Synopsis from goodreads
Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received: Dear Amy,
I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me.
Please help me soon,
Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything . .
Review (no spoilers)
I received this ARC, thanks to (Michael Joseph) Penguin UK Publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.
Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan is a fantastic psychological thriller. It has everything that makes a good, suspenseful read. The book starts on a fast pace right from the start when a young girl, Katie is kidnapped. Then Margot(the agony aunt) receives a letter from Bethany, another young girl kidnapped years ago. At the same time, Margot’s life is falling apart with an impending divorce and possible dismissal from work. There were so many twists and reveals along the way that makes this book quite a page turner.
I liked the fact that there were so many events going on at the same time. There were also different perspectives given by the characters hence heightening the mystery . Margot is the main narrator and so we get to see things from her perspective as she receives the letter and starts trying to figure out what was going on. We also have a few chapters that were narrated by Katie while in captivity. We also get to experience things from the captor’s point of view especially in narrating about Bethany’s kidnapping.
Apart from the different perspectives, there are also two main timelines in the narratives that help in explaining current events. We get to learn more about Bethany’s kidnapping years ago and then we come back to the present and try to solve the mystery behind the letters and also the kidnapping of Katie.
I also liked the protagonist, Margot. There were so many different sides to her that makes the narration quite suspenseful. Her character is also so complex; there were instances where I wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t. Her voice in the narration is perfect for this kind of book. I think that the author did a brilliant job of taking readers through Margot’s twisted thoughts and helping us see things from that construed standpoint. I also liked the fact that as readers, we get to find out about stuff at the same time with Margot. The truth about her own life is revealed to us at the same time as she unravels it.
My only issue with this book is that at some point, the narration sort of became unrealistic. Halfway through the book, improbable events start occurring that could only be explained as sheer luck or random coincidences.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan. The suspense and endless twists make this quite an enjoyable read. I found myself questioning and mistrusting characters throughout the book which added to the suspense and thrill of the story. I also liked Helen’s writing. Her prose is easy with a nice flow to it while at the same time, it is gripping in the way that it sucks readers into the narration.
I recommend this book to all readers who like fast-paced, ‘unputdownable’ ,psychological thrillers.
Random Mention- The Red Queen makes an appearance…
Throughout the book, there were a few mentions/comparisons to the Red Queen. I have never read the book series since it is not in my usual genre but I was definitely intrigued.
About the Book
Title: Dear Amy
Author: Helen Callaghan
Kindle Edition, 348 pages
Published June 16th 2016 by Penguin
My rating: 4 Stars
11 thoughts on “Book Review: Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan”
I had heard about the issues with some far-fetched events in the narration, but I am happy it did not prevent you from enjoying the story. Great review!
Thanks Donna.The farfetched events bugged me just a little bit but the overall narration was great so I overlooked the small issues 🙂
I liked the look of this book but side stepped it after hearing many differing opinions about it. Your review has encouraged me to take a closer look at it now 🙂
I hope you will enjoy it if you decide to read it 🙂
I’ve read a few mixed reviews of this book which I think mainly hinge on the unrealistic narration you point out. I suppose it depends whether you go with the flow or not at this point. I just have to say I love that you put how many pages etc are in the book as part of your review 🙂
Yeah I think that is what helped me enjoy the book. I just went with the flow although I know the unrealistic narration bugged a lot of readers. Thanks for the comment Cleo 🙂
I also read about unrealistic things… haha like writing letters instead of mails! Great review Diana 😀
I think the unrealistic things ruined the book for most people 😦 the letter/mail bit of your comment cracked me up lol. Thanks Annie.