The Girl In The Maze by Cathy Hayward – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

‘I would caution you against delving into the past. The past is often best left exactly where it is.’

Emma Bowen has never had a close relationship with her mother, barely speaking with her in the last years of her life. But after her mother’s death, Emma finds something that might just explain the distance between them.

Discovering letters between her mother and grandmother, it seems to Emma that her mother has always been difficult.

As she searches for answers about her own childhood, Emma is drawn into the mystery of her mother’s enigmatic life. The more she finds, the more lost she feels, but Emma is determined to uncover her mother’s past, and the secrets held within it, whatever the cost.

An enthralling story of three women, generations apart, linked by one terrible tragedy.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I always enjoy reading a dual time frame novel so was looking forward to reading this book. And it was also a pleasure to read a novel that takes place somewhere I have visited and could recognise, Morecambe. The whole theme of the novel concerns family  and how attitudes years earlier had an impact on Emma and her family in modern day.  It was a little upsetting at times to read how her mother and grandmother both suffered in their teens. Twenty years apart but nothing had improved.

Many people will be familiar with the mother and baby homes or the laundries where a young woman had her child snatched away from her. The trauma suffered by Margaret in this novel was just how I would imagine it to be. A very difficult family life, abused and that abuse ignored by the one who could have done something to help. It would be easy to dislike her and her treatment of Emma and her young family but all I felt was sympathy. And she was a character who I only knew through the narrative of others. 

One of the strongest aspects of this novel were the letters. Most of what happened in the past was revealed by these and towards the end of the novel they became more remorseful and upsetting. It made me wonder how many families went through similar experiences and how many of those never found any answers. And it was also a stark reminder how important it is to talk, Emma and her own family could have had a completely different relationship with Margaret if they had been able to talk about the past. 

There was some detestable characters but most who featured felt normal and likeable. All of them had their life changed by some appalling acts that could have been avoided. 

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