Publication: 24th January 2019 – Raven Books
THREE CHILDREN WENT OUT TO PLAY. ONLY TWO CAME BACK.
The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose.
One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.
Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.
And the Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again…
Everyone knows them, everyone knows their names. They are the Flower Girls, Lauren and Primrose “Rosie” Bowman and when they were still children, back in 1997, they did something so unforgivable that led one in prison and the other to change her identity, but nobody has ever forgotten or forgiven them.
Twenty-five years old Hazel Archer is spending New Year’s Eve and her birthday in a hotel on the coast of Devon with her boyfriend Jonny and his teenage daughter Evie, when a little girl disappears from the hotel they are staying. With the arrival of the police and the media, Hazel knows that her quiet and normal life will soon be over. Struggling author Max is also staying at that hotel in Devon, spending the Christmas holidays away from his family to finish his book. He knows that Hazel reminds him of someone and when he figures it out, he knows he has to be quick if he wants to write the story everyone wants to read. In the meantime, in London, lawyer Joanna has been fighting for justice for the murder of her niece for almost twenty years and she won’t stop until she gets it.
This is not an easy book to read. Even when it’s fictional, it’s not easy to read about a child being murdered and the author writes it in such a realistic way that it makes an uncomfortable, disturbing and thought-provoking read. The author also addresses other current and interesting themes: what is the right punishment for a crime, the way the public opinion can influence a court decision, the length the media could go to get a story, the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters and between sisters.
I can’t say I really liked any of the characters. I found them too self-absorbed, all with their own agenda, but they are vividly portrayed and well-developed and the female characters are all strong and realistic.
Written by an author I’ve just discovered, but that I plan to read more, and with a chilling and jaw-dropping ending, THE FLOWER GIRLS is a dark, twisty, and riveting novel that kept me completely glued to the page.