Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie

Simon and Schuster offered me a free copy of Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie in exchange for an honest review. This is is for first book for adults but as her YA writing has frequently caught my eye when I’ve wandered to that part of a book shop I very quickly said yes, please! I won’t be rushing off to the YA section of Waterstones anytime soon but having read this I’ll definitely consider bringing some of Sophie McKenzie’s YA home with me next time I do. But I am very much not buying books at the moment because I have too many unread ones.

I’d describe Close My Eyes as a sort of cross between chicklit and a thriller. I enjoyed it but would have loved it to have more of a thriller feel. Here’s the synopsis:

It’s been eight years since Gen Loxley lost her daughter, Beth: eight years of grief in which nothing’s really moved forward, for all that her husband, Art, wills it to.

Gen, once a writer of novels, has settled in to a life of half-hearted teaching, while Art makes his name and their fortune – and pressures her into trying IVF once again. For Gen, it seems a cruel act of replacement; life without Beth is unthinkable, unbearable – but still it goes on.

And then a woman arrives on Gen’s doorstep, saying the very thing she longs to hear: that her daughter was not stillborn, but was spirited away as a healthy child, and is out there, waiting to be found…So why is Art reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or something much more sinister?

What is the truth about Beth Loxley?

The idea of this books struck me as quite creepy, raising questions as can we really know someone we love and can we trust doctors? It occurs to me that perhaps the question of trust in doctors isn’t a good one right now as I’m off to see my GP (for the last time as he retires on Monday.) in a few minutes. I trust him and besides I’m going with a bit of a yes no question with an obvious answer. Because this doctors visit is brought to you by the letters U, T and I. With regards to the book I think the message that came away from this is sometimes people are desperate and do desperate things. And that intrigues me.

Motivation and desperation run throughout the book but at no point did it seem far fetched. I also never figured out what was going on and what the true story of Beth was until it was revealed. It did hit me at one point exactly who had been involved in it (about 20 pages before that came out in the book) but even then I was confused as to what they’d done and why until it all came out.

The character of Beth was perhaps my favourite. We see her in Gen’s memories of when she was pregnant and what she’d hoped at the time. Gen dreams of her frequently at the age she’d be now, giving us another insight or even another Beth. These could even be said to be another Beth. And then as Gen learns that her daughter might still be alive and discovers more of the events of eight years ago another picture of Beth as a much wanted baby and then victim comes to view. Very well done,

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