Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 23rd January 2020
Quite a few years ago I discovered Sophie Hannah and her wonderful twisty turny crime thrillers based around a police force in the Culver Valley. The protagonist Simon Waterhouse was such a fascinating character and despite not being a huge police procedural fan I absolutely loved these books. Sophie Hannah has an innate skill of making the unbelievable and inconceivable a reality. In each of her previous books I had absolutely no clue as to what had happened until the big reveal where all the tiny, (minuscule even!) clues were unravelled and exposed.
I’ve also read Sophie Hannah’s stand-alone novel The Orphan Choir which being a spooky little tale was a break away from the crime she writes so well but equally enthralling.
In Haven’t They Grown Sophie has returned to what she is the absolute QUEEN of and that is battering my head! In a good way! In a FANTASTIC way in fact!
When I read the blurb for this book I was so excited! I couldn’t wrap my head around the words I was reading and my mind was blown. I even read the blurb out to numerous people and got their imaginative juices flowing as well! I almost didn’t want to pick it up I wanted to spend a little longer trying to figure out what on earth was going to happen without even having read a single word.
When I eventually did pick it up I was very apprehensive as I wanted it to be as brilliant as I thought it was going to be and luckily in this case it was!
Haven’t They Grown tells the story of￼ Beth, our protagonist. Beth has had a friendship with Flora break down some 12 years before the start of this story. We are not party to why this relationship dissolved but we are aware that Beth and Flora have not spoken in some time. One day, when Beth is dropping one of her children off somewhere she happens to ‘accidentally’ drive by the house she was last aware of Flora living with her husband Lewis and two children Emily and Thomas.
Beth stays long enough to see a woman arrive home. The woman turns out to be Flora, and she’s not alone, she has two children with her who appear to be Emily and Thomas. Beth’s suspicions are confirmed when she hears Flora call the children by the same names.
Emily and Thomas have not changed since Beth last laid eyes on them. But how can this be when she last saw them twelve years ago?!
What follows on from here is Beth’s mission to find out exactly what’s been happening in Flora and Lewis’s family in the long period that she hasn’t seen them and just how on earth the children haven’t changed in twelve years! What starts out as an odd tale to recount to her family, swiftly gathers speed and becomes all consuming for Beth, sometimes at the cost of her relationship with her husband Dom.
I really don’t want to say any more plot wise because I really do think the magic of this book needs to be experienced first hand and should not be spoiled in any way for new readers.
What I loved about this book was not only the gripping premise but the well rounded, fully formed characters. I have a particular adoration for Beth’s teenage daughter Zannah. Now I know that I’m not usually a fan of teenage female characters BUT Zannah is a force of nature and the antithesis of a normal grumpy, angst ridden, moody ass teen. She is almost Beth’s sidekick and is hellbent on helping her mother unravel the mystery of Thomas and Emily. She is wholeheartedly on her mother’s side and wants to prove her right. She is a lovely breath of fresh air.
This book drew me in completely and with its short and snappy chapters it really does fly along. As much as it’s a huge clichè, I really did want to read ‘just one more chapter’ each time.
Sophie Hannah just has a magical way of writing complex yet hugely readable thrillers/mysteries with massively relatable characters. In Haven’t They Grown, Sophie has crafted a wonderfully intricate story which is an absolute gem. I genuinely didn’t have a clue what on earth was going on and really enjoyed the process of trying to piece together the various tiny clues, it never became frustrating and I found myself utterly absorbed.
I will always be a Sophie Hannah fan and I will remain hugely expectant for anything else she creates in the future. Her books are the some of my most recommended and will continue to be.
This book is an absolute joy and a brilliant reading experience that I would thoroughly recommend!
Thank you to Jenny Platt for having me along on the blog tour. Please do check out what all the others bloggers are saying.
See you all soon.
Amanda – Bookish Chat xx