Monday, 13 August 2012

Sworn Secret by Amanda Jennings

Anna Thorne was a happy fifteen year old girl who loved life. She was adored by her parents and idolised by her younger sister. But one fateful night there was an accident and Anna's short life was snatched away after she stumbled from the school roof.

A year later and the loved ones Anna left behind are struggling, the family barely holding itself together by a thread. Kate is consumed by the grief of losing her beautiful daughter and her only way of coping is to close herself off from the world and paint endless paintings of Anna.

Jon is also trying to come to terms with losing his daughter but at the same time he is conscious of his wife slipping away from him, pushing him and their other daughter away. He's already lost Anna - he couldn't bear to lose Kate too.

Lizzie had always been in her vivacious sister's shadow but that didn't stop her worshipping Anna. She's lost the person she was closest to, the one she looked up to but she doesn't feel like she can talk about Anna for fear of upsetting her mother and pushing her over the edge.

It's been a year since Anna's tragic accident but the wounds her death caused her family are far from healed and will be torn deeper as secrets about Anna begin to surface. What really happened the night Anna died? Did she fall or was the so-called accident more sinister? Did she jump or was she pushed?

Anna's family are shocked to learn of the events leading up to her death and they begin to question whether they really knew her at all.

Sworn Secret is an emotional read, dealing with the devastation such a loss brings to a family as it is brought to its knees and struggles to rise again. I felt for Lizzie, who not only lost the sister she had such a close bond with but also her mother too. Kate is too engulfed in her grief to reach out to Lizzie, to show that she still loves her. Jon is stuck in the middle, seeing the effect Kate's separation from the family is having on Lizzie but being unable to reach his wife through her despair.

The book was gripping, urging me to keep reading, not only to find out if the Thorne family could pull together once more but also to discover what really happened to Anna. When her shocking secrets began to surface, I wasn't sure whether they would unite the family as they battled to uncover the truth or whether they would deliver the final blow to crush them completely.

Sworn Secret is a brilliant, well-written and thrilling debut from Amanda Jennings and I can't wait to see what she writes next.

I will be chatting with Amanda Jennings on Sunday 19th August.

Thank you to Constable & Robinson for sending me a copy to review.

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