Alex Lake's day job is all about helping people, especially children. She cares about them passionately and does everything in her power to rescue them from those who mean them harm.
When the case of three-year-old Ottilie Wade comes to her attention, Alex finds herself completely unable to detach from the child the way she should. She feels an overpowering need to make a real difference in little Ottilie's life, but no one is prepared to believe that Ottilie is in danger.
In the end, Alex makes a decision that has consequences for her, her family and Ottilie - consequences that no one, least of all Alex, could have foreseen.
©2012 Susan Lewis (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks
"With an unflinching gaze, based on her own traumatic experiences, she brings us life in all its raw intensity. The result of such honesty, insight and understanding is a string of gripping novels that bristle with drama, complexity and heart-rending reality." (Lancashire Evening Post)
"A moving and powerful story...I couldn't put it down!" (Peterborough Telegraph, 9/10 stars)
I have never listened to or read Susan Lewis before this but was persuaded to download this audiobook after listening to a free chapter. I am so glad I did as it is definitely one of my most memorable listens of the year and probably my fastest listen. I was so involved in the story and so caught up in the lives of the characters that I really felt part of their lives and constantly wondered what I would do in their situation. Susan Lewis is a great storyteller and Julia Franklin the perfect narrator. If you like the story telling talents of Joanna Trollope or Penny Vincenzi (as I do) you will love this.
This book had me hooked from the start. It had lots of different themes running through it - Love, betrayal, loss and worse of all sexual abuse. The main character of the book was crying out to be loved all the way through which went hand in hand with her job as a children's social worker. The only part of the book that let it down was the ending and hence I felt unable to give it the 5 stars I would have expected from the rest of the book. The plan by Alex and her mother to take Ottilie, the victim of sexual abuse, out of the country seemed rather impossible to achieve in today's climate of airport security. I know the book is a work of fiction but the rest of the book had been very credible and this ending rather spoilt it,
I love family sagas, like discovering different authors and escaping in a story, prefer listening while I do all the boring chores!
Definitely gives the listener an insight into social work, the red tape and feelings of knowing something is not right , yet having to wait until you can prove it.
Very much enjoyed the story even though difficult at times. I couldn't wait to carry on listening.
There are parts of this book that I found really hard to read, and a couple of times I had to put it down, and at other times I couldn't put it down! I had the kindle and audio versions of this book so read some and listened to some. The hard parts are probably worse on the audio version but I think that just means that the narrator is doing their job well! Overall a really good read and perhaps some people will be less affected by the hard parts than me. If you do read it and enjoy it I would also highly recommend the sequel, Don't Let Me Go
We are initially lead to believe that Ottalie aged three has difficulty in speaking then suddenly she is able to use words and sentences more suited to an older child.
Alex a social worker appears to spend the majority of her working week attending the needs of one child, taking her to nursery, the zoo and her own home.....this just doesn't happen in real life and completely spoils the story which in itself is quite grafic in places.
It's all very predictable.
It deals with a very emotive subject and our misconceptions about it. Very sensitively written and beatifully narrated, it takes you on a journey with so many near misses, so many times when the story could have ended differently.
Far too long to listen in one go, but it definitely kept the interest going and I wanted to keep listening.
It took a little bit of time to get into the book at the start. Some of the start seemed irrelevant, but it wasn't and I am SO glad that I got past that because this really was an outstanding listen.
Narrator was beyond awful!!!! Jesus Christ! Everyone sounded like a whiny middle aged woman. It was most grating with Alex, cos she's supposed to be 28.
"Couldn't stop reading!"
This was my first novel by Susan Lewis, and I was not disappointed. I appreciated the author's writing style drawing parallels between past and present. Also, the narrator was perfect for this book.
Oh my! What a novel! This is the first time I have read Susan Lewis, so I wasn't so sure whether I would like it. However one very telling review on Goodreads from a reader I really respect - Laurel-Rain, had given it 5 stars so that was a good start!
It's a long book, so it took me a few weeks to listen to it. It is set in a small town in England. The narration was excellent and held my attention all the way through. The only very picky thing I have to comment on was the accent of a certain character who came to visit Alex. Sorry - but that is not a New Zealand accent!
But what of the content? Well it engaged me all the way through. Alex is a social worker, and a very good one. She cares about the children she works with. She puts in long hours and it is often heart breaking and difficult. She has to contend with situations where sometimes her life is at risk. She herself had a very distressing beginning to her young life and so knows first hand being left orphaned.
She has a few minor enemies, nothing outstanding, but enough to niggle and cause damage in small but significant ways. As well as working she is into drama and enjoys directing the local club. She is in a relationship with Jason as the book opens, but even as the book opens that looks a little shaky.
Alex trusts her instincts, and she follows up a phone call about Ottilie Wade and senses that all is not well with the child. The mother is very strange and the father is domineering and seemingly holding down a very respectable job as a deputy head at a local school. The more Alex knows of him the more she suspects. She soon is keeping a close eye on Ottilie, but things move slowly and social workers have to play by the book.
When one terrible night things go pear-shaped in a big way, the press go after Alex in a big way, blaming her for what has happened. As they do! They are out to sensationalise it all and Alex has to hide away at the rectory hoping it will quieten down soon. And she has put herself in a very compromising place. Go Alex!
I will certainly be listening to or reading the follow up book to this one, although with a little break in between!
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