When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic – girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble – Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.
Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons – graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine – the more she is convinced not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.
Firstly, thank you to Pan Macmillan for giving me a copy of this book in return for an honest review. The Bones of You is a hauntingly good debut by Debbie Howells that has enough twists and secrets to keep the reader entertained from start to finish.
At the beginning of the novel we meet our protagonist Kate and life seems to be going well for her until she hears that one of her daughter’s friends, Rosie Anderson, has gone missing. The plot of the novel revolves around Rosie’s death, the usual who, what and why but with a brilliant and dark twist. If you’re looking for a typical ‘whodunnit’ suspense than look elsewhere because this novel is so much more than that. It explores the lives of each and every character spoken of in the story and gives the reader an in depth description of the lives they led and the lives they let others believe they were living. Rosie lived a seemingly perfect life with a perfect family but all that is thrown into question when Kate starts to scratch the surface of the Andersons’ family lives. Not everything is what it seems and no one can be trusted, least of all Rosie’s family.
I initially felt that the concept held a slight similarity to that of Gone Girl with regards to the ideal domesticated life turning out to be a nightmare, however as I read further on I felt that in terms of characterisation and narrative this novel held its own place as a psychological thriller.
The narrative is told from mostly Kate’s perspective with Rosie filling in the rest of the story in flashbacks that gave a brilliant insight into the reality of Rosie’s life and that of her family’s. When reading Kate’s perspective I, at times, really felt the pace of the story drag and found myself skipping a few pages here and there. I much preferred Rosie’s narrative as it held a lot more of a dynamic and I continuously found myself asking more questions which led to me questioning the motives of nearly every family member as well as that of the supporting characters.
Both Kate and Rosie were endearing characters. I sympathised with them from start to finish and by the time we reached the end of the novel I felt saddened and hoped that Rosie could have had a different ending. The novel touches sensitive subjects and makes us all question just how much we hide from those we love. The portrayal of a chilling domesticated life was without fault and for me it was an incredible debut novel.
If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers then this novel is a must read. There is enough suspense, drama and chilling moments to keep you hooked throughout. Although at times slow, there was enough substance within the story to keep it flowing from page to page, which overall made it a very satisfying read. A compelling, well written and thrillingly debut novel. A promising start in this genre for Debbie Howells and I for one will definitely be looking out for more from this author.
Overall Rating: 9/10
The Bones of You releases today so treat yourself to a new voice in psychological thrillers!