The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers #BookReview #BlogTour

When you look at those you love, what do you see?

When Issy, young mother and beloved daughter, seemingly kills herself her family is devastated.

Believing she would never leave son Noah willingly, Jon and Mel determine to discover what really happened to Issy. As they and the rest of the family struggle to come to terms with tragedy, Jon and Mel start to realise Issy’s secrets come from a very dark place…

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers today. Many thanks to the author, Manatee Books and Tracy Fenton for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel.

The opening chapter of The Dark Place briefly introduces the reader to Issy as she returns home following her first year at university. We learn very little about her here, other than she is the mother of a young son, Noah who is cared for by her parents and she seems to struggle to know how to relate to him. The moment when her life comes to a sudden and violent end is a shocking …

What Was Lost by Jean Levy #BookReview #Giveaway #BlogTour


Sarah has no memories. She just knows she was found, near death, on a beach miles from her London home. Now she is part of a medical experiment to see whether her past can be retrieved. But bad things seem to have happened before she disappeared. The police are interested in her hidden memories too.
A nice man she meets in the supermarket seems to have her best interests at heart. He seems to understand her – almost as if he knows her...
As she fights to regain her memories and her sense of self, it is clear that people are hiding things from her. Who are they protecting? Does Sarah really want the truth?

It's such a pleasure to be closing the blog tour for What Was Lost by Jean Levy today and I'm thrilled to be able to feature a giveaway as well as my review. Many thanks to the author and Emily Glenister from The Dome Press for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

Losing your memories must be something that most people dread happening but for Sarah it's become a reality. She can't remember why she was found, near death, on a Dorset beach and to make matters worse, she has no recollection of any of her life after she was a child. Her mind seems to want to protect her but what devastating incident could have triggered such an extreme self preservation response? With the police also keen to discover just what she has forgotten, could knowing what happened be worse than the memory loss? Most of the novel is told in the first person from Sarah's perspective and it meant readers can share her frustration as she struggles to make decisions or becomes upset by what seems to be the smallest things. Her condition means that it's not only memory loss that she is suffering from; she is also unable to process and retain any new information relating to the unknown traumatic incident in her recent past. Her daily life has become tightly controlled by her medical team but while some undoubtedly have her best interests at heart, it would also seem that to others she is valued as a fascinating research case above anything else. Sarah's feelings of loss as to the sense of who she is have therefore become intensified by her lack of agency over her recovery. She feels little more than a pawn with the truth about both the events of her recent past and her prognosis withheld from her.
As the book progresses the current storyline is interspersed with scenes from her past and we are given glimpses into the child and woman she once was. Although her condition is undoubtedly very upsetting there is much humour here too, both from her natural wit and from her childlike lack of a social filter which means she often says whatever is in her head and there were several moments that had me laughing out loud, For all Sarah's problems she is an immensely likeable woman but wonderful characterisation in What Was Lost extends beyond her and meant I had strong feelings about several of the characters in the novel, although admittedly these weren't always positive; some of the people in Sarah's life are really quite unpleasant, to say the least. However, although it was very easy to dislike some of the characters, there are others who I had more conflicted feelings about  - I wanted to like them but wasn't sure if they could really be trusted. Indeed, Sarah herself is the epitome of an unreliable narrator and the police even question whether her memory loss is a convenient ploy to avoid facing difficult questions about the events last December.
Eventually she becomes more involved in her treatment as her clinicians accept that her recovery needs to be more proactive. This risky strategy makes for gripping reading as it turns out there are a number of shocks in store for Sarah before the emotive truth about what really happened is finally revealed. I have no idea whether the medical discussions are accurate but they seem plausible and I was able to believe them. Though the book is quite long I really didn't notice the time passing, so immersed had I become in this cleverly crafted, engaging novel. This isn't perhaps the book for somebody looking for fast-paced thrills but what it offers instead is a thoughtful exploration of memory alongside a compelling, intense mystery. I absolutely loved What Was Lost; it is an intriguing and intelligent psychological drama and I wholeheartedly recommend it.


What Was Lost Giveaway (UK only)

What Was Lost is published by The Dome Press and can be purchased here. Don't forget to check out some of the previous stops on the blog tour, details can be found below.


About the Author
Jean spent several years in genetics research before abandoning the laboratory to pursue a career in academic publishing both in Holland the UK. She has been a database trouble- shooter, an editor, and a writer for publishing houses, pharmaceutical companies and the EU. She has degrees in Botany, Pathology, Philosophy, English, Law and Creative Writing and is currently completing a doctorate in Linguistics.
In her spare time she has campaigned for the environment and read a lot of books, the most memorable being Alice in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice, everything by Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson, and a few things by Sebastian Faulks, Calvino, Ian McEwan, David Mitchell and Shakespeare.
She currently lives in a converted barn in the South Downs with her husband and a Heritage Plant Collection, accumulates Christmas tree decorations and aspires to writing multi-genre fiction, travelling on the Orient Express and seeing the Northern Lights.
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Comments

  1. This looks great. Loved your review!

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    1. Thanks Linda! I've been thinking about it ever since I finished it which is always the sign of a great book!

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  2. A really fantastic review! Many Thanks.

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  3. I love the sound of this book. Great review!

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    1. Thanks Nicola! I had high hopes after seeing a buzz about it on Twitter and it more than lived up to my expectations.

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