Welcome to the In Her Wake blog tour!
Published: 10th February 2016 (Orenda Books)
Synopsis: A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own.
A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life.
Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.
I kindly received a advance copy of In Her Wake from Karen at Orenda Books however I oddly put off reading it! I wanted to make sure that I could give it the attention it deserved and devour it (and also it was one of those books that I knew was going to be great). Well, what a book it is indeed! As you will see this is a massive blog tour that is coming to an end, it has attracted the attention of so many readers and bloggers. I’m not sure that the term ‘psychological thriller’ actually does this book justice as it’s actually more than that, it’s about a woman truly finding herself and taking back control of her life.
In Her Wake opens with the haunting prologue about a dream on the night that ‘she’ died – however it is not clear who ‘she’ is.
Bella’s mother Elaine has recently died and Bella and her husband, David, have travelled to her family home, ahead of Elaine’s funeral, where she finds her father, Henry, not coping particularly well. It is clear from the outset that David is controlling, always taking charge and dictating the way in which Bella leads her life – even getting Bella a job with one of his friends. Bella recognises that Elaine was controlling and once Bella got some freedom at university, we actually took solace in David who became a replacement for Elaine.
Bella’s childhood was relatively happy but things weren’t quite right which Bella couldn’t really put her finger on – Elaine and Henry were very private to the point of being reclusive and no family ever visited. Bella was home-schooled and her first taste of freedom wasn’t until she attends university which her mother wasn’t happy about.
The narration changes between present time from Bella’s perspective and going back to when Henry and Elaine were young, from Henry’s perspective, to provide the reader some insight as to how their lives were when they we young and newly married.
In Her Wake has a very strong female lead with the majority of the narration focusing on the female characters and the challenges that they have faced overtime. I liked Bella and her desire to take back control of her life from both Elaine and David. Whilst Bella is the lead character, the other female characters do not pale into the background, Jennings has also given them a voice. I didn’t particularly like the male characters other than Henry, which I’m sure was a deliberate act from the author. Despite Henry’s faults, Jennings is empathic as to the burden he has lived with and his desire to do the right thing by everybody alongside the guilt that eats him up everyday.
It is actually difficult to put into words how I felt about this book, the stories from each of the characters are wonderfully interwoven into a novel that is frankly fabulous!
About the author:
Amanda Jennings made her literary début with the internationally bestselling novel Sworn Secret. Her second book, The Judas Scar, was optioned by a film and television production company shortly after release. She is fascinated by the ways people react to trauma and deal with its long-lasting effects, and also the complex relationships within a family unit. She used to work at the BBC, but now writes full-time and looks after her three daughters and a menagerie of animals. She writes a popular blog and is a regular guest on BBC Berkshire’s Book Club. She enjoys running writing workshops, is a judge for the Henley Youth Festival creative writing competition, and is involved with the Womentoring Project, which offers free mentoring by professional literary women to talented up-and-coming female writers who might otherwise not have access to such an opportunity. She is a regular speaker at festivals and book events, combining her childhood love of the stage with her love of writing. She likes to be active, preferably beside the sea or at the top of a snow-covered mountain, and when she isn’t writing she can usually be found walking her dog and enjoying the peace and solitude of the great outdoors.