Cover Image: Her One Mistake

Her One Mistake

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Member Reviews

What an amazing debut novel!  I can't wait for the next Heidi Perks book to be written! This book cannot be put down.  Loved the writing and I totally did not see the twist that came in the middle of the book (I read a lot of suspense books and usually figure it out...but did not this time!)  Thank you for the advanced reader copy.  I will be recommending that our library purchase this title!
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A single mother of three offers to bring her friend’s younger daughter with her family to a school fair. The kids go in a bounce house and when they return, she notices her friend’s daughter Alice is not with her children. She notifies the police who begin an investigation. The book jumps between perspectives of the two women and time periods then (at the disappearance) and now. We start to learn that the mother’s (Harriett’s) life was not as perfect as it seemed. As the layers are peel back on their lives, the reader will see the abduction in a new light. But, is Alice in danger?
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A great mystery then a page turning thriller!   At first this book had me wondering if I was reading from an unreliable narrator.  I don’t spoil if this is true or not.  This book builds the suspense as it keeps going.  The story is told from the POV of Harriet, whose child goes missing, and Charlotte, Harriet’s friend, who was watching the child when she goes missing.  The POV go to before and after the event.  I liked the way the story was told.  The last 25% was thrilling and I was frantically trying to finish it before I had to leave.   Definitely hard to put down, especially the last third of the book.  I’ll definitely check out Heidi Peeks other books.  Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC!
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Besties and Brujas – Maggie & Shannon talk the Domestic Thriller
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Last year’s trend amongst suspense and mystery novels seemed to be the domestic thriller. Books like Lisa Jewel’s Then She Was Gone  or the outstanding Our House by Louise Candlish, focused on families in the middle of a dark crisis. Towards the end of the year, the focus seemed to be leaning more towards friends and the dangers inherent in trusting the wrong people with our secrets. That fad has continued into 2019, offering up some truly memorable, chilling books that expose the dark underside of the term ‘besties’.

Maggie: Most suspense tales have a mix of both family and friends but a friends or frenemies thriller has the action derive from the friendship. Would you agree?  What draws you to a best friend drama?

Shannon: I would definitely agree with this assessment. It’s hard to have a thriller that’s completely centered around either family or friends since both play pivotal roles in our lives. We can’t choose our families, but we do choose our friends, and this choice sometimes backfires. I love it when authors examine what happens when someone chooses the wrong friends, or when a solid friendship suddenly goes sideways.

Maggie: I felt the year got off to a really strong start with Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks, to which you gave an A in your review. It’s the story of Charlotte, who takes her friend Harriet’s daughter to the fair along with her own three kids. While the three older children play on an inflatable obstacle course, Charlotte deals with her youngest, glancing at Facebook posts on her phone while she waits. When Harriet’s little girl goes missing, all hell breaks loose and the community turns on the popular Charlotte with a vengeance.  One thing I felt the author showcased very well was the give and take of women’s friendships. How we become embroiled in each other’s lives through our simple kindnesses to each other. I’ll add that I felt one of the two characters was someone I would most definitely not want in my life. What did you think?

Shannon: Her One Mistake is definitely one of the high points of my 2019 reading. It was a book I hated to put down, one that compelled me to keep reading, even when I had other things that needed to be done. That doesn’t happen to me with all thrillers, so it’s a real treat when an author can manage to hook me in so completely.

Maggie: My other missing child book this year was She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge. This is more of a police procedural which revolves around a group of seven friends who go into the woods – and emerge as a group of six. It wasn’t quite as intense as Her One Mistake but it is a deeply riveting story nonetheless. Do you have any other novels you’d recommend with that theme from the past six months?

Shannon: She Lies In Wait is one I haven’t read, but I’ve heard a ton of great things about it. I’m hoping to get to it soon. I haven’t read any other missing child books that involve friends over the past few months, but I’m always on the lookout for more.

Maggie: I Invited Her In by Adele Parks which came out in February explores the theme of friends who reunite with disastrous results. One of the things I thought the author did really, really well in this book is create a believable friendship between the two protagonists. With many stories I find myself wondering how the two women became friends to begin with but with these ladies I understood their dynamic almost instantly. Which made it far more chilling to me when everything started to unravel. What did you think of the dynamic between Mel and Abi?

