In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings

Title - In Her Wake
Author - Amanda Jennings
Publication Date -  February 10th 2016 April 1st 2016 (Paperback)
Publisher - Orenda Books
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via publisher)
Pages - 320

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.

Exquisitely painful, shockingly beautiful, and absorbing on every single level, In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings was stunning. Every page, which then led to every chapter, dragged me deeper and deeper into the story unravelling before me and when I finally finished and turned the last page, feeling as if I'd been thrown into a tumble-dryer and flung about a few times, I was able to exhale. Captivated doesn't even begin to cover how in awe I was of this novel. Spell-bound, involved, completely wound-up, I'm so thankful that In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings was brought to my attention.

Bella is about to have her life thrown upside down. No, scratch that. Bella is about to see how the happenings of a time before her own can affect the walls of her very existence in the present day, and bring them crashing down to the ground, leaving her completely exposed and vulnerable. Amanda Jennings does an impeccable job of making me wonder what exactly has gone in the old house Bella has returned to, to attend her mother's funeral. The atmosphere was tense and chokingly claustrophobic, and it felt as though the past, although unknown to me at this point, had something to do with that. As the reader, I was intensely aware of a strangeness that clung to the characters as they went about their business. Oppressive and almost dangerous somehow, I felt as though I was tiptoeing through the house right beside Bella, careful not to touch a single thing as I moved. It was the most beguiling of ways to begin this story, hooking me right there and then, and after only a handful of pages, my mind was ticking away and getting ahead of itself, trying to figure out what secrets lay behind Bella, because there were definitely secrets, that much was clear.

Amanda's characters within In Her Wake were incredible. From Bella and her husband David, to her parents, Elaine and Henry, each person was an absolute mystery to me, packed and wrapped in layers of protective tissue to keep the truth from making itself known. In the most captivating way, Amanda took me back and forth in time. Back to Bella's parents before she was born, and then forward to the present day when she's beginning to realise that all is not as it seems. Bella herself was beautiful and complex. She'd lived a life so controlled and sheltered, it was obvious that now, in later life, she was beginning to tire of it, desperate to escape the clutches left behind. When Amanda introduced Bella's husband to the plot, it almost became too much for me to take. Her feelings and emotions were displayed crystal-clear to me. A pretty little doll locked away in a glass cabinet, unable to do a single thing for herself, fussed over relentlessly. The way Bella's husband spoke to her had me wanting to scream out with frustration, and I was waiting for the moment when Bella would take her lead from me. But she didn't. The death of her mother had rocked her in more ways than I had imagined, although the reader is not made completely aware of how deeply Bella is affected until much later on in the plot. Without giving too much of this stunning story away, Bella then travels to Cornwall where things really begin to twist and turn beneath Amanda Jennings' skilled hands. It left me breathless. There was so much to learn about them all, unique and crafted in such a delicate yet hard-hitting way. I wanted to unravel each of them, piece by piece, right down to the very last foundation, and by taking me back to the very start of their history, Amanda allowed me to do exactly that. God, it was brilliant. Breath-takingly so. So clever, so seamless, so absolutely unforgettable.

The actual plot of In Her Wake itself was mind-blowing, so much so I couldn't actually believe where the author ended up taking me. Of course I knew there would be twists and turns, seeing as the novel had been labelled as a psychological thriller, but even that fantastic term doesn't even begin to describe it. Because not only did this novel play with my mind, but it teased and taunted too. I was led straight into a minefield of hooks and catches, of moments that would leave me gasping and shedding or a tear or two. It was an absolute playground for me as the reader, and I hope the author doesn't take that in the wrong way, because I mean it purely in the most complimentary manner. My mind and imagination were given free reign throughout my reading of this novel. There was so much for me to sink my teeth into, get my head around and accept. Not that it was hard for me to accept, because everything was handled in such a skilled way. From the solicitors, to the things that Bella learns throughout the momentous change that happens within her life, Amanda delivered it so perfectly to me.

I'm still reeling, even now, from the turn of events which took place within In Her Wake. Character development was incredible, and I utterly adored comparing Bella from the beginning of the novel to Bella at the end. Amanda Jennings has written such an unforgettable novel with this one, I'll be thinking about the story and the characters for a very long time to come. What at first appeared as a box of jigsaw pieces tipped upside down and splayed out, messy and out of place, gradually began to take shape, and I absolutely loved it. I would read this book again in a heartbeat, just to re-live the emotions that were sprung upon me. I was so deeply invested in Bella and her future, I hoped and prayed that she would find her place.

In Her Wake was a stunning story of desperation and belief, of how far a person can go for the one they love. It was heartbreaking, overpowering, obsessive, and completely addictive. It was a novel I will recommend to everyone. A novel I surely won't be dismissing in a hurry.

Becca's Books is awarding In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings with five completely worthy stars. Impeccable storytelling from an author who knows exactly how to deliver. This certainly won't be the last novel I read from Amanda, but I'm shocked that it's my first. Then again, what better way to be introduced to a brand-new author than by a book that stops you in your tracks like this did for me?

I'd like to say a special thank you to the wonderful Karen from Orenda Books for kindly providing me with an eBook copy of In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings in exchange for a fair and honest review.



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