Safe at Home by Lauren North | Book Review | #SafeAtHome


What if you left your child alone, and something terrible happened?

Anna James is an anxious mother. So when she has to leave eleven-year-old Harrie home alone one evening, she can’t stop worrying about her daughter. But nothing bad ever happens in the sleepy village of Barton St Martin.

Except something goes wrong that night, and Anna returns to find Harrie with bruises she won’t explain. The next morning a local businessman is reported missing and the village is sparking with gossip.

Anna is convinced there’s a connection and that Harrie is in trouble. But how can she protect her daughter if she doesn’t know where the danger is coming from?


Safe at Home was my first book by Lauren North and an absolute cracker of a read. Full of foreboding and suspense from the very moment that Anna James gets delayed, that first night she has to leave her 11 year old daughter Harrie old for just 20 minutes (or so she thought) to collect another of her children.

Told from the joint perspectives of Anna and Harrie leading up to Halloween, you get the story from both sides and feel Anna’s frustration and worry that something is badly wrong. Anna is an anxious mother – perhaps too protective according to the other mums in her circle. Harrie has changed from a contented child to a secretive, fearful and angry one but she refuses to admit that anything is wrong. And then there is Harrie’s story. I really wanted to find out what had happened to her, why did she have bruises and why was there blood? With a gradual drip feed of revelations, the story of what happened that night, or part of it comes to light but what I found saddening was how Harrie tried to deal with things on her own, being too young to really realise the implications of what was happening and feeling on her own.

I loved the way the story was constructed – it has a clear timeline narrative and also includes interview transcripts and WhatsApp messages to give a teasing indication of a dreadful event. My mind was in overdrive trying to work out what may have happened and to whom.

There is also a background story to Anna and her family and how they came to live in Barton St Martin with its secret WhatsApp mum’s groups and gossipy and rather bitchy community.

I thought this was a fantastic read and would definitely recommend it. There is a lot going on in this village and people are not always what they seem. A dark and tense storyline, great characterisation, this completely held my interest until the final page. Loved it!

My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation and to the publisher for the review copy.

Publisher: Corgi
Format: Ebook, Audio (9 September) | Paperback (30 September 2021)
Pages: 384
Source: Copy received for review


LAUREN NORTH writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and from her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.



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