The Rumor

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Lesley Kara for the opportunity to read and review her debut novel - I could not put this book down!  I can't wait to read more from this author.

Rumors - so easy to spread and what harm they can cause.  Joanna is a single mom to Alfie and recently moved her son to be close to her mom because he was being bullied in school.  But Joanna and Alfie are still having trouble fitting in.  When Joanna lets slip a rumor that she heard to the other moms, she gains an in to the group, but at what cost.  The rumor is that a murderer of a small boy has been released and is living in their town under an assumed name.  Suddenly everyone is suspect.  Joanna becomes obsessed with the case as well.  Just how dangerous for everyone will this rumor become?

Just as in the book, everyone is suspect and I was glued to the pages to find out the answers - and was still blown away by the last page.  Great read!
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It starts with a rumor. Whispers at the school gate.

"There's a strong possibility that a famous child killer is living right here in Flinstead," she says, pausing to let her words take effect. "Under a new identity of course" ...

The Rumour debuted in the United Kingdom in December of 2018. The setting is the fictional "cozy" seaside village of Flinstead-on-Sea and the dialogue is distinctly British. The novel crosses the Atlantic in June, 2019 and has been revised for an American audience. Just in time to pick up a copy for a nice beach read! Other reviewers have called it a psychological thriller or heady suspense but I would place it more as a women's fiction with a who-dun-it theme.

Joanna Critchley, a single mother, was a very successful real estate manager in a large metropolitan area near the sea. She gave it all up - the big salary, beautiful home, and fancy car - to give her son, Alfie, a new life away from cruel school bullies.

She surprises herself by choosing to be near her mother in the small seaside town of Flinstead. When she was eighteen-years-old she couldn't leave Flinstead fast enough. The tiny town is a mecca for retirees and she longed for the bright lights of the city and the more hip crowd. Now returning, she hopes that Alfie being near his beloved grandmother and entering a new school system would give him a brighter future. Alfie is a bi-racial child and the reader is left to assume that Joanna expected the smaller community would be more tolerate of her mixed race child.

She soon learns that a small town can be harsh on newcomers. Children aren't the only ones to find it difficult to find a place in the existing pecking order.

Encouraged by her mother, Joanna makes an effort to meet other women in local social activities and joins a book club. When another member of the book club is being hazed over her love life, Joanna attempts to deflect the conversation by asking,

"Just out of curiosity, has anyone heard of Sally McGowan?". . . that child killer from the sixties . . . I'm sure it is a load of garbage, but someone mentioned they'd heard something about her living in Flinstead, under a new identity."

And just like that - the rumor begins to spread throughout the town like a lightning strike in a hay field. Once ignited, the rumor is unstoppable and splinters into different directions fueled by fear, curiosity, paranoia, and suspicion.

Suspected victims are harassed and threatened. No one is above suspicion. And everyone remembers who first brought up the subject. Joanna becomes a target by someone who seems to know Sally McGowan and she fears for her life and that of her son.

The twisty plot explores the damage an innocent comment can do in a small town with everyone having an ax to grind. The truth of the rumor becomes a rationale to expose the town's underbelly.

The book is not overly harsh and easy to read. The kind of book you would take on a plane trip; it doesn't require the reader to deeply engage in the themes just enjoy the journey.
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This was a fascinating psychological thriller. Rumor’s can spread quickly and many times they have devestating consequences.  Deadly consequences.  Kara delivers a fair amount of suspense with this debut novel.  
Many thanks to Random House Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I received this from Netgalley for honest review. 
4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
What a great thrill and suspence it was to read. What a great psychological thrill! This novel had everything in it. The  thrill, the suspence, the psychological, and the twist is crazy. This novel will keep you thinking and guessing. When you think you right, well let me just say that you might be wrong. This had me all over the place. My heart beatting so fast! I couldn't believe what I was reading. If had me in shock. Every page, every chapter was a page turner. I couldn't believe my eyes what I was reading. I highly recommend everybody get this book and read it. It will surprise you in every way.
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This is touted as a read similar to Girl on The Train.......partly accurate, I would say.
Story unfolds with a woman moving back to a small town with her young son. And then becoming involved, intrigued, confused about a child killer from a number of years ago.
  It is an easy read in that it does not jump around to much, but is also a read wherein the author pulls more from what she is thinking than what she is writing, leaving the reader wondering WhY the character is feeling the way she is.
   Not a bad book, but I had it figured out pretty early on.
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I felt like this book was a little slow going in the beginning.  The big reveal of who Sally McGowan was actually turned out to be a surprise.  I feel like there were too many holes in the ending though.  Stop reading now to avoid spoilers!  An older woman with cancer flings herself down a rotted out staircase in an abandoned house, and another woman seriously breaks her collarbone, and we are supposed to believe they can just elect to keep everything a secret?  That there will be no police investigation? That the news won't get a hold of it?  There doesn't seem to be any possibility that would happen.  I feel like it would've made a better ending if Michael had actually written a story about Sally McGowan, perhaps without identifying her directly, and talked about how many lives had been ruined in the aftermath.  I was actually not surprised at the second twist, that it really was murder.  Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I would be interested in seeing what this author comes out with next.
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The Rumor, by Lesley Kara, is a twisty thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed and could not put down.  I finished it in less than a day.  It is a story intended to make a mother‘s (or grandmother’s) heart race. This is not my usual genre, and I definitely was surprised by the final resolution.

