In Her Wake, by Amanda Jennings

In Her Wake HBcover copy 4

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

What if someone told you that you’re not who you think you are? Who you’ve been brought up and lived your whole life as?

That’s the central premise behind Amanda Jennings’ In Her Wake.

The story starts, in a way, with a ending. Bella Campbell is an only child, brought up by her doting mother Elaine and her father Henry in an old vicarage in Oxfordshire, barely seeing the outside world except for their annual holiday to the Cotswolds.

Bella’s mother has passed away, and Bella returns home for the funeral. Her father has a secret, but can’t seem to find the words to admit to it. Then, tragedy follows tragedy and soon Bella is left questioning her entire life…

So. At the most basic level, this is a story of family dynamics, secrets and relationships. The fears that face parents when something endangers the safely and wellbeing of their children. The catastrophic sense of loss and sadness when someone is taken from us.

But it’s so much more than that. In Her Wake is a complex, layered tale of identity and control – husbands controlling wives, wives controlling husbands, and how it feels to break those shackles, to become your own person and not who everyone else is insisting that you are.

At the beginning you wonder what Bella sees in her controlling, older husband David. He’s genuinely awful to her (I got very cross with him from very early on in the book), but it seems that she just can’t see it. He clearly feels he’s doing the Right Thing, and has an absolute, unshakeable conviction that he knows best. Similarly with Elaine and Henry, Bella’s parents. Each feels they do what they have to do, with us the audience on the outside wondering why they can’t see what we can. It can be all too easy to write people off as bad, but things are never black or white.

Amanda Jennings has a phenomenal gift for story, layering real depth onto each and every character in the book. She also has a wonderful ability to bring you into a place – I’ve been to Cornwall many times over the years and could almost feel myself back there with Bella, with the sand between my toes on the beach and the waves crashing nearby.

It’s hard not to say too much and spoil the story. You really need to go on the journey with Bella to find out who she is, who she was, and who she ultimately wants to be.

It’s quite a trip. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

In Her Wake is published by Orenda Books and is available now in paperback.

GIVEAWAY!

And what’s more, I have a copy to give away! Tell me about your favourite beach, either in the comments below or on twitter. Use the hashtag #InHerWake and don’t forget to tag me (@dakegra). I’ll pick a winner this Friday (8th April 2016). Good luck!

Many thanks to Karen (@OrendaBooks) for the review copy, and to Amanda Jennings (@MandaJJennings) for writing it! As ever, the opinions are entirely my own. The blog tour continues tomorrow with Wendy at Little Bookness Lane with @BooknessLane.

In Her Wake Blog tour

The great outdoors

BEDN day 28 and we’re talking about The Great Outdoors.

Ah, there’s nothing quite like it. Whether you’re out for a ramble, camping, or just out on the bike, it’s brilliant to be outdoors.

We live in Yorkshire, on the edge of Wakefield. So it doesn’t take long before you’re out in the countryside. One of my favourite bike routes takes about ten minutes then I’m into the countryside, onto the little roads where it’s nice and quiet, rolling along past fields and hedgerows. And you get views like this

Sunlit tree

We’re also lucky enough to have some friends with a house up in Cumbria, and never pass up a chance to go and visit. This is the view from their front door

Harter Fell

and looking back across the valley towards their house. You can see why we never turn down a chance to get up there. There are a couple of lovely cycle routes around there too.

Sprintgill Cumbria

It’s not all about the countryside though. There’s nothing more that the clan enjoy than a trip to the seaside – holidays are usually chosen depending on the how many beaches we can get to!

This was one of our favourites from our holiday in Cornwall this year. Porthtowan beach, near Newquay. Brilliant for some bodyboarding.

porthtowan beach

And, closer to home, there’s nothing quite like being able to sit outside on a lovely warm summer evening, chatting with friends over a nice glass of something.

lights

Or pottering around down the allotment. I think I need to work on my carrots!

IMAG1356

Where’s your favourite Great Outdoors? Are you a beach person? Or do you prefer the countryside? Where’s your favourite place to get away from it all?

porthtowan beach

porthtowan beach by dakegra
porthtowan beach, a photo by dakegra on Flickr.

Apologies for the blog silence over the past week. I’ve been down in Cornwall with the family. Spent a lot of time on the beach at Porthtowan, bodyboarding. I’ve discovered the joy of wearing a wetsuit in the sea, mainly that you can spend more than five minutes in there without freezing various bits of yourself off!

Expect normal blogging to resume forthwith. I’ve thought of *lots* of things to witter about…