Only A Mother by Elisabeth Carpenter – Blog Tour Review.


About The Book


Erica Wright hasn’t needed to scrub ‘MURDERER’ off her house in over a year. Life is almost quiet again. Then her son, Craig, is released from prison, and she knows the quiet is going to be broken.


Erica has always believed Craig was innocent – despite the lies she told for him years ago – but when he arrives home, she notices the changes in him. She doesn’t recognise her son anymore.


So, when another girl goes missing, she starts to question everything. But how can a mother turn her back on her son? And, if she won’t, then how far will she go to protect him?


My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Only A Mother is the third book I have read by Elisabeth Carpenter and in my opinion is the best one yet.

It is a crime novel, but one that deals with what happens years after the crime. Most of it is told by the viewpoint of either Erica, mother of Craig who has just been released from prison or Luke who is a journalist covering the story of a killer released back into the local area. I found it mesmerising. The abuse that Erica faced daily. Not just vandalism but also the whispers and the isolation that she has been forced into. Luke also has issues, married with two young children, he should feel happy but he feels like a failure.

Whilst the crimes do feature it is the emotion that carries this novel and makes it believable. It made me think about what a Mother would do to protect her child, how hard is it to feel loyal and give support to a convicted killer. And always wondering if he was capable of murder. It is a crime novel that made me feel emotional at times, especially near the end.

As well as the storyline I also enjoyed the local setting. I live in the town in which the book is set and I had a lot of fun identifying local places. Elisabeth Carpenter is an author who has plenty more novels to come. Recommended.

11 Missed Calls by Elisabeth Carpenter – Blog Tour Review.



About the Book

Here are two things I know about my mother:
1. She had dark hair, like mine.
2. She wasn’t very happy at the end.

Anna has always believed that her mother, Debbie, died 30 years ago on the night she disappeared.

But when her father gets a strange note, she realises that she’s never been told the full story of what happened that night on the cliff.

Confused and upset, Anna turns to her husband Jack – but when she finds a love letter from another woman in his wallet, she realises there’s no-one left to help her, least of all her family.

And then a body is found…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
11 Missed Calls is a dual narrative novel concerning two women in the same family. Debbie who is the mother of Anna, went missing on holiday in Tenerife thirty years ago when Anna was a baby. They each have their story to tell. Debbie has struggled with depression and low esteem since the birth of Anna, her second child. Anna struggles to accept that her mother left her as baby and refuses to accept the rest of her family’s belief that she is dead. When communication is received to suggest Anna is correct, there are mixed emotions from all concerned.
It is slow burning novel. The narrative switches with each chapter so it did take me a while to get to know the characters. It took me longer to understand Debbie, to accept that she wasn’t selfish but struggling with post natal depression, low self-esteem and loneliness. Looking after babies was considered to be the mother’s job and the sense of frustration when her husband complained about having to change nappies etc was evident. She couldn’t see what her family and friends could, that she was a beautiful young women with a devoted family.
Anna, I liked immediately. She was like Debbie in some ways but was more open. She wanted answers, but recognised that they would cause anguish for others. It had been an obsession, but I can’t imagine what it must be like. Not to know and understand what happened. She was very much like her grandfather, Debbie’s father with her need to never give up hope.
It’s difficult to select a genre for this novel. It is a powerful story of relationships and bonding. Not only between parent and daughter but also in marriage and friendship. I think there are many families like this, where the need to cope with everyday commitments leaves feelings unspoken about. It is a novel that shows how important communication is.
I live in the area where the book is set, and I enjoyed reading about the places I know. There were a few times I was laughing to myself, these parts would probably only appreciate if you knew them too.
A great follow-up to 99 Red Balloons and I’m looking forward to book three.

11 Missed Calls Blog Tour FINAL

99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter – Review.


About the Book

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?
When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.
What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared..

My Review

I moved this book to the top of the pile of books to read when I realised that the author was local and that there was an event to support the publication at the local bookshop.
Like many novels at the moment the synopsis concerns a missing child. Where the book does differ is that there is a connection to a child that went missing years earlier.
There are multiple narrators, some have said that they got confused but I found it easy enough to follow with most of the chapter headings saying who the narrator was. There were only a few occasions where the narrator was anonymous to keep the mystery intact. I thought that this was done very well, the narrators were all different and she managed to get into the heads of all of them. My favourite character was Maggie, the oldest one who has lost everything but still managed to keep going. I liked everything about her.
I thought the novel would be set in the local area, and even though one of the characters was from Preston it was mainly set elsewhere. This didn’t detract from the story, I found it all extremely enjoyable.
There is a twist, I could see it coming and thought I had worked it out but I was completely wrong. If you go into this novel assuming that it is just another missing person novel you would be wrong, most of the storyline is different to every other book that I have read.
It’s a great debut and after hearing about the next novel at the event I am looking forward to keeping up with this author.