Haven't they Grown by Sophie Hannah
|Haven't they Grown by Sophie Hannah|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Excellent plotting and great character development: a book you won't want to put down until you know exactly what happened. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: January 2020|
|Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton|
|External links: Author's website|
It was when Beth Leeson was ferrying her son, Ben, to a football match that she found herself on Wyddial Lane in Hemingford Abbots. Actually, It's a little disingenuous to say 'found herself' as Beth had made a deliberate detour on the grounds that she didn't find herself in this neck of the woods very often and she was curious to see where a family who'd come into money had lived before they'd all lost contact twelve years ago. And it might have gone no further than that had Beth not seen a car draw up and her friend Flora get out along with two children she called Thomas and Emily. Beth remembered the names well - but these children were about three and five and Flora's children - Thomas and Emily - would now be fifteen and seventeen.
Beth's husband, Dom, thinks there could be quite a few explanations for what Beth thinks happened, chief amongst them being that Beth was 'mistaken'. Her daughter, Zannah, isn't quite so certain and besides, the conversation is way more interesting than revising for her GCSE exams. Ben is more interested in football and computer games. Beth isn't going to let the matter drop though. She's certain about what she saw and she's not going to rest until she gets some answers. She and Dom have a lot of conversations in which the word 'obsessive' occurs regularly. And then Beth moves from speculation to involvement.
In the early part of this book, Beth Leeson annoyed the hell out of me. I was with Dom. There were all sorts of explanations for what Beth thought she'd seen, and whilst some were more rational than others, it wasn't really their business. Nobody seemed to be suffering. It didn't seem as though any crime had been committed. Even Beth admits that impulse control is not her strong point. I wanted her to back off and persuade Zannah that she should revise for her exams and to get on with offering massage therapy to her patients, but that wouldn't make for a very good story.
And that's the important point - this is a very good story. Once I was over my annoyance I was rooting for Beth and for Zan, who became her main supporter. After a certain point, there was no way that I could have put the book down: I had to know what was going to happen. All the clues were there, and it was really obvious once you knew, but I didn't see it coming at all. This is plotting of the highest order, with some classy character development.
I'd like to thank the publishers for making a review copy available to the Bookbag.
This was my first book by Sophie Hannah, but it certainly won't be the last. If you'd like to try another Bookbag reviewers can recommend A Room Swept White.
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