Book Review – Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

The summer burns with secrets…
It is too hot to sleep. To work. To be questioned time and again by the police.
At the beginning of a stifling, sultry summer, everything shifts irrevocably when Lily doesn’t come home one afternoon

Rachel is Lily’s teacher. Her daughter Mia is Lily’s best friend. The girls are fifteen – almost women, still children. As Rachel becomes increasingly fixated on Lily’s absence, she finds herself breaking fragile trusts and confronting impossible choices she never thought she’d face.It wasn’t supposed to happen like this

Published 28th May 2020 by @headlinebooks

I started this book expecting a bit of a thriller, but this wasn’t what it was at all. It isn’t really about solving the disappearence of Rachel’s daughter’s friend Lily, but more a study of Rachel herself and her relationship with her teen daughter

Told in an almost stream of consciousness from Rachel, we hear her innermost thoughts, and boy is she flawed. She’s selfish, weak and incredibly vain. She lacks personal insight, and it’s her daughter who sees her as she is and challenges her. Their relationship is fraught, with Rachel often seeking validation from her daughter. As the mother of a daughter the same age, the authors depictition of teens certainly felt authentic at times, but I was completely unable to relate to Rachel

Nonetheless, I was compelled to keep reading. I loved the intensity of the writing and the discomfort from some pretty shocking turns. I enjoy a book with challenging and flawed characters, and Rachel was certainly that. I might not be able to relate to her, but I could still imagine her vividly, feeling her panic and desperation as the truth is revealed and she’s forced to face the consequences of her actions

It’s taken me a few days to put in order how I felt about this book. It’s so very complex and different to what I was expecting. The writing is exquisite, the characters difficult and the subject uncomfortable. It’s a book that will make you ask questions, reveals flaws and tackles the darker side of the mother/daughter relationship

I read a proof copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine program

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