Review – In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings

By | February 7, 2016

A perfect life… until she discovered it wasn’t her own.

A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but her life.

Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.

Every now and then, I come across a book that is so perfect, and that moved me so deeply, that I doubt I’ll ever be able to find the right words to write about it. In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings is published by Orenda Books – the ebook is out on 10th February, the paperback on 1st April. I’ve ordered a signed and numbered exclusive limited edition hardback from Goldsboro Books, and it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I have no doubt I’ll be buying more paperback copies – so that I can put them in people’s hands and simply say “read it”.  

I loved the author’s earlier book, The Judas Scar: when I reviewed it (here), I said it was “a book you won’t want to put down until you’ve read to the end, but one that you really have to put down just to catch your breath, and when you’re not reading it you’ll still be thinking about it.” With In Her Wake, Amanda Jennings has – quite unbelievably – outdone that.

I was absolutely enthralled by this book from its opening pages, a depiction of extreme sadness unlike any I’ve read before as Bella travels to her childhood home on the death of her mother. Her father is grieving – there are wonderful touches like a poorly buttoned cardigan and the impossibility of making a cup of tea – but there is a distance between him and his daughter that has always been there. When another tragedy strikes, layers of long hidden secrets begin to unfurl – dark secrets that change people’s lives for ever.

The story is simply wonderful – every discovery shocking, every new secret so totally unexpected. Should you doubt it, the book is a compelling read – “page turner” seems a wholly inadequate description, but I can’t find another that so sums it up. The quality of the writing is – if anything – even better. Some of it was totally stunning – a description of St Ives so vivid it affected all my senses, sunrise on a beach seen with the eyes of an artist. I began by highlighting passages I loved so that I could revisit them – I later gave up, because there were just too many. It’s totally effortless to read, perfect in its construction – but at the same time it can be difficult, seeing people and their relationships laid out and dissected so minutely. The depth the author brings to her characters is really exceptional – real people, people you know, people you feel with and hurt for.

This was a very special book – one that will stay with me for a long time to come. It’s not often I’m lost for words, but this book was absolute perfection…

My deepest thanks to author Amanda Jennings and Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for allowing me the honour of reading this book in advance of publication.

Amanda Jennings lives just outside Henley-on-Thames with her husband and three daughters. In Her Wake is her third novel. She is a regular guest on BBC Berkshire’s weekly Book Club, and enjoys speaking at literary festivals, libraries and book clubs. When she isn’t writing she can mostly be found walking her dog and dreaming of being up a mountain or beside the sea. She writes a blog and is an active user of social media.

5 thoughts on “Review – In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings

  1. dawn obrien

    this sounds really good, I'd heard about the judas scar too. I'm definitely adding both to my wish list!

  2. Anne Williams

    Can't recommend it highly enough to both of you! And I bet you'll enjoy The Judas Scar too Dawn… thanks for commenting x

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