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What a cunning, twisty tale this turned out to be! A fast paced psychological thriller told from the viewpoint of 3 women, but are they all as reliable narrators as we first believe?
Claudia a busy social worker - stepmum to twin boys and expecting a new baby. Her husband a Naval Officer is away a lot so she appoints ...
Zoe, a nanny who seems perfect to keep Claudia company during the last stages of pregnancy and help with the boys and the newborn when it arrives but possibly Zoe has an ulterior motive?
Lorraine is a detective investigating a series of attacks on pregnant women and battling with her own personal life - a husband who cheated on her and a teenage daughter who seems to be going off the rails.
Which of these 3 women would you trust? I'm sure you'll be able to relate well to at least one of them as they are amazingly human and credible.
Even the secondary characters, nearly all females are well rounded characters in their own right with depth and quirks.
There is a real sense of menace and emotional complexities which draw you in and lead you gently up the garden path until a shock ending which grabs you by the throat and won't let go!
I loved the story and the characters and would really hate to have read this if I was pregnant whilst reading, as it centres around pregnancy, infertility and some truly gruesome crimes involving women. Brrrr it makes me shiver just remembering how scary some bits were.
I'd highly recommend this to anyone who loves psychological chills and thrills. Perfect for lovers of The Playdate, Gone Girl or Sister .... Read it and shriek.
Since I'm currently jobless I need something to occupy my days as there's only so much time that can be spent searching for non-existent jobs (but I'm sure I'll find something in the end). Therefore reading (and of course spending time on dooyoo/Ciao) seems like the ideal thing to do, and much more constructive than getting into Jeremy Kyle!
Growing increasingly disillusioned with my Kindle (mainly due to not easily being able to go back to refer to earlier parts of stories when I've got confused) and also not having any spare money, it suddenly hit me that I should go to the local library for the first time in years. On my first visit last week I received a flashy new card with a picture of sheep on it, and got out 2 books.
This week I returned them and had a bit more of a browse in the library, knowing that there were two books I wanted in stock but I suddenly spotted "Until You're Mine" on top of one of the shelves (on the cover it says "I will not rest, I will not stop...until you're mine" - hence my review title). I glanced at the blurb on the back of the book and I knew that it would be my sort of book. The book itself is very dark looking, with a picture of part of a woman's face. I hadn't read any of Samantha Haye's books before, but one of her books was on my Amazon recommended list based on books I've purchased (of the thriller variety).
When I got home I started reading it (over the other two) straight away and I was hooked IMMEDIATELY and read the whole thing in one sitting as I couldn't put it down - pausing only to eat my dinner! On the inside cover it says "Psychological suspense that grips from the very first page", and this is absolutely correct!
---The Plot and the characters---
As the blurb says "You have something that someone else wants. At any cost... Claudia seems to have the perfect life. She's heavily pregnant with a much-wanted baby, she has a loving husband, and a beautiful home. And then Zoe steps into her life. Zoe has come to help Claudia when her baby arrives. But there's something about Zoe that Claudia doesn't like. Or trust. And when she finds Zoe in her bedroom, Claudia's anxiety turns to real fear..."
Claudia is desperate for a baby, and she is now so close to having her dream come true. Having suffered losses in the past, this pregnancy means the world to her, and everything is looking good. She is a social worker who loves her job (difficult as it can be at times, dealing with mothers who can't cope with their babies), and also the stepmother (their birth mother died) to 4-year old twin boys (Oscar and Noah) who can be a handful. Since her husband James is in the Navy and away for long periods of time (which isn't ideal), she needs someone to help when the baby is born which is why they advertise for a nanny.
Zoe is the new nanny. It seems that she has loads of experience, excellent references, and she gets on fantastically with the twins. She soon settles into the family, and it seems like she is perfect for the job. However, there are clearly things which she is hiding, and as the plot develops things become more and more sinister. Why has she really become the nanny, and what does she really want?
Lorraine and Adam are married - they are also police officers and are working together on a case. A pregnant woman and her baby have been brutally murdered - the description of the scene really is shocking. Lorraine and Adam are having problems as a couple. As the story develops we find out more about this. Although their story is possibly my least favourite part of the book (although I loved it all really), the ongoing police investigation is essential for bringing all of the different strands of the story together, and it is very cleverly done.
Other key characters are James (Claudia's husband, who we never really get to know THAT well), Pip (one of Claudia's friends who is also pregnant), and there is someone who Zoe is involved with (I won't go into too much detail here). Then there are the social workers who Claudia works with, Lorraine and Adam's daughters, witnesses involved with the murder investigation, and various others. On the whole it is easy to keep track of who is who, this is important for me as I sometimes struggle to keep track in books especially if I'm reading quickly as I do when so absorbed in a book.
Different parts of the book are written with different characters being the 'main part', and it is all very cleverly written Those with Zoe or Claudia as the lead are written in the first person. I feel that this really enables the reader to get inside the characters, even though there are clearly many things which we don't know about them. The parts which focus on Lorraine and Adam are written in the third person. I found myself wanting everything to work out ok for all of the characters, as they all had some redeeming qualities - but obviously knew that this wasn't going to happen.
This book has a fantastic twist in it. Throughout the book we are never really sure what is going to happen, in particular what Zoe is going to do, and what is going to happen when Claudia's baby is born. Admittedly I don't ever really try to predict the outcome of a book whilst reading it (or a film) as I feel that this spoils it. However, I certainly wasn't expecting the outcome of this book. The twist is so cleverly done in that the reader isn't really sure what is going on/which character is being referred to. I am sure that like me you will be left feeling completely shocked!
This is an absolutely fantastic book, and one which I think would make an excellent psychological thriller of a film. Chilling is the main word I would use to describe it!
Although I like books written by authors of different nationalities, I particularly like this one being British, and set in England - it made it easier to relate to (particularly in terms of references to Social Services), however I believe that a non-British audience would love this too.
The book is split into 43 chapters (plus a prologue and epilogue which are absolutely essential to the story - I found myself going back to the prologue whilst reading) which are the perfect length to read 'just one more chapter' and before you know it you'll have read it all!
"Until You're Mine" evoked so many emotions on me, possibly more so because I am desperate to become a mother myself. There are scenes which are sad (although it wasn't a book which reduced me to tears), but mostly it was feelings of suspense and fear which had me turning the pages.
One of the main themes of the book is desperation to be a mother, and how at its worst the desperation can lead to madness. This book might upset people who have had multiple pregnancy losses and not been able to have children.
Although I don't re-read books (since there are so many other books in the world to read), I do think it would be interesting to read it again, knowing the outcome and to see what clues I missed out on first time around.
This book was published in 2013, and the copy I'm reading has 408 pages (which I read in one afternoon/evening!)
The Kindle Edition is £5,22 Hardcover is £5.49 Paperback is £6.99. I was reading the hardcover version, courtesy of my local library so it cost me nothing.
I can't wait to read Samantha Hayes' three earlier books - back to the library here I come! Honestly though, if all books I read were as good as this one then I would literally get nothing else done as I would constantly be reading.
I would highly recommend this book - I have read quite a few good books lately, but this is probably the best book I've read so far this year. It is chilling and disturbing (just how I like it), well-written, and you will not be able to put it down.
5 out of 5 stars - without a doubt.