Rachel Jenner turned her back for a moment. Now her eight-year-old son Ben is missing.
But what really happened that fateful afternoon?
Caught between her personal tragedy and a public who have turned against her, there is nobody left who Rachel can trust. But can the nation trust Rachel?
The clock is ticking to find Ben alive.
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
I’ve heard a tremendous amount of accolade over the past few months about Gilly Macmillan’s debut novel, unsurprisingly I was intrigued not only by the synopsis of the story but also I was curious to learn what sort of angle this particular novel would take. Burnt Paper Sky has been on my TBR list for a while now and I finally had the pleasure of recently reading it. As a debut, the novel was brilliant and my only regret was not reading it sooner.
A missing child is a parent’s worst nightmare. Too often the guilt becomes overbearing and spins our life out of control. This is exactly what our protagonist, Rachel Jenner feels when a momentary mistake costs her, her eight year old son. Missing for a year, Rachel is plagued with grief and is being publicly slaughtered by the media over her lack of supervision and the role she played in the disappearance of her child. Overwhelmed by her experience and those around her, Rachel yearns for her son and the impact his disappearance has is devastating but is Rachel truly to blame or just an innocent pawn in an otherwise brutal world where deception surrounds its claws around the vulnerable.
I loved this book! It’s so difficult for me to put into words just how much of an emotional impact this novel had on me; I’m not the type of reader who cries easily but I came incredibly close to doing so whilst reading this highly charged novel. The missing child plot is one that has been recently portrayed quite a bit in various genres, from television shows to movies. However, what I liked about Burnt Paper Sky was that although following the same outer sphere of the other genres, this novel had much more depth to it and so much rising from beneath the surface than a simple ‘whodunnit’. The deception, betrayal and overall precision of just how incredibly devastating this incident is makes for a perfect recipe for psychological thriller fans and definitely peaks the curiosity of even the hardest cynic.
The media angle was what sold the book for me. Highlighting the flaws in our media today was a perfect reflection of just what our society, in general, represents in today’s generation. How judgmental we’ve become as a nation is emphasised greatly in this superb debut. How as individuals we strive to be as open-minded as the next person but as soon as a story breaks out in the news and makes national headlines, we instantly assume the worst of the person or people involved. The idea that we are as flawed as the person in front of us is realistically portrayed and makes you question just how judgmental you are.
Rachel was a tragic character, in the sense that her story leaves you feeling saddened and sympathetic of her situation, to such a great extent. Her pain is evident from the very first page to the last and there are a few times when I had to stop to just get over the lump in my throat. Some moments were truly heartbreaking and I know for a fact that for any readers with children, this would have been very difficult to read. As such, Gilly does an incredible job of allowing the plot to progress sensitively to its climax. Her writing flows seamlessly throughout the novel and for me, it definitely didn’t feel like a debut novel.
Very few books have the potential to keep me reading well into the morning hours but this was one such book that I could not put down. So cleverly written and emotionally charged that you’re left feeling despondent for the characters within the novel. Thought-provoking from beginning to end, this novel is a perfect recipe for any psychological thriller readers. One of my favourite, if not the favourite, books of 2015! I look forward to reading more of Gilly Macmillan books in the future.
Overall Rating: 10/10
More information about Gilly and her debut book can be found in the following places: