Her One Mistake

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

A very quick and engaging read for me. There are a lot of twists, and even though I had some ideas of how the story might go (some correct, some not), there was enough suspense to keep me interested. I think there could have been more development of characters/details, but overall, I could suspend belief/fill in the gaps and just go with it. 

I think the blurb about the book is not quite accurate now that I've finished reading the book, so better to just go into reading it without any preconceived ideas of any of the details. 

Thanks to netgalley for an advanced copy.
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Charlotte was more than happy to watch her friend Harriet's four year old daughter, the first time that Harriet had ever been away from her daughter more than a few hours. Charlotte, her three children, and Harriet's daughter Alice, had a fun day at a school fair to enjoy. But soon after arriving at the fair, Alice is missing and life changes forever for Charlotte and Harriet. 

Charlotte is criticized for losing sight of a child that is not hers and even for using her phone to post on Facebook around the time Alice went missing. Harriet had never been away from her child before, afraid that something could happen to her and her husband Brian can't believe she left her child with someone. The only friend that Harriet has is Charlotte and now that friendship is irreparably damaged. 

There are so many twists and turns in this story and I certainly didn't have it figured out until the story allowed us to know what happened. Harriet's husband is obviously a manipulative, sick person who calls her "love" but really harbors unhealthy feelings toward her. Charlotte has lots of friends and plenty of money but enjoyed spending time with Harriet, who doesn't fit in with the rest of Charlotte's friends, because she feels like she can tell Harriet her thoughts and feelings without Harriet judging her or taking her ex-husband's side of things. Strangely, Harriet shares very little of real importance about her life, which allows the friendship between the women to be off-balance, without Charlotte realizing it, until this fact is pointed out by law enforcement during questioning, after the disappearance of Alice. 

The story is told in alternate times of Before and Now and from the point of view of Harriet and Charlotte. This is a very enjoyable, psychological thriller, that kept surprises coming throughout the book, until the end. It really says a lot about how blame, including unfounded blame, can destroy a person's sense of well being and how friendships can be ruined by lies and omissions. 

Thank you to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for this Advance Read Copy.
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Best friends formed over discussion about their children and Charlotte's recent separation.  Harriet is overprotective of her four year old daughter but agrees to let Charlotte take her daughter, Alice,  to the local fair.  Within minutes of arrival Alice disappears while playing with Charlotte's children.  Local empathy centers on Harriet while Charlotte must deal with with everyone's assumption that she was not paying attention to the children.  Both women harbor secrets that are not expected.
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"You know you can trust me."

Six words. One moment in time. Two lives changed forever. 

Harriet is a mother like many that is nervous to let someone else care for her child. When her best friend, Charlotte, promises her all will be fine, she nervously trusts her friend to take care of her baby girl. She trusts that her daughter will return home safely, that surely her good friend would never be careless with someone else’s child. Harriet pulls up to her house to find a world of her nightmares awaits; Alice is gone. Police have nothing. And this eerily connects to a previous child kidnapping.

...or does it?

Something more sinister is going on here that will rock everyone’s world. Someone goes missing. Someone dies. And someone loses the life as they know it for better or for worse. The author cleverly leaves the decision up to you. Do you walk away from this book feeling relieved? Or do you walk away feeling unresolved?

- - - - - - - - -

This book was 4 stars for me. It had delicious twists and turns and one epic, jaw-dropping shocker. It was better than I had anticipated and I fully recommend reading! As for what I didn’t like? I felt the ending did not quite match those twists and turns felt throughout the book but still good and worthy of a 4-star review. I love that she didn’t tie it all up in the end with a nice, neat bow however it still left me with a feeling that it could’ve been so much more. I’m not knocking the author because it’s clear she is more than capable. The ending just didn’t fit the book for me but it was definitely worth the read. If you read other reviews, some absolutely love the ending as not everyone has the same taste.

My only other issue is the title. I still cannot quite figure out what her title is referring to but don’t let that steer you off course. It still fits, but not quite as well as one would like.

Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I often wonder what it would have been like to be a parent in the 80s or 90s. 

Back before social media. 

Before Pinterest. 

Before Mommy shaming became a certified Olympic sport.

I mean, I’m sure it had its challenges.

Parents back then had to entertain children for the interminably long time it took a VHS tape to actually fully rewind, for example.

But, I would think, it would have to have been a bit… less stressful?

It seems like it would have been liberating to raise your children without the constant infusion of criticism from the outside world — without those voices telling you that you’re doing it wrong, that you’re fucking up your kid in some irrevocable way, that every mom is such a mommier-fucking-mom than you are.

But, as a child of the 80s and a millennial mom of a 4th grader and a toddler, I’ll never know if I have it better of worse than my relatively contemporary predecessors. 

Note: I am certain that I have it better than my early predecessors as I neither have to protect my children from wooly mammoths nor churn butter in the back of a Conestoga wagon while worrying about whether our last axel will break before we finish our grueling journey to the new frontier.

If there were ever any doubt in my mind that motherhood in the 20-10s is a full contact sport, this book would have cleared those right the fuck up.

In this newest work by new-to-me author Heidi Perks, both of our dual protagonists are mothers, though they go about the process of parenting in decidedly different ways.

Charlotte is a confident, relatively wealthy, mother of three who is in the process of divorcing her husband, Tom. She long-ago established herself in the mommy social circle and is generally well-respected.

Harriet is a dedicated mom to one — a four year old named Alice who she has never once let out of her sight — and wife to Brian. Though Harriet certainly tries hard — arguably, harder than Charlotte — she’s never quite fit in. The other moms see her as… different… in some indescribable way. Her only real friend is Charlotte, who she met five years ago when her then family of two moved into town.

As the book opens, Harriet arrives at Charlotte’s house to drop off Alice. Harriet — a helicopter parent in the making — is loath to leave her little girl, but it’s become necessary as she’s arranged to take a bookkeeping class so she can develop skills to put to use once Alice heads off to school.

Though Charlotte is — as it seems like Charlotte always is — relatively overwhelmed and harried, she wears the stress with grace and dismisses any concerns Harriet raises as to her ability to handle four children, all of whom she plans to take to a school fair.

When Charlotte arrives at the fair, however, it seems that Harriet’s concerns may have been more warranted that Charlotte allowed for. With four kids in tow, a headache developing and the siren’s call of social media leaving her palm itching to pick up her phone, Charlotte is inarguably overwhelmed.

She’s so overwhelmed, in fact, the she feels relief when three of the children — two of her own along with Alice, the youngest of the trio — decide to play on an inflatable.

With just one toddler to mind, Charlotte takes a seat in the shade and hops on Facebook, while keeping an eye on the ride on which the three children in her charge play.

After some time, her two children run off the ride and up to her, ready to move on to the next adventure. 

But Alice isn’t with them.

Immediately concerned, though not yet alarmed, Charlotte sets off on a search, getting on the inflatable obstacle course herself and hunting for the little girl, who she suspects she will find huddled scared in a corner.

When her search proves fruitless, her panic level increases.

And when a more exhaustive search still yields no results, Charlotte realizes that it’s actually happened.

She’s really lost Alice.

One thing’s for sure: fucking losing someone else’s child is a way more egregious offense than failing to produce the lump-free fondant you needed to craft the tiny spikes necessary to transform cupcakes into stegosauruses for the child’s “three-rex” themed birthday party. 

Everyone, but particularly every mom, will be immediately drawn in to this naturally compelling plot —  which is pretty fucking flawlessly paced, I must say. 

Like the plot, the characters were also on point. 

I was particularly impressed by the fact that, despite being entirely different from each other, the two women central to this novel both had distinctive, endearing voices and authentic, believable motivations to act as they do. 

Throughout the entire novel, I rooted for them both of them — Which was particularly difficult during times when they were at odds with each other.

Neither of the women was villainized, which required foregoing of the concept of a diametric black or white set up and the establishment of some significant gray areas. 


As naturally engaging as the plot was, and as well-established and believable as the characters were, the real strength of this book was the twist.