Shannon: It’s frustrating when the friendship that is supposed to drive the plot forward doesn’t feel convincing. Fortunately, that wasn’t at all my experience with I Invited Her In. Mel and Abi had a very authentic relationship. I understood the highs and lows they experienced over the years, and when things did start to go south, I kept hoping they could find a safe, healthy way to sort things out. There was something so compelling about the way they used to relate to each other, and I really wanted them to be able to reclaim that feeling.

Maggie: I agree, although I don’t know that it would ever have been possible after some of what happened. My other friend-visit-turned-nightmare novel is You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks. It’s a far darker, more disturbing story but fans of grim, twisty tales about sinister characters will love it.  Do you have any other recent recommendations along this line?

Shannon: Girls Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke kind of fits into this category. It’s the story of three best friends who go on vacation in the hopes of patching up their differences, but one of them ends up disappearing while on the trip. The reader is left wondering if her friends had something to do with her disappearance. It’s one of those books where the reader has absolutely no idea who to trust.

Maggie: Girls Night Out is on my TBR list.  Changing pace, lest we have anyone thinking the best thing to do would be to purge the contact list on their phone, let’s talk about the dangers of not having friends. In An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen bad circumstances have forced Jessica Farris into a lifestyle of isolation, aside from her one bestie. She doesn’t mind this solitary existence but it does lend itself to a situation which leaves her vulnerable to a powerful protagonist. I found Jessica a very interesting person, a mix of strong and susceptible, generous and desperate. What did you think of her?

Shannon: Pekkanen and Hendricks really hit the ball out of the park with An Anonymous Girl. I had no clue what to expect going in, and I was completely entranced by the story. Jessica is a heroine we could so easily encounter in our daily lives, and those are honestly some of my favorite types of protagonists. It’s nice to read about someone who doesn’t have mad skills that set them apart from the rest of the world.

Maggie: I agree. Another book I felt highlighted that a lack of friends can be every bit as dangerous as having the wrong one was The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets. In this novel, Marian works with rescue dogs in remote locations. She has many acquaintances but the people who work the job tend not to be gregarious or close, preferring nature to nurture. Which leaves the lovely Marian to become prey to the worst kind of predator. Do you have any other recommendations for this trope?

Shannon: This isn’t a really recent release, but Cass Green’s In a Cottage in a Wood features an isolated heroine who has hit rock bottom. She inherits a run-down cottage in a remote part of the English countryside, and she decides to spend some time there to lick her proverbial wounds. Of course, things don’t turn out to be as peaceful and serene as she’s hoping for, and her isolation plays a huge role in what happens next. It’s an incredibly creepy and atmospheric story that I’m more than happy to recommend.

Maggie: I’m adding that to my list! Let’s end on a positive note and talk about friends who help. A popular theme is the tale of the investigative friend.  In Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall a roommate launches an investigation to find her missing friend – and find out why she’s disappeared.  I thought Ellen, the main protagonist of the tale, was also very representative of the clingy friend. She seemed to always need someone’s coat-tail to hang on. What did you think of Ellen and her style of friendship?

Shannon: I’m fortunate not to have had someone like Ellen in my life. She definitely took way more than she ever gave in return, and I found myself frustrated by her selfishness. Of course, people like this do exist in the world, and I found Marshall’s representation of this type of friendship to be pretty spot-on.

Maggie:  Another story that revolves around a friend who investigates and discovers a lot more than she bargained for is Camryn King’s Triple Threat about Mallory Knight, a young lady that won’t accept her best friend committed suicide. She launches an investigation to discover just what happened, uncovering some surprising secrets along the way. Do you have any other recommendations with this trope?

Shannon: Again, I’m reaching back a few years for this one, but K.A. Tucker’s He Will Be My Ruin is a must read if you enjoy this trope. It sounds pretty similar to Triple Threat in that our heroine learns her best friend has committed suicide, something she has a hard time accepting. She starts digging into her friend’s life and uncovers all kinds of unexpected things. Tucker’s writing is super compelling, and I loved every second of this story.

Maggie: I’ll have to check into that one, too! Thanks for talking mysteries with me. It’s been a lot of fun!

