always enjoyed Sophie Hannah’s writing, specifically the Culver Valley Crime Series and picking up Haven’t They Grown I was reminded why. The writing is immediately accessible and the plot engaging, but most notably Hannah is a skilled writer who creates an intriguing storyline ,often with themes which may seem supernatural and implausible, but the writing is so good that the books are unputdownable and read as very authentic.
Haven’t They Grown is no different and I was curious merely reading the description – how can these children have not grown or aged? indeed how can this be anything bur fantasy? But once again Hannah has created a gripping mystery that plays out well to a satisfying conclusion. Did I not work it out? not really, or perhaps only as the author wanted me to!
Written in the first person voice of Beth, we accompany her as she relentlessly seeks a believable explanation for what she has seen and heard. As she digs deeper her discomfort increases along with her certainty that something is very wrong. With the story being told in her voice, the reader is left unsure as to her reliability and this adds a layer to the story in terms of whether the problem lies with Beth or Flora.
The chapters are on average about 12 pages long, sufficient for the story to progress but short enough to allow a cheeky chapter to be squeezed in when time allowed! The cast is small enough to make it easy to keep up with the characters, who are well defined and as I previously mentioned the plot is authentic with a tidy conclusion which I appreciate in crime / mystery fiction.
This book publishes on 23rd January and comes recommended by me!
About the Author
Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling crime fiction writer, translated into 49 languages and published in 51 countries. Her psychological thriller The Carrier won the Specsavers National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year in 2013. Sophie is the author of the bestselling Poirot continuation mysteries. The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives have been adapted for television as Case Sensitive, starring Olivia Williams and Darren Boyd. Sophie has also created a Master’s Degree in Crime and Thriller writing at the University of Cambridge, of which she is the main teacher and course director. Sophie is also a bestselling poet who has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE and A-Level. Sophie is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She lives in Cambridge with her family.
This is a blog tour so huge thanks to Jenny Platt for inviting me to be involved and providing me with a proof copy of the book. Details of the rest of the tour are below so do check out what others are saying about Haven’t They Grown.