The story stands as a warning to be careful what you say and to whom you say it.  Almost all of the characters are likeable and sympathetic, which makes it particularly troubling to identify the culprit, and upsetting when you finally do know.  The setting, a seaside village is exceptionally appealing.  Unfortunately, location and geography are problematic.  This book was originally written for a British audience and “reworked” for American readers, for reasons that completely elude me.  Unfortunately, the tweaking was inartful and inconsistent so that it was never really clear where the characters were.  I did not let it get in the way of the story, and I very much hope other readers will do the same.  I highly recommend this engrossing mystery/thriller!

Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books of Random House Publishing for the opportunity to read an electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Rumors can kill…

The Rumor is Lesley Kara’s debut novel and tells the story about Jo, a single mother who moves back to her hometown, a small, coastal town in New England.  Trying to make friends with the other school moms to help her son to be included and make friends, Jo decides to spread a rumor she heard about a convicted child murdered living in their town under a new name.  The story unfolds, but who is this mysterious child killer?  With all the crazy characters in the town it could be anyone, maybe even someone Jo knows.  With the help of her son’s father, a freelance journalist, Jo tries to figure out who it is, but what she’s looking for might be putting her son in danger.  Is listening to a rumor really worth it?  

This to me was a very easy read.  I was intrigued from the beginning and needed to know who this child killer really was?  Was it Liz, the eccentric head of the book club?  Kay, the kind, older neighbor?  Karen, the sort of friend?  Karen’s mother, who didn’t seem to like Jo at all?  Susan, the woman whose house Jo was selling? Or maybe it was one of the other characters in this town?  There were a lot of characters to keep track of in this book and honestly it could have been any of them.  

That was one of my only issues with this book – the amount of characters.  Sometimes I had a hard time keeping track of who was who.  I think the author could have had a few key characters and not so many school moms, and the story still would have worked.  

One thing that impressed me, what that I didn’t figure out who the killer actually was.  I was surprised when it hit me at the same time it hit Jo.  The other most shocking part of the book is the last sentence, but I won’t get that away! 

Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine Books for and advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
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There's been a lot of hype about this book. People have been all over the place in terms of their reviews for it. As for me? I'm stuck in the middle. It read much like a Desperate Housewives/Big Little Lies type story for me. I felt like it was a story that had already been done before. The writing isn't bad at all and it kept my attention the entire time, I just didn't really seem to care about what happened. It was a little too predictable for me. If you don't read thrillers often, you may enjoy this one!
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Wow talk about twists and turns! This book caught my attention from the very beginning. There were several times, while I was reading, where I thought I figured it out, yet when I got to the end I was shocked. I found the characters likable and loved that there were also short chapters. It was a pretty quick read that I would absolutely recommend to others.
When Jo, a single mom, hears a rumor while picking up her son from school she never intends to repeat it. However, once she does there’s no going back. Rumor has it that a woman, who committed murder as a child and was released years later, is now living in Jo’s town under a different name. Joanna finds herself obsessed and trying to figure out who it could be. What she doesn’t realize is the danger she is putting not only herself in but also her son, Alfie. Can one rumor really shatter your world? Will Jo regret her part in spreading this particular rumor?
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Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of The Rumor.  It took me quite a while to get into this one, but I decided to hang on a little longer.  It just started off really slow for me, but once I got to the midway point, I couldn’t put it down.  

Joanna and her young son, Alfie, move to a small town and have trouble making friends.  Joanna is so desperate for her son to have friends, she decides to mention a rumor to other moms that she has heard floating around.   A child murderer may possibly be living in their town under a different identity.  The rumor spreads like wildfire, and Joanna begins receiving threatening messages.   

She becomes obsessed with researching the case of the child murderer and finds herself in impossible situations that she can’t work her way out of.  Joanna stops at nothing to protect those she loves and never thought one rumor could cause so much trouble.

I gave this one three stars because it took me so long to get into.  But it’s definitely worth the read. It was released yesterday, so get a copy and let me know your thoughts!
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Lesley Kara’s debut novel "The Rumor" was an exciting read. Thank you to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy. This was a completely captivating, chilling, twisted tell. A