Shannon: You’re very welcome. Mysteries are some of my very favorite things, so I’m always happy to rhapsodize about the ones I’ve loved.
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If I could give this book 3.5 stars, I would, particularly since it's the debut novel from this author. This is totally my problem, but I think I would've enjoyed this book more if I could've read larger portions in one sitting. It was exciting at first, but began to drag in the middle as small tidbits of information were fed to the reader. Then it picked up again at the end. Overall, I did enjoy the book and would be willing to read more from this author. I received a complimentary Kindle version of this book through NetGalley for review purposes..
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A psychological thriller indeed. I guessed all the wrong people as suspicious persons. Lots of twists and turns. Some of the police efforts were a bit hard to believe. Other than that I highly recommend.
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I must not be the target audience for these thrillers where a mother isn't paying attention and loses another parent's child. Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks sets us up immediately to dislike both mothers. Charlotte is annoyed by the fact that Harriet's  four-year-old is wearing sunscreen so she'll need to find some for her own three children. She's annoyed by their whining and it wasn't long at all before I was annoyed by Charlotte and the way it felt like the author was carefully choosing details to make me dislike the woman.  She's playing on her phone while she waits for the kids to come out of the inflatable Jungle Run, "reading some inane quiz and then scrolling through posts, getting caught up in everyone else's lives." Her own kids come running up to her after a few trips through, but little Alice doesn't.

Once I started to learn the details of what had happened to Alice it got interesting, but it took a long time to get there, with the chapters alternating between Charlotte (in first person) and Harriet (in third person) on the day of the disappearance, and Charlotte being interviewed in the present.
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Gallery Books and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of Her One Mistake.  I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

When a fun-filled outing to a school fair goes horribly wrong, will Charlotte ever be able to regain what she has lost?  Her reputation in tatters and her life in pieces, will one moment of inattention be the defining moment for Charlotte's future?

Although some of the plot, especially regarding the police and their actions, seemed a little unrealistic, the story as a whole has wide ranging appeal.  Charlotte has to live a parent's worst nightmare, made even worse by the overwhelming guilt.  The twist toward the ending was well played out and did not seemed forced.  Some of the characters in the book are not all that likable, but the novel itself was well paced and interesting.  Readers who like psychological thrillers and mysteries should like Her One Mistake and I look forward to reading more by author Heidi Perks in the future.
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I really enjoyed this book.  Charlotte convinces her best friend Harriet to let her take her daughter Alice to the school fair with her own children. Charlotte says she was watching all the children as they were playing on an inflatable playground. But then Alice doesn't come out the end with the other children. When Harriet finds out, she goes into a downward spiral, with the help of her husband saying that she is "too fragile" to know what is going on. But is that his real motive? And how much blame should Charlotte have to handle, especially after it becomes known that she was posting on facebook right at the time Alice went missing? I really liked this book! It was super-fast, and there were many times that I got angry and found myself saying "what the @#$%" Definitely recommend!
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In the blink of an eye your whole life can change and that is exactly what happens in “Her One Mistake” by Heidi Perks. I won’t get into the plot too much as I do not want to give anything away. I will say that this book is every parent’s worst nightmare. It  really put me in the mind of “Big Little Lies”. I enjoyed the alternating point of view as well as the past and present portions. At times it was a little slow paced but even so, it is full of twists and turns. Overall, I enjoyed this novel and will definitely read more from Heidi Perks in the future.  

*I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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Not a huge fan of this. I didn't think the characters were particularly fleshed out. I really expected Charlotte to be more the focus of this book and was disappointed that she really wasn't. I thought it would be the very interesting story of a woman who must live with the fact that she was responsible for the safety of another's child and failed. I would have loved for the author to explore that, but it was barely glossed over. It veered off into a twist that was kind of strange.

I suspected something when the Harriet's husband was clearly gas lighting her, but I didn't think that story was as interesting as exploring Charlotte's guilt would have been. So once we got to that point in the story, I lost a lot of interest. Too bad. It started out strong, but ultimately fizzled.
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I think that this story is every parents worst nightmare from every angle. A missing child, friendships that broken beyond repair and family secrets that are the worst kind. This is not normally the kind of story I can read all the way through, because it’s just too real and I tend to read for escapism. But this story was one that grabs your attention and just doesn’t let you go until you finish the last page. It grips you so well because you just want to find out what the whole story is. These are the kinds of books that I really like.
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An amazing read! Could not put it down. It messed with my head in all the best ways possible, kept me on the edge of my seat guessing what really happened. Author did an amazing job with the ending I felt like the character and was waiting on edge to see if a certain someone showed back up. Loved it can not recommend it enough.
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An excellent psychological thriller. Filled with surprises. Well done layering of information, evoking many emotions, and containing wonderful characters. Thank you NetGalley for the e-reader copy. All opinions are my own.
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Every Mom's Nightmare!

