Book Review: 'Beneath the Surface' by Heidi Perks

by - 16:00

I donʼt know where you are…
I donʼt know what Iʼve 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 stepsistersʼ room is completely empty. But the police think sheʼs trouble, and when grandmother Eleanor tells her to forget them all and move on, thereʼs 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.
This is only the second book that I've read which falls under the 'mystery' category and I really don't know why I haven't started in this genre sooner! I think it can be tricky to find the perfect formula for a mystery novel, as the plot needs to keep the reader wanting to discover more, without unnecessary taunting by withholding information whilst also ensuring that the story is believable.
From the first page of Beneath The Surface, I knew that this book was going to be a favourite of mine.
One of the first things I noticed was the uncomplicated, clear manner of writing that Perks uses to explain a situation which is actually quite intricate and intense. I was instantly able to relate to the main character, Abi, and loved the descriptions of British mannerisms, locations and the experience of being a teenage girl in the 21st century.
Abi comes home from school one day to find her mother and two younger stepsisters have disappeared, leaving her confused and alone with only a controlling and unfriendly grandmother to act as a family connection. The story is told first through Abi's perspective, then alternates between her mother, Kathryn, one of her younger sisters, Hannah and Abi herself in the form of letters written to her husband, Adam.
As the story progresses, it becomes clear that the reason for Kathryn's disappearance from Abi's life has many layers which are gradually revealed and add another piece to the puzzle of Kathryn's act, until it all starts to come together. I really loved this element of the book, and didn't feel the need to skip parts of the book to reach the conclusion as the journey felt so poignant.
 Some key thoughts that lingered with me after reading Beneath The Surface were mainly centred on family values, the role of a mother and mental health. As the reader you journey with Abi and Hannah as they try to reveal the secrets that have affected them and also follow their mother, Kathryn, as she desperately tries to keep a hold on the situation, as well as her own mental well being.
The notion of motherhood is explored in depth throughout this book, and shows how crucial the role of a mother can play in a child's wellbeing and ability to act as a good mother themselves. After initially disliking Kathryn, I gradually came to understand her actions and behaviour which had been so greatly affected by her own mother.
I feel that there was a delicate balance between the tragic and hopeful events in Beneath The Surface, and I will be recommending it to a number of friends and family members purely for the enjoyment I know they'll get from trying to piece together the clues of this mystery.
The only criticism I have is that I feel some of the key pieces of the story weren't given enough importance, and therefore didn't strike me as being as crucial as they actually are. This may just be my own opinion on subtlety vs. understatement but I'm definitely looking forward to reading more pieces by this author, especially if they are in the same vein as Beneath The Surface.
'Beneath the Surface' by Heidi Perks is available to buy on Amazon.

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This item was sent to me for review. I promise to always be 100% unbiased and honest in all reviews I give, whether I have been gifted the item or otherwise. 

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  1. This sounds like a good read. I'm not sure I've really read anything in the 'mystery' genre, but I love books that slowly reveal clues and keep me interested so I might branch out into it!
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

    1. I usually can't handle the suspense of mystery novels! This one made me really connect to the characters though so I didn't rush it.

      Thanks for reading :)
      Georgie xo