Blog Tour: Book Review - Because I Was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell

Meet Rachel.
She is caught in a spiral of endless crying, dirty nappies, and sleepless nights. She fears for her sanity and the safety of her children.
She's lonely.
Meet Adam.
Suffering from the pain and trauma of a terrible accident that be blames himself for, he stays at home, unable to bring himself to leave the house.
He's lonely.

So when Rachel and Adam rekindle their long lost friendship online, what starts as a little harmless flirtation, soon becomes an unhealthy obsession, and slowly the threads of their lives unravel before them.
Four lonely people. Two unhappy marriages. One dangerous, but inevitable climax.

Today on Hummingbird Reviews, I am completely thrilled to be sharing my book review of Hayley Mitchell's gripping debut with RedDoor Publishing, Because I Was Lonely. I have read this novel twice over now, simply because I find it so fascinating. Let me tell you why I loved this book so much.
Because I Was Lonely is a taut, brilliantly-executed and gripping debut novel from Hayley Mitchell, in which the author dives straight into the deepest depths of the relationships between her characters and dissects the bonds in the most compelling of ways. Mitchell introduces her readers to Rachel, Adam, Julia and David, and although we're provided with Julia and David's narrative within the book, I felt that Adam and Rachel were the characters who took centre-stage in this one.

To begin with, Mitchell fills us in nicely on both Rachel and Adam's past. Not at all easy, and not at all what you would refer to as a 'doddle', these characters have been put through the grinder by Mitchell and are made all the more real because of it. Rachel has struggled with post-natal depression and feels as if she is doing parenting completely wrong and alone. Adam struggles with the guilt he feels behind his parents' death. In a dark and desperate world, both are reaching out to the world of social media to provide some comfort, or at least proof that they are not alone. And how fitting is that in today's society? As both are living unhappy and unsatisfactory lives, I suppose in a way it is only inevitable that the move they make is made. It is a move in the form of a friend request on Facebook, and it is a move that changes everything for both of them.

Rachel and Adam reconnect and this digital meeting sparks off a shift in both their respective worlds. Although both married, it quickly becomes clear that neither seem happy with their circumstances. Adam's wife is rarely home, while Rachel's husband would prefer to be in pub, eyeing up the barmaid. But together, as they begin to chat online more and more often, and begin to build a relationship, it seems that things are not so disastrous after all. In fact, both are brought out of their miserable existences into a world where everything is brighter, more exciting, and the black and white of their daily routine is suddenly in vivid technicolour. They both have something to look forward to. Someone who truly understands the hopelessness of each of their situations. It's a gift, a miracle even, that they have been reunited, and life isn't so bad after all when you have someone to turn to, to share the happenings of your day and the sorrows that you have to live and deal with.

But of course, although everything seems fine at first, and the conversations are never more than 'how's your day been?', things soon begin to take a turn towards a naughtier, more daring and less-innocent tone. No longer are their conversations of a friendly nature. Yes, it may be fun and flirty to begin with but as the novel progresses, it becomes clear that there's something of a dark obsession beginning to take over. As both share their secrets, as both become more dependable on the other, Mitchell captures so perfectly how quickly a person can become reliable on that daily interaction, on that profile picture to provide their lives with excitement, danger and comfort.

What I also loved about this novel was how sneakily the darkness took over the story. What began as just a case of catching-up between old friends soon became something much, much more. Without me hardly giving it a second thought, Mitchell took this digital reunion and flipped it completely on its head, leaving me reeling from the turn of events that followed. Although not completely shocking, I felt that it was more disturbing and creepy than anything. The sort of thing that will send a shiver down your spine, or have you mulling it over for days. Hence me reading the book twice, just to make sure I'd captured every single tiny detail (and because I enjoyed it so much the first time).

Reading Because I Was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell felt compulsive to me, as though I didn't have a choice other than to pick it back up and see where the author would take her characters next. I couldn't truly figure out where I would be led by Mitchell which I suppose is why I enjoyed it as much as I did. It was addictive. It played on my mind even while away from the story and the characters. It held me captive without me even having the book in my hands. And the ending? Please. I don't even think I can talk about it.

Overall, I utterly loved Because I Was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell. From one chapter to the next, I felt as if I'd been thrown out at sea by the author without a life raft, trying desperately to figure things out in my mind. But I loved feeling like this. It was surprising in the best way and I just couldn't get enough of this dark tale of obsessive need and compulsive control. Mitchell truly hit the nail on the head and I really can't wait for news of her next novel to reach me. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for sure.

Hummingbird Reviews is awarding Because I Was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell with five of five stars.

About the author.

Hayley Mitchell spends most of the time writing books in her head and was finally able to put finger to keyboard and capture some of the words in the form of her debut novel Because I Was Lonely. A Law graduate, she has spent most of her life working with people and much of her career as an advice worker for charities. Always fascinated by people and their relationships, she began to write fiction. She is very lucky to live in Wiltshire with her husband, whose support has been invaluable and their two children who amuse, inspire and exhaust her everyday. She now divides her time between her family, running a small business encouraging creativity in children and writing her second novel.

You can find Hayley Mitchell on Twitter & hayleymitchell.
You can preorder your copy of Because I Was Lonely on Amazon UK.