Book Review: Beneath The Surface by Heidi Perks

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Title - Beneath The Surface
Author - Heidi Perks
Publisher - Red Door
Publication Date - March 24th 2016
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via author)
Pages - 352

I don't know where you are...

I don't know what I've done...

Teenager Abigail Ryder is devastated when she gets home from school to find her family gone. Nothing makes sense. Things are missing from the house and her stepsisters' room is completely empty. But the police think she's in trouble, and when grandmother Eleanor tells her to forget them all and move on, there's no choice other than face the future - alone.

Fourteen years on, Abi and Adam are a happy couple on the verge of parenthood. But when the past comes back to haunt Abi, the only way forward is to go back and uncover the truth - and reveal the dreadful secrets a mother has been hiding all these years.

Wow. What a ride. Sumptuously told, delivered in the most enthralling of ways, Beneath The Surface by Heidi Perks absolutely blew me away. Hooked from page one, it was impossible for me to put this novel down, and in all honesty I didn't want to, and couldn't have even if I had wanted to. The mystery and secrets teased and taunted me towards the moment of reveal and, throughout the pages I became entranced by the story being told to me. Focusing on drama, relationships driven by power and the bonds running deeply within a family, Beneath The Surface by Heidi Perks was a perfect read for me, and I'd highly recommend this to readers who enjoy a twisting novel packed with the ability to keep you guessing.

Heidi Perks opens Beneath The Surface in the most brilliant of ways and throughout, takes readers back and forth to different sections of times, slipping between characters and providing the reader with a view from all angles. Abigail is introduced to us first and, during the opening scene, it's revealed that her mother has upped and left without a last word, taking Abigail's two young sisters with her. With no explanation as to their whereabouts and why they've left her behind, Abigail is left questioning everything and everyone. I couldn't believe that her mother had left Abigail in such a tragic way, but as Heidi began to reveal the oddities of Kathryn to me, I began to realise that perhaps it hadn't been so odd for her to have left like that after all. For the first couple of chapters, the author ensured I was kept deliciously dangling as I waited for more details of this rather bizarre family to become clear. I wanted to know everything and thankfully, Heidi delivered. Through the form of letters and flashbacks, each character's past was built up brick by teasing brick and I couldn't wait for the picture to appear to me, fully-formed. I adored the way Heidi told this story, it really couldn't have been done in a more effective way. It had such a hold over me I couldn't bear to look away for even a single second, terrified of missing a pinnacle moment for all of the characters involved.

The characters within Beneath The Surface by Heidi Perks were a puzzle all of their own. Eleanor, Kathryn, Peter, Abigail, Hannah and Lauren were so complex and intricately put together, I was incredibly interested by each of them in their own right and for different reasons. It became clear part-way into the novel that Heidi Perks had a brilliant knack at having her characters make me feel a certain way. For instance, Eleanor came across as very cold and conniving to me. Kathryn incredibly meek, nervous and unsure of everything and everyone. The twins, Hannah and Lauren, seemed like your typical teenage girls but the differences between them were clear in how they acted. Hannah was certainly the more adventurous of the two, whereas Lauren didn't like to push the boundaries too far. And Abigail, having lived a past like she had, had been through such a lot and I only hoped that she'd find her way. There was so much emotion within this novel. So much hope, but at the same time hopelessness. It took me on such a whirlwind of a journey, I almost couldn't believe how easily I allowed myself to be led by the author. There were moments of shock and disbelief, moments of my mind trying to jump ahead excitedly to try and figure out how everything would end. It was such a thrilling read, I'm jealous of anyone who gets to read this for the first time. I really am.

The plot itself was punchy and sharp, one where I found something new to anticipate with every new chapter. How the past and the present came to meet was incredible and I felt truly in awe of what Heidi Perks had achieved with her characters and their stories. The whole truth and nothing but the truth was delivered to me, it only made me read the remainder of the book quicker and with even more vigour. I could not get enough and really didn't want the story to end. Despite the amount of information packed into this book, Heidi Perks didn't miss a single trick. She ensured her characters were solid people, people who felt so real to me I could hardly believe they were fictional. The consequences of the past came to light in the present day and it was done so spectacularly, I was left reeling and breathless.

All in all, this was a tremendous novel for me to get lost in. It consumed and toyed with me, in the way only a brilliant story can do. My mind was constantly full of these characters and their lives, and the need to continue repeatedly tugged at me. It was mysterious, overwhelming and utterly addictive. I, for one, cannot wait for whatever Heidi Perks brings to the table next. I sincerely hope I don't have to wait too long. She is definitely an author to keep an eye on.

Becca's Books is awarding Beneath the Surface by Heidi Perks with five bookish stars. All-consuming, I was lost to the world while reading and devoured each chapter with relish. Special thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy of Beneath the Surface in exchange for a fair and honest review.


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