For the, say, first 50% of this book, I was comfortable and calm — and, as a result, drinking at a reasonable rate. I was reading along thinking, “Okay, this is a good little thriller. I'm pretty sure I know where everything is going and I'm, like, 98% sure I know whodunit. But that's okay. Because it's still pretty good, even though it’s straightforward.”

But then.

Everything changed. 

A twist.

And not just any, old, everyday, average, oh-okay-thats-a-little-surprising twist.

No. 

A Fucking world. Fucking changing. Fucking twist.

Yes. That's three intentional fuckings. That means it was some twisty AF shit. 

Of all of the possibilities I pieced together in my head by that point, what happened wasn't one of them.

And I piece together possibilities like a fucking boss!

Because it came out of nowhere, yet was still so believable, this twist was a game changer.

From that point forward, I cracked up my chug meter* and dove headlong into the novel — and into my bottle of Malbec.

*This term was coined by my 9-year-old when he witnessed me drinking wine while reading a book and crying (I’m looking at your, “Ghosted”). His response, “Mommy, I’m sure that is sad, but if you’re getting that emotional about it, you may want to turn down your chug meter.

Honestly, pinpointing any weakness for this book is exceptionally difficult. 

Though there is, however, one itsy bitsy thing that bothered me.

Honestly, it’s just the smallest little teensiest, tiniest, thing, but... The cover — AKA - the thing by which I initially judge all books always. 

On my advanced release copy, the cover featured a teddy bear. 

Sooo…. why?

Like, I get it. We are trying to send the message that a child was taken so quickly - so violently - so against her will - that her tiny little fingers* couldn't even hold on to her beloved snuggle buddy.

*And, trust me, I know how tight little fingers can grip. I on the daily carry a tantruming two year old up the stairs to bed while he thrashes and grips at every spindle, every railing, his little talons come into contact with.

But, come on. Anyone who reads this will be left thinking, "Why wasn't it a hippo?" — the stuffed animal the little girl in this book cherished.

And, on the to-market copy, the cover shows a swing over a puddle?

Like… there were no swings.

There was no puddle.

Just… why?

It's small. 

It's trivial.

But it's something that bothers me. Because a book this good deserves more than generic, uninspired, stock photography.

Given that my only point of criticism is the cover — something the author likely had little control over — it should come as no surprise that this, my first book of 2019, is a fucking winner.

It easily earns 5 out of 5 cocktails. 

You should absolutely read it. It’s… dare I say… the next Gone Girl.
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Reading Her One Mistake made me feel uncomfortable. At first, the discomfort was caused by the situation the main character was enduring of having a friend’s child kidnapped while under her care. I am an aunt and that is one of my worst nightmares. The book had a lot of twists and turns and not everything is at it seems. However, later my feeling of discomfort with the book were more about wanting more dimensions to the characters.  The action was good but the I wanted the characters to have more depth. 
Thanks to NetGalley, Gallery Books, and the author Heidi Perks for an advanced electronic review copy.
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3.25-3.5 STARS

What could be worse than your child disappearing without a trace?  The disappearance of your over-protective friend’s child, who trusted you with their child’s care.  That’s the nightmare that Charlotte lives, when Alice—the daughter of her best friend Harriett—vanishes from a school fair after she loses site of the child for several agonizing minutes.  

