The Girl in the Maze by Cathy Hayward | Blog Tour Feature


Traversing three generations of women torn apart by family trauma, The Girl in the Maze explores the complex relationship and challenges involved in both mothering and being mothered.

‘I would caution you against delving into the past. The past is often best left exactly where it is.’

Emma Bowen has never had a close relationship with her mother, barely speaking with her in the last years of her life. But after her mother’s death, Emma finds something that might just explain the distance between them.

Discovering letters between her mother and grandmother, it seems to Emma that her mother has always been difficult.

As she searches for answers about her own childhood, Emma is drawn into the mystery of her mother’s enigmatic life. The more she finds, the more lost she feels, but Emma is determined to uncover her mother’s past, and the secrets held within it, whatever the cost.

An enthralling story of three women, generations apart, linked by one terrible tragedy.

My thanks to Peyton of Agora Books for the tour invitation. This really appealed to me when I saw it and it is my current read. Unfortunately I’ve been distracted by an unexpected series of worrying health issues recently and my reading has suffered as a consequence. My apologies to the publisher for not providing my review as originally intended, I do feel bad when I can’t follow through on blog tours but it has been agreed to post a spotlight feature today instead with a review to follow – I have to say I’m just over halfway through and have very much enjoyed what I’ve read so far. There is so much emotional depth in this debut novel and I’m at a pivotal point in the story – I’m intrigued to know what happens next.

Publisher: Agora Books
Format: Ebook (28 October 2021) | Paperback (22 November 2021)
Pages: 304


‘an evocative narrative of suppressed emotions, missed chances and shifting loyalties. Her rich and moving prose both haunts and intrigues‘ – Rosie Chard, author of The Insistent Garden

‘The Girl in the Maze is an elegantly written, totally gripping story about generational trauma, motherhood and womanhood. I was swept away by it.’ – Katy Regan, The Story of You

‘I loved this tale of mothers and daughters with its clever layering of generation on generation. It’s packed with mystery and intrigue and peopled with such real, flawed characters I felt like they might walk off the page.’ – Laura Pearson, author of I Wanted You to Know

‘a well-researched and emotional book that will take you on a journey filled with family drama, deceit and deep-buried family secrets.’ – Jessica Jarlvi, author of When I Wake Up

‘Moving, sometimes shocking, and always compelling‘ – Justine Bothwick, author of In the Mirror, a Peacock Danced


Cathy Hayward trained as a journalist and edited a variety of trade publications, several of which were so niche they were featured on Have I Got News for You. She then moved into the world of PR and set up an award-winning communications agency. Devastated and inspired in equal measure by the death of her parents in quick succession, Cathy completed The Creative Writing Programme with New Writing South out of which emerged her debut novel,  The Girl in the Maze , about the experience of mothering and being mothered. It won Agora Books’ Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize 2020 and was longlisted for the Grindstone Literary Prize 2020. When she’s not writing (or reading) in her local library, Cathy loves pottering in second-hand bookshops, hiking and wild camping. She lives in Brighton – sandwiched between the Downs and the sea – with her husband, three children, and two rescue cats – one of whom thinks he’s a dog.

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