Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah | Blog Tour Review #HaventTheyGrown

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Available in ebook and hardback (23 January 2020)
336 pages
Source: Copy received from publisher to review

ABOUT THE BOOK

All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.

Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora Braid for twelve years.

But she can’t resist. She parks outside Flora’s house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car. Except…

There’s something terribly wrong.

Flora looks the same, only older – just as Beth would have expected. It’s the children that are the problem. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Beth hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.

They are no taller, no older.

Why haven’t they grown?

MY THOUGHTS

The premise of this book instantly intrigued me and I jumped at the chance of taking part in the blog tour. My thanks to Jenny of Hodder & Stoughton for the invite and for providing a review copy.

Beth Leeson and Flora Braid used to be best friends, but that was 12 years ago when Flora’s children Thomas and Emily were 5 and 3 years old.  Their friendship came to an end and initially it’s unclear exactly why (although there seems to be a lot of guilt on Beth’s part), however when Beth has the opportunity to drive near her old friend’s house, she sees something and hears part of a conversation that shocks her.  It’s Flora’s children. They should be teenagers, but instead they are the same age as they were when Beth last saw them 12 years go. What on earth is going on?

It wasn’t just Beth that was being driven mad by not knowing. I was too – I even had one or two quite fantastical theories, although I wasn’t quite as obsessive as Beth.  Against the advice of her husband, the calm and mild mannered Dom, but with the encouragement of her enthusiastic teenage daughter (Su)Zannah (who thought that sleuthing was a much better option that studying for exams), Beth takes on her own investigation of epic proportions to try and uncover the mystery.

Haven’t They Grown was a book that I really enjoyed going back to, it had me hooked that much.  It was certainly intriguing and although there were times when Beth’s desperation to find the truth went a bit too far and maybe seemed a tad unrealistic and OTT I was nevertheless willing her not to be fobbed off with yet more excuses but to to listen to her instinct that something wasn’t right. Beth was like a woman possessed, she would not give up, even when it seemed that she was being warned off. The more she felt that she was being lied to, the further she dug.

It wasn’t just the mystery of the storyline that was the hooker – the characters were excellent, each in their own way.  Beth’s teacher takedown at the school was brilliant, her daughter Zannah seemed a typical teenager, she had a bit of a sassy attitude but as a sidekick to her mother, she was actually quite useful at times and I enjoyed her dry humour.

As the story unfolds you realise that everyone is not as they seem and that there is actually a very dark and chilling undertone to the story. Sophie Hannah has produced a twisted and suspenseful story that will have you doubting everyone. It was a wonderfully entertaining read and I loved it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling crime fiction writer whose books have sold millions of copies worldwide. Her crime novels have been translated into 49 languages and published in 51 countries. Her psychological thriller The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the 2013 UK National Book Awards. In 2014 and 2016, Sophie published The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, the first new Hercule Poirot mysteries since Agatha Christie’s death, both of which were national and international bestsellers. She went on to publish a third, The Mystery of Three Quarters in 2018 which was an instant bestseller, and her fourth Poirot novel, The Killings at Kingfisher Hill will be published in August 2020. Sophie helped to create a Master’s Degree in Crime and Thriller Writing at the University of Cambridge, for which she is the main teacher and Course Director. She is also the founder of the Dream Author Coaching Programme for writers which launched in September 2019.

Sophie is also an award-winning, bestselling poet, and her poetry is studied at GCSE level across the UK. She has co-written two murder mystery musicals with composer Annette Armitage: The Mystery of Mr. E and Work Experience. She has written a self-help book called How To Hold a Grudge: From Resentment to Contentment – The Power of Grudges to Transform Your Life, and hosts the How to Hold a Grudge podcast.

Sophie lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.

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