A unique and compelling premise, "Her One Mistake" was a decent story overall but was a bit lackluster in its entirety.  While I was pulled in right from the very start, the story quickly plateaued, leaving me craving some much-needed suspenseful thrills.  And though promoted as a psychological thriller, for me, it didn’t quite fit that bill.  Perhaps my expectations were set too high.  Regardless, I did find “Her One Mistake” to be an enjoyable read--albeit a bit predictable, as I easily deduced the “mystery” behind Alice’s disappearance quite early on.
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Awesome story! It was pretty emotional and very raw. The suspense was another great factor of this book. I loved how Heidi Perks showed her characters on the pages. I would recommend this to any of my friends!
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This is not the typical missing child book.  It is so much more!  From the beginning, I was drawn into this clever and unique plot.  Charlotte is Harriet’s only friend, so when Harriet decides to take a bookkeeping class, Charlotte is the one that she naturally turns to for a caregiver for her young daughter Alice.  The plan is established that Harriet will go to her class and Charlotte will take Alice, along with her own three children, to the school fair.  When Charlotte goes on Facebook for a few minutes, she looks up and Alice is gone.  Okay, the stage is set for the increasing drama.  Harriet isolates herself and mourns the loss of her daughter, but she also has carefully guarded secrets.   Charlotte has her own secrets, and the police just want to uncover everything so that they can find the missing child.  The story is told via narration by both Charlotte and Harriet and on a dual timeline of now and before Alice disappeared.  The drama was intense, as befits a psychological thriller.  The conclusion was satstfyingly surprising.  Readers of thrillers wil enjoy this book and hope for more from this author!
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Heidi Perks is going to be on my list as a favorite from now on with her incredible story Her One Mistake. This was a psychological thriller that kept me guessing every step of the way. I even gasped a few times while reading because I was taken so off guard by a twist here or a turn there.

The story follows two people; Charlotte, the mom who lost another mom’s kid at a carnival, and Harriet, super protective and mostly unliked mother in the neighborhood. Both are going through ordeals all stemming from the missing daughter of Harriet. Charlotte is being blacklisted among her friends and Harriet is all alone with just her husband for support, and he’s a little weird, if I do say so.

Every character in this book played a pertinent role in the story. The supporting cast, including Harriet’s husband, Charlotte’s best friend, estranged family members, and the town gossip all brought so much more to the story and helped form this elaborate vision in my head as I read. I think Heidi Perks wrote characters that were not only interesting, but also mysterious and filled with depth. They all had their own little secrets that just emphasized all the questions swirling around as we read. Each time I thought I had an inkling of what was going on, Perks through out a twist that had me questioning everything. I never would have guessed the ending in a million years.

One of my favorite parts to read was Harriet’s relationship with her husband. I enjoy when an author can bring out specific emotions in me as I read, and Perks made me uncomfortable to the extreme with Harriet’s husband. He was super doting and seemed to care a great deal for Harriet, but at times I found myself incredibly uncomfortable with his behavior. I loved that Perks was able to make me feel that emotion so strongly.

Her One Mistake is a mystery/thriller, but I also feel it falls heavily into women’s fiction. So if you like women’s fiction with a little kick, pick up Her One Mistake. You won’t be disappointed. It will make you question, “What would I have done?” Pick up your copy and let me know what you think.
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Wow, what a roller coaster ride this book was for me!  Heidi Perks new novel Her One Mistake is a psychological thriller that centers on one of every parent’s worst nightmares – a missing child.  The story follows Harriet and Charlotte, best friends and mothers who have children about the same age.  Harriet, a somewhat overprotective mother, has never let her four-year-old daughter Alice out of her sight prior to the day she allows Charlotte to take Alice to the school fair with her own children.  Charlotte knows what a huge deal it is that Harriet is entrusting her with caring for Alice and vows to be worthy of the trust that has been placed in her.

When the unthinkable happens, however, and Alice goes missing at the school fair, Charlotte turns the place upside looking for her. When it becomes clear that Alice is no longer on school grounds, the police get involved and begin a search.  They are quick to act because another young child had gone missing several months ago and still hadn’t been located so the fear that a predator may be on the loose in their community is all too real.

Charlotte is truly devastated.  She is crushed, not just because Alice was in her care when she went missing, but also because she doesn’t even want to think about how distraught Harriet will be.  This will surely spell the end of their friendship, even if Alice is found safe and sound.

After she finds out about her missing daughter, Harriet refuses to even speak to or see Charlotte. She and her husband blame Charlotte exclusively for what has happened, as do all of their mutual friends and apparently most people on the internet who are discussing the incident.

As the police investigation ramps up, however, secrets, lies and some ugly truths begin to surface.  As we move closer to the truth about what has happened to Alice and who is responsible, it becomes clear that nothing is as it originally seemed.