Charlotte and Harriet are moms and friends.   Charlotte lives a comfortable life with three children and Harriet's life is not so comfortable and she only has one child named Alice and she never lets her little four year old out of her sight (never).   There is a school fair that all the children are looking forward to but Harriet has a somewhere she must be on that day, so she asks Charlotte to take Alice to the fair, who is only happy to oblige though Harriet seems very nervous about leaving Alice but Harriet trusts Charlotte and thinks she is a wonderful mother.

The children are very happy and excited to try everything and three of them go on the huge jungle bounce but only two come out.    Where is Alice?   Where did she go?   How will she face Harriet?

This is only the beginning of a heartbreaking mystery that has so many twists and turns and tests of friendship among other friends and mothers and has Charlotte doubting herself as a mother and friend, especially when the police continue to question her about how she could lose Alice and not one of her three children.

This was a very entertaining book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good psychological mystery.

I want to thank Netgally and the publisher for this arc and will read more by this author.
I have given this book 4 mysterious 🌟🌟🌟🌟 stars!!
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A mother's worst fear is her child being abducted. In this novel, Her One Mistake, that is exactly the nightmare Harriet is enduring when her daughter Alice goes missing.  Even worse? Harriet was at a class when her child was taken, right under the watchful eye of her best friend Charlotte.  
I really felt sympathy for Charlotte.  The way things are today, no doubt the focus of headlines would be on the careless mother who lost her best friend's child, instead of efforts towards actually FINDING the child.  I couldn't imagine being in her shoes, anymore so than Harriet's.  
This novel really did make me feel for the characters, even if it wasn't the most "on the edge of your seat" type of story.  For the most part it drug on and on at a pretty slow pace until the ending, where there was quite a bit of an unexpected finish.  I feel like it could have used a little more closure, but overall it was a good read and I will probably read more from the author in the future.
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In the "British Girl in Trouble" vein, this one was just okay.  A woman asked a friend to watch her daughter for an afternoon and the little girl is abducted. But, guess what, there is more to the story!
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I enjoyed the fast pace of this twisty book.  It was not predictable, the who did it mystery remained throughout the book.  There are a lot of novels written where a child goes missing under the watchful eye of a parent.  This one was a friend, and not a close friend, and the friend was reluctant to do so in the first place.  

The story unfolds from differing points of view, told by different characters.  It also jumps from the aftermath of the disappearance to before and then to the moment the child is lost.  This is confusing in some books, but not this one.  It kept me riveted the entire time. 

Thank you NetGalley for the advance copy.
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I have such mixed feelings about this book. It was engaging, it was a page turner, it kept me guessing.....I just didn't like the characters. I don't know what I've done, because clearly I've done something to stick me in this pit of good stories bad people situation. 

Thank you Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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My Rating: 4.5 Stars

How chilling to read a book when a little girl goes missing at a fair! 

Charlotte has three kids of her own, so being asked to take her friend's child, Alice, along to the local fair is not a problem. However, Charlotte is posting while on her phone, so just imagine her horror when Alice suddenly disappears. Oh the guilt! Oh the accusations!

This chilling story is told in alternating timelines of  before and now. What I thought when approaching this book and what I learned while reading were two entirely different things. Both timelines were so incredibly intense! Who couldn't feel sorry for the mother, Harriet, whose child has disappeared? And as a parent, I can't help but admit that I was extremely angry with Charlotte for allowing her need for social media to cause such a distraction.

Without providing a spoiler, suffice it to say that things were not as they seemed in Her One Mistake. That fact, along with many other disturbing facts, make this book work. And, oh, it works so very well. This is a psychological thriller down to its very teeth. The story goes beyond the two mothers. There is Brian, Harriet's husband and Alice's father. All I can say about him is "Wow!"There is something else worth mentioning at this point: Harriet really wasn't close to any of her friends.

Because any further comments about the story would indeed be spoilers, there is a trigger warning. There is domestic abuse, and it is because of such that a person might ask how far would they go when faced with an untenable situation. No doubt other readers won't take long to query as to who made what mistake.

I have already stated that this book is chilling. It is equally suspenseful and compelling, and despite that, sometimes difficult to read. It is that level of difficulty that made this book nearly impossible to put down. 

Many thanks to Gallery Books and Edelweiss for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
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