Book Reviews

The Woman in the Wood: A missing teenager. An outcast woman in the woods. And a girl determined to find the truth. From The Sunday Times bestselling author by Lesley Pearse

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List Price: £18.99


Hardcover: 400 Pages.

Published: 29 June 2017 by Penguin

ISBN: 1405921056

EAN: 9781405921053

Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan Mitcham have always had each other. Until the fateful day in the wood . . .

One night in 1960, the twins awake to find their father pulling their screaming mother from the house. She is to be committed to an asylum. It is, so their father insists, for her own good.

It's not long before they, too, are removed from their London home and sent to Nightingales - a large house deep in the New Forest countryside - to be watched over by their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham. Though they feel abandoned and unloved, at least here they have something they never had before - freedom.

The twins are left to their own devices, to explore, find new friends and first romances. That is until the day that Duncan doesn't come back for dinner. Nor does he return the next day. Or the one after that.

When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive. With Mrs Mitcham showing little interest in her grandson's disappearance, it is up to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the wood about whom so many rumours abound. A woman named Grace Deville.


3.0 Stars3.0 Stars3.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Poor Language

15 year old twins Maisy & Duncan are sent to live with their stern & disapproving Grandmother. Their Father is emotionally as well as physically distant and their Mother has been committed to an asylum. Maisy and Duncan settle into life in the New Forest taking lessons with a private tutor and making friends. Then disaster strikes and Duncan goes missing.

I struggled with this book for three main reasons. The first reason was the fact that these are twins - again! A fictional character is far more likely to be a parent of twins than anyone in the real world. They come with useful plot devices - swapping places when identical or having that supposed psychic connection. Unsurprisingly this author decided on the psychic connection which is used towards the end of the book. I did sigh. Was it really necessary? I didn't think so as the characters were using good old intelligence to arrive at conclusions & I would have been far happier had that been continued rather than this supposed psychic link used. This really is an overusued and rather tired plot device.

I struggled very much with the twins as people. I know that this is set in 1960 when people and times were different. However their behaviour, likes and dislikes and manner of speaking was much more like a child of about 11 rather than 15. The author seems to forget that many 15 year olds in this period were out at work full time. They had to grow up fast and would certainly have been behaving in a much older manner than these two.

My third problem is the language used throughout the book. I felt very patronised and felt the language was very simple and dumbed down. It wasn't just the way the twins spoke which was much younger and simpler than their age, it was also the language used throughout the book. The vocabularly was not rich but quite bland and rather basic. I longed for rich adjectives describing the beautiful New Forest but was met with rather bland language which failed to bring it to life. This really ruined the book for me and left me feeling rather short changed.

As I am sure you have gathered I wasn't particularly taken with this book. I worked out the perpetrator quite early on as it was really rather simple due to lack of options. I found the story very simple and a bit silly and unlikely in many places. The language was poor and unimaginative.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

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