Characters.  I found both Charlotte and Harriet to be very sympathetic characters. As a parent, I know how devastating it would be to find out my child was missing, and I also know I would never forgive myself if I was entrusted with the care of one of my friends’ children and they went missing while in my care.

Not only was it easy to sympathize with these characters, but it was also very easy to imagine them as real people.  They are flawed and messy and some of the problematic scenarios they find themselves in are of their own making.  Part of the reason Charlotte is so widely blamed, for example, is because while she was supposed to be watching the children at the fair, she was also posting on her Facebook account.  So everyone who follows her on there, knows she was at least somewhat distracted while the kids were playing.

Pacing and Perspective.  I loved the pacing of Her One Mistake.  It’s set up from the perspective of both Harriet and Charlotte and we hear from each of them as we go through the lead up to Alice going missing, the initial search and immediate fallout, the police investigation, and then the subsequent larger fallout as we get closer to the truth.  Seeing first hand what is going through the minds of both Charlotte and Harriet not only had my own emotions all in knots, but it also painted such a full picture of what was going on by presenting it from both sides.  The chapters were short but powerful, and I just flew through the pages because I needed to know the truth.

Suspense and Tension.  Perks did a phenomenal job of ratchetting up the tension and suspense the further we get into the story.  There was one character in particular I had a bad feeling about from the first moment they were introduced.  I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it was that bothered me, but every time they appeared on the page, my skin crawled.  I hated the character but loved that the author had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see if this character would turn out to be a monster or not.

Dark but Relevant Themes.  And finally, I liked the wide range of themes Her One Mistake touched on.  Be forewarned that this is in no way a fluffy read though.  It explores some dark topics like abuse, isolation, deception, desperation, and there is a big focus on friendships, both in terms of how such a tragedy can strain or even ruin friendships, and in terms of fair weather friends who abandon you at the first sign of trouble.

I don’t have any real complaints about the novel at all, although I did feel that there were a couple of loose ends that I would have liked some closure on.  I can’t speak to what they are for spoiler reasons, but if you read it, you’ll probably figure out the ones I’m referring to.

Overall, I found Her One Mistake to be a riveting and compulsively readable thriller.  I binge-read it in just a couple of sittings and found myself immediately going to Goodreads to see what else Heidi Perks has written. She is definitely an author that I look forward to reading more from. If you’re a fan of Liane Moriarty or Sally Hepworth’s domestic thrillers, I think Her One Mistake might be right up your alley as well.
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4.25 stars

Harriet allows her friend Charlotte to watch her daughter for an afternoon. Somehow her daughter Alice vanishes. Charlotte fells horrible and public opinion makes her feel even worse. Harriets husband Brian is watching everything and looking for someone to blame.
Heidi Perks touched on a few different subjects. This was close to being a 5 star read. I was wrapped up in the story until the last page.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest review.
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3.5 stars

  This book asks some really hard questions. What would you do if you were watching a friend's child and they disappeared? How badly would you feel especially when it's discovered you were reading Facebook posts at the moment she disappeared at a school event? Would you be insulted if your friends stopped asking you to babysit?

  And how far would you go to protect your child? What if the only solution was unbearable? How did you get yourself in this situation? How could you let it go this far? How much strain would you put on a friendship.

  This is the story of Charlotte and Harriet and a missing child, Alice. It has a lot of twists and turns and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It reads like it was meant to be a movie which I am sure it will be. It kept me entertained the entire time.

  Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
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What a great start to the new year with this amazing psychological thriller. I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  What I thought was just about a missing girl turned out to be much much more. I got sucked in by Alice's kidnapping, and was held there by the strange relationship between Harriet and her husband and the blame and disdain Charlotte was receiving. All of this combined together to make this a creepy, wild ride. 

