Thursday, March 5, 2020

Review: Familiar Strangers

Familiar Strangers Familiar Strangers by Jackie Walsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent read.

One day, Becca visits her mother in the care home that she has been in since her early-onset Alzheimer’s deteriorated to the point where she needed full time professional care. During this visit, Nancy has a seemingly lucid moment where she declares that Becca isn’t her daughter, that she took her. This news is like a bolt from the blue for Becca, who has never suspected that her roots lie anywhere else than her family. As quick as the moment comes, Nancy disappears back into herself and cannot clarify the bombshell that she has landed. Becca is left confused by the whole situation and wonders rather this is nothing more than confusion from her mum, words that she didn’t mean – but there’s a part of her that is also questioning everything she knows.

To add to the difficulties that Becca is having with her mother’s health and her father’s subsequent withdrawal from enjoying anything in life – Becca receives a phone call from the police investigating the disappearance of a woman who was apparently off to find ‘Rebecca Wall’. A woman as to whom Becca has no recollection of every knowing or ever meeting. The police seem hell bent on proving that Becca is involved but unwilling to share any details with her.

Familiar Strangers is such a brilliant read, engaging right from the start with a brilliant, and at times completely annoying, protagonist. Becca is at times frustrating as she doesn’t help herself in her quest to find out the reason that Katie Collins went missing looking for her. What is clear is that there are lots of secrets but as to whether they are anything to do with Katie is far from clear.

Jackie Walsh’s writing makes you question everything and everyone – similarly to Becca, you are made to feel that everyone is a suspect! I got so drawn into the narrative and also wanted to know why Katie was searching for Becca and what happened to her that I pretty much read this book in one day – I just needed to keep reading, wanting to know more. I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to read this in a day (thanks to my husband’s cycling sportive!) as I definitely would not wanted to have put it down!

This is brimming with suspense and red herrings that takes its reader on the journey alongside Becca as the secrets unravel and the truth comes out. A fantastic read which I highly recommend – but make sure you have a clear diary to maximise your reading time! 

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