She can’t remember the last year. Her husband wants to keep it that way.
When Jo Harding falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in hospital with partial amnesia-she’s lost a whole year of memories. A lot can happen in a year. Was Jo having an affair? Lying to her family? Starting a new life?
She can’t remember what she did-or what happened the night she fell. But she’s beginning to realise she might not be as good a wife and mother as she thought.
Close to Me is a debut psychological thriller from Amanda Reynolds for Wildfire, a new Headline imprint.
The plot is not entirely innovative; it deals with a dysfunctional family. Each familial member has their own secrets to keep; communication is not a strong function of this household.
Jo Harding is the mother of Finn and Sacha and the story is told entirely from her perspective. The trouble is, when we first meet her, she is in hospital struggling with memory loss caused by a home accident. But was it really an accident? As Jo tries to make sense of where her memories from the last year have gone, she knows that her family at keeping secrets from her. But is that, as they tell her, for her own good, or is something more sinister going on?
Close to Me is a fast and easy read, with a fair share of twists and false leads. The tension builds nicely and Amanda Reynolds does a good job of underscoring the anxiety and upset that memory loss can cause.
Apart from Jo, her characters are slightly one dimensional, but predominantly that’s a product of the one person narrative. I enjoyed the picture of a complacent middle class marriage with the ongoing parental concern for two children, who, having grown up wanting nothing, are now intent on squandering their lives.
Sasha has hooked up with an older guy and completely changed her looks – and Jo feels that there is something more to her daughters live in partner than she currently understands; she just knows she gets a strange feeling when she sees him and flashbacks that are not at all welcome.
Fin has dropped out of university and is flat sharing in something just a small step up from a squat. But he is withdrawn and will not communicate with either his mother or father.
The timeline moves back and forth as Jo tries to find out what has gone on during the last 12 missing months. Rob, her accountant husband, tells her her phone was smashed when she fell, but when she gets a new one, she is sure there must be missing texts and e-mails.
Not knowing who she can trust, Jo is deeply unsettled as she looks for just one person who can help her find out what has happened to her once close knit family.
Close to Me is published in paperback by Wildfire on 27 July 2017
About Amanda Reynolds
Amanda Reynolds is an experienced creative writing teacher and the author of Close To Me, her debut psychological suspense published by Wildfire (Headline). Close To Me is an Amazon Kindle and iBooks bestseller and will be published in paperback in July, with a second psychological suspense due out next year. Close To Me has also been optioned for TV and has sold around the world, including the US, France and Italy.