As pieces fell into place I still couldn't see how it would end and even now that I know it gives me chills. Well written, well woven and interesting. This is about secrets, and how well you may know even your best friend.
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The novel opens with Charlotte Reynolds preparing to give a statement to the police. It's a device for starting a narrative, but also flags that we can expect to read Something Horrible in the near future. 
Thirteen days earlier, Charlotte took her three children to a school fair. She also took little Alice, the daughter of Harriet, her best friend. Harriet was taking Charlotte updates her online status at a critical moment, and Alice disappears. The police are summoned, and the child is nowhere to be found. Harriet and her husband are notified, and Charlotte must endure not only condemnation from the public (her posting on social media is soon discovered), but her own guilt for letting her best friend down.
This book kept surprising me. The author and setting are both British, so I expected to plow through a lot of setting the scene and character introduction. The first few pages provide this information, including a bit of tension between Charlotte and ex-husband Tom, but the action--and seeds of doubt--begin early.
Harriet was taking a course in bookkeeping. This is why Charlotte had Alice with her in the first place. This seems very normal, but Brian, Harriet's husband, is surprised. He hadn't been told. Why?
Heidi Parks is an artist at giving out one piece of information at a time, shifting the reader's idea of the truth again and again. Secret after secret is revealed, pulling the reader deeper into the well of mental games, broken relationships, and murder. I kept picking up echoes of Gaslight and Bunny Lake is Missing, and was delighted.
I received a free NetGalley ARC in exchange for an honest review. My honest review is that Her One Mistake is a great read, and I recommend it to readers who enjoy psychological suspense.
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Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks is a psychological thriller that will suck you in.  Lives are irrevocably changed when Alice, Charlotte's best friends daughter, goes missing on Charlotte's watch.  This has to be everyone's worst nightmare.  This book and these characters will grab you by your heart, it is completely engrossing.  Your heart will break for these characters.  The dark and twisted secrets are an added bonus.  This was the first book by Heidi Perks that I have read and it wont be the last.
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You've convinced your best friend that you will baby sit her only child and watch her like the own. Then in the blink of an eye, Alice is missing. Oh, the guilt Charlotte felt when no one can find Alice but was it really her fault? Something is a little off with Harriet and Brian, Alice's parents. It seems that everyone has a secret in this psychological thriller. Recommended!
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Talk about a psychological thriller.  This story was captivating, gut wrenching, thought provoking and not one that I would have imagined myself actually enjoying.  However, I did.  Granted, the story was so hard to get my heart wrapped around.  It started slow, in my opinion, however if you stay the course it does pick up.  I couldn’t help but put myself in each of the characters shoes.  What if my friend lost my daughter?  What if I lost my friends daughter?  Lord help me if I didn’t gain a few gray hairs outta this one, and for me that is saying something as I read horror and mystery all day long.  With this topic it made it all more stressfull for me. 

GIve it a chance, and I think you will find the ending quite satisfying.  It is not one of those reads that leave you hanging, which would have made me beyond furious! 

Enjoy!  And Thanks for the advance read!
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Thanks to Gallery Books and Netgalley for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.


Charlotte has finally got Harriet to let her watch Alice. So as she heads out the the fair with her three kids and Alice she doesn't realize this is going to be the worst day ever. At first everything is fine, but as the kids head off the Jungle Run and Charlotte takes her eyes off of them for one minute it all changes. She sees Jake and Molly, but their is no sign of Alice.


Charlotte frantically begins searching for Alice and calling the police, but no one can find Alice. It is a person's worst nightmare being entrusted to watch someone else's child and losing them. Charlotte feels so guilty. Then the online attacks begin, and a journalist finds out about the time Charlotte lost Jake..


Wow I did not see this one coming, like I thought I knew what it would be about, and then I thought it was something else, and then I thought this and by the time I got what was going on my mind was blown. I couldn't believe it, and I was hooked. I raced through this, I had to know what was going to happen. 


Like I want to rant and rave about this, but I can't mention some things because it would be major spoilers, but I want to say kudos to the author for using this type of situation to expose a certain type of behavior that is so insidious we often overlook it. I know that is like so cryptic, but if you read this you will understand that statement in the end. I think if you like suspense, thrillers or mysteries you should read this one.
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I unexpectedly had to take a break from reading this book; so don't let how long it took me to finish deter you. This was a good read, easy but engaging and had a twist I didn't see coming but made me stop and think back. This was the first book I've read by this author and was lucky enough to get an ARC, but I would absolutely recommend this!
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