Thursday 5 May 2016

Reviewed: While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green

TITLE: While My Eyes Were Closed
AUTHOR: Linda Green


Amazon - Goodreads

One, two, three . . . Lisa Dale shuts her eyes and counts to one hundred during a game of hide-and-seek. When she opens them, her four-year-old daughter Ella is gone. Disappeared without a trace. The police, the media and Lisa's family all think they know who snatched Ella. But what if the person who took her isn't a stranger? What if they are convinced they are doing the right thing? And what if Lisa's little girl is in danger of disappearing forever?

While My Eyes Were Closed is nail-bitingly tense from the first few pages. For those opening few chapters, this novel is extremely suspenseful and I was hooked. You know something bad is going to happen and you know how it is going to happen but you don’t know why and that is the question that lured me into the book. Why would someone snatch this innocent little girl and what were their motives?

I found the author’s style of writing to be sharp and quick and the book from start to finish is delivered with an emotional punch. I was instantly fully engrossed in the story and this never stopped – the book didn’t let me go once during its 400+ pages and because of that, I read it in one sitting, practically bursting to get to the bottom of everything. I wasn’t let down.

Ella is the four-year old daughter of Lisa and Alex. She’s chatty, inquisitive and very competitive. She’s very excited about starting “big” school in the next few days, vastly unaware someone has different intentions for her. On a game of hide and seek in the park with her mum, Lisa counts to a hundred (roughly, she was distracted), and Ella hides. Only she isn’t found. The book is set up to be an utterly compelling psychological drama – and it doesn’t disappoint.

This book isn’t full of massive shocks and twists and turns but it doesn’t need to be either. The whole concept of a young girl being taken is a chilling and unsettling enough theme and While My Eyes Were Closed is very much led by emotion and the characters who are involved in such a horrible event. Each of the three character perspectives the book alternates between had me intrigued and emotionally invested in the story and though it’s not a whodunit as such, I was still trying to put all the pieces together and understand the reasoning behind what was anxiously unfolding across the pages.

While My Eyes Were Closed was set quite local to me in West Yorkshire too which added another dimension to the book for me as I’ve not really read many books set near to where I live. Linda obviously knowing the area well herself depicted the setting and the Yorkshire tone really realistically and believably and for some reason I felt like I connected to the book more because it was closer to home in setting if definitely not in theme.

The author sharply observes the emotions that come with such an incident - the blame, the guilt, the grief and anxiety, the anger, the suffering, the overwhelming sadness… We get clear insight into how each member of Ella’s family is feeling and I was able to connect with and feel for them all at some point during the book. Everyone had comments and judgements to make and some even had the finger pointed at them but all I could do was feel for them as they were in such an agonising situation, one that doesn’t even bear thinking about.

While My Eyes Were Closed is a gripping and very moving novel about relationships between mother and child and how people respond when the life they know is taken away from them. It’s credible and delivered to an emotionally intense level – very compelling reading.

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