I’d read and enjoyed ‘Then She Vanishes‘ by Claire Douglas last year – so when the publisher emailed to ask if I’d like to read her new book – Just Like The Other Girls – I jumped at the chance.
Here’s the blurb:
” *CARER/COMPANION WANTED FOR ELDERLY LADY*
*YOUNG FEMALE PREFERRED * COMPETITIVE SALARY*
*ROOM AND BOARD INCLUDED*
Una Richardson is devastated after the death of her mother. Hoping for a fresh start, she responds to an advertisement and steps into the rich, comforting world of elderly Mrs Elspeth McKenzie.
But Elspeth’s home is not as safe as it seems.
Kathryn, her cold and bitter daughter, resents Una’s presence. More disturbing is the evidence suggesting two girls lived here before.
What happened to the girls?
Why will the McKenzies not talk about them?
As the walls close in around her, Una fears she’ll end up just like the other girls. . .”
I enjoyed the book right from the beginning. Una’s Mum has died, so she’s working as Elspeth’s companion – and the book begins with her start in this new life. Slowly she uncovers that her 2 predecessors have ended up dead – in totally different circumstances – but none the less, both dead. Una starts investigating this as she’s concerned she doesn’t become the next fatality. Her lovely relationship with her friend Courtney is also centre to this (I think Courtney rocked right through the book, and do hope she had a happy ever after).
Elspeth is clearly not as infirm as she wants everyone to believe, and her grumpy daughter Kathryn obviously has secrets too. Elspeth doesn’t seem to care about Kathryn’s sons – her grandsons – at all, and Kathryn seems to keep her husband and sons very separate from her mother – despite spending a lot of time with Elspeth and helping to run the family businesses.
The story twists and turns brilliantly – with hints and clues here and there – some that are crucial and some that are total red herrings – but you’re not sure which is which until the very very end.
I don’t want to give too many of the twists away – as you need to experience them yourself with no spoilers – but boy they are good.
The chapters are written from different people’s points of view – and you ‘hear’ other people’s thoughts too, although you’re often not sure who you are ‘hearing’. (Actually – I think I might want to go back to see if you are hearing the same person each time?) But this writing style makes it exciting and the whole book has a real momentum.
By the time I got to the last few chapters I was almost holding my breath! And I was really happy with the way it all concluded for everyone – and it 100% wasn’t what I expected at all.
A massive thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC – and I would highly recommend you pre order it for when it’s out in August 2020.