A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas

Working for a prestigious therapy center in London, Ruth Hartland is the epitome of professionalism. She mentors members of her team and always has the right answers for the hard questions. The rules exist for a reason, and Ruth sticks to the program at all times.

What her team doesn’t realize is that Ruth’s life is not as perfectly carved as she makes it out to be. Her personal life is in shambles. Her daughter left the country, she recently separated from her husband, and her son has been a missing person for over a year.

The face that Ruth wears at work shows nothing of her inner turmoil, but inside, she is crumbling into an abyss. A new patient has been assigned to Ruth, and he reminds her so much of her son that it rattles her to the core. Can Ruth maintain professionalism with this boy who is in such dire need of help? Can she set aside her own feelings of failure about her son, in order to protect them both from her dark secrets?

A Good Enough Mother, by Bev Thomas, is a page-turner that grips you and drags you through to the very end. If you like psychological thrillers, definitely give it a read! I’m giving it a solid place on my “Best of 2019” shelf.

The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage

After Sarah’s mother passed away, she struggled to recover and her family was suffering. Her son was evasive and barely spoke, shutting everyone out of his life. Her daughter was defiant and disrespectful, a typical teenage girl but so very angry. Only Sarah’s marriage seemed strong enough to weather the storm…Until her husband declared that he wanted to buy his childhood home at the seaside, where they could all have a fresh start together and the idyllic childhood he always wanted for his children.

The plan would all sound so very lovely if Sarah didn’t know the truth. That idyllic childhood home was the scene of multiple murders. Nearly an entire family stabbed to death. No one had lived there since the incident and it had been waiting in disrepair, dilapidated and neglected for a decade. Sarah tried to resist, but she found herself too weak against the demands of her husband and his enthusiasm for their new life.

Immediately upon their arrival, Sarah begins to wonder if moving into the Murder House was a terrible, terrible idea. The house seems to whisper with the wind, and there are cold spots that make her skin crawl. The children are irritable and surly about the move, and Patrick has been acting strange ever since they moved in. An anger simmers in her husband that she never witnessed before, and the people in the town keep making comments which make Sarah wonder if her husband’s pleasant childhood memories were anything close to the truth. Figures can be seen staring up at the house at all hours of the day, hidden in the shadows and fog at night.

The Woman in the Dark is a psychological thriller which leaves you guessing until the very end. What secrets is Patrick hiding about his life in that house? What does he know about the murders which he is not revealing? Can Sarah save herself and her children from whatever evil resides in the bones of that creaking, moaning old house?

 

The Poison Thread by Laura Purcell

 

Two women from very different worlds meet up in the most unlikely place…Oakgate Prison’s female ward. Ruth is a teenage girl with a tragic history who was thrown into unimaginable treatment at the hands of her mistress before the woman died and Ruth was locked behind bars for her murder. Dorothea Truelove is a lady of society who has an obsession with the macabre which mystifies everyone around her. The interests of the latter bring her to Oakgate Prison, where she visits the prisoners regularly and provides charitable donations to their needs.

Dorothea’s prison visits serve as an escape for her from the trappings of marriage which her father has set for her…Somehow, with Ruth, however, Dorothea finds herself more than just distracted. Ruth’s tale is so heartbreaking and surreal that she’s sure it cannot be true…. Could a simple needle and thread bring forth the curse of death? What could possibly have happened to a teenage girl to make her end her mistress’s life with poison?

As Dorothea’s curiosity mounts, and the hangman’s noose approaches, she decides to do some investigating of her own into Ruth’s sad story. Will she be able to bring the truth forward in time to save the girl? Will she have time to save herself, once she learns the horrible truth about her own life and the death of her own mother?

Two stories cross paths in a tale that is gothic and dark, dancing the line between horror and mystery. What is real? What is coming from the imagination of a very disturbed teenage girl? Dorothea will find out for herself.

The Poison Thread, by Laura Purcell, is not a cozy mystery. If you enjoy darker, more intense psychological thrillers, then this story is for you. Fair warning, however…Once you start this novel, you won’t want to put it down!

In the Shadow of Lakecrest

Kate Moore is a governess looking for a better life than she knew from her childhood. Her mother raised her to keep her eyes on the prize and marry a wealthy man who can take care of her. Kate gets her chance when she meets the mysterious bachelor, Matthew Lemont, and he is beguiled by her sensible nature and quick wit.

In a very short time, Kate becomes Mrs. Lemont. Her fairy tale beginning is short lived, however. The newlyweds are naturally headed to Lakecrest to meet Matthew’s mother and sister and surprise them with their good news. Upon arrival, however, Kate realizes that things are not as they might appear. A missing aunt, a winding labyrinth, a cellar dungeon and secrets upon secrets hide within the grounds of that strange, eccentric house.

Just when Kate realizes she needs to escape for her own safety, she realizes she is pregnant, and suddenly everyone, including her husband, seems to think she should be confined to the house until the baby comes.

Can Kate escape the tyranny in that toxic house before it steals her sanity? Could she be reliving the tragedy of the lost aunt?

In the Shadow of Lakecrest, by Elizabeth Blackwell, is a mystery novel with an essence reminiscent of V.C. Andrews. If you enjoy suspense you should pick it up!

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Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Single mother Kate didn’t have it easy-she struggled daily to balance between her maternal responsibilities and the demands of her career as a successful lawyer. She thought that her daughter Amelia was weathering the strain fairly well, her grades had been good and she never seemed to have behavioral problems. Her private school was one of the best and she had long lasting friendships. Everything seemed ok.

But one day Kate gets a phone call from the school and her life is forever changed. Kate suddenly finds herself desperately trying to pick up the pieces of Amelia’s secret life and get answers to explain the tragedy that took her life.

Strange text messages from a boy Kate had never heard of before, anonymous threatening messages, provocative photos online… Kate is beginning to learn that her daughter was much more troubled than she had ever let on… Not to mention, the school is covering up something serious and the police may be corrupt, too.

Can Kate reconstruct her daughter’s life and figure out what really happened to her? Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight is a mystery/suspense novel of the Girl on the Train persuasion, where nothing is as it seems and people have many secrets. Pick it up today if you like dark, suspenseful mysteries.

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At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

1942 Philadelphia and World War II is pulling able-bodied men and boys from every corner of the country. Young Maddie Hyde and her husband, Ellis come to blows with his crusty, uptight, disapproving upper class parents and are thrown out, disinherited and with limited financial support. Along with Ellis’s best friend Hank, a crazy plan is formed to travel to Scotland and finally find proof that the Loch Ness Monster exists…Thereby exonerating his father’s reputation which was ruined when he tried to do the same…And putting Ellis back in his father’s good graces.

But the spoiled, entitled little rich kids are about to learn what war has done to the rest of the world while they have been throwing back champagne at parties. The Scots are less than impressed by the rude, drunken American travelers and Maddie is about to learn what it is to be a friend, to serve the greater good, and to be grateful for life’s little blessings… If she can manage to survive the horror that becomes her marriage in the process.

At the Water’s Edge, by Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants), is a novel about the monsters that come in all shapes and sizes, a touch of magic (some helpful and some very, very dark), love, loss, and the importance of thinking about what good you can do in the world. Not quite a coming-of-age story, but a story about how one young woman becomes the woman she was always supposed to become, despite the many people in her life who have tried to stand in her way.

 

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel loves to ride the commuter train into the city each day. She loves to look out the windows and see the backyards of the houses which back up to the tracks. She makes up stories about the people who live in the homes, especially the young married couple in one home in particular…so in love, so beautiful, so “together”… Not like her, and her messy life.

But one day Rachel is looking out the window and she sees the lovely blond woman kiss another man in the backyard-a man who isn’t her husband. The next day, the woman is in the news. She has gone missing. Rachel tries to tell the police she saw the woman with another man, but they don’t believe her. They think she’s just a bored, sick woman who wants attention. But Rachel can’t let go. She knows something terrible has happened to the woman and she sets out to find out what happened that night…Because Rachel was in the neighborhood that night, but she can’t remember what happened. She was inebriated and only remembers patched, blotchy memories. Did she see the missing woman that night? Or is she losing her mind?

Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, is a psychological thriller set in England, in the vein of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), Everything She Forgot (Lisa Ballantyne), The Lace Reader (Brunonia Barry), and You Should Have Known (Jean Hanff Korelitz).

If you love edge-of-your-seat reads with unreliable narrators (I sure do) then Girl on the Train should absolutely be on your t0-read list.

Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne

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Margaret Holloway gets in a terrible pileup on the highway and finds herself pulled from her vehicle by a strange man with terrible burn scars. When she comes back into everyday life she finds herself haunted by his face…Not because of the scars but because something about him was triggering a memory inside her and it won’t let go. Margaret begins to feel like she will never recover from the accident unless she can find out who her rescuer was, and why she is having strange flashbacks from her childhood.

A little girl disappeared on her way to school one day…What happened to sweet, quiet, plain Moll? Who would kidnap a young girl? Is a mafia member somehow involved? But why? Worlds collide as Margaret tries to put together the pieces of the mystery…Hopefully before it’s too late.

If you are a sensitive, delicate person, the harsh reality of Everything She Forgot may not appeal to your sensibilities. This novel is brutal and detailed and for readers who can handle crime at it’s more gory end. Readers, you know who you are…

The Uninvited: A Novel by Cat Winters

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Ivy Rowan wakes up one day after being struck with Influenza. An epidemic has taken over the town and before she got sick, her father and brother had committed a terrible crime. Deep in her gut, something is telling her that it’s time for her to leave home and go out on her own in life.

Out in town, everything is in turmoil. In addition to the epidemic, soldiers are being sent to fight in the Great War overseas, dying in battle, coming back wounded, leaving behind widows and wives to fend for themselves. Ivy finds a place to board in town and seeks out a German man who was wronged by her family members-she wants, more than anything, to help him in some way.

Ivy finds herself confused, nothing is as it should be, the world is such an ugly place and she wants desperately to find beauty and warmth in it. She wants desperately to make a difference in someone’s life…But there is one terrible hitch-women in her family have always had a “gift” of seeing spirits after they have passed, right before something terrible happens to someone close to them….And she keeps seeing the spirits of the departed all around her.

What are the spirits trying to tell her? Is someone close to her in danger? Can she help enough to make a difference to someone? Can she form a connection with the German man that will give him comfort in his time of misery?

The Uninvited, by Cat Winters, is a psychological thriller sprinkled with ghosts and set in the time of the Great War. A combination of so many genres makes for an addicting and intriguing read. If you don’t like “ghost stories”, I would steer clear of this one, but if you can handle a touch of the supernatural in your reading, The Uninvited is very strange and interesting. If you like books that twist your perception and reality, The Uninvited is for you!

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah

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Nicki Clements is a housewife with a lot of secrets. When she isn’t buzzing her kids around and running errands, she likes to have a secret life…It seems harmless at first, but when the police show up at her door to question her about a murder investigation, she realizes that she may be in much more trouble than she ever imagined. But how could her innocent cyber activities have caused a murder? And how did it relate to her?

The police have more than enough suspects-the crowd of enemies surrounding Damon Blundy, the murder victim, was vast and full of colorful and eccentric personalities. Nicki may not be the only person of interest, but the way the murder took place, its odd details planned out perfectly…Something is nagging at the back of Nicki’s mind…Something oddly familiar. She can’t tell the police everything, for risk of exposure, but she knows she must try to find out the truth, and how it might be connected to her.

Woman with a Secret, by Sophie Hannah, is a psychological thriller from the Spilling CID series-but I’ve never read the series before this book and I felt like I was reading a stand-alone novel the whole time. I may try to hunt down some more of the series, because this was a page-turner! I read it every chance I got because I couldn’t wait to see what Nicki Clements has been up to that could land her in so much trouble.

If you like psychological thrillers, Woman with a  Secret is impeccable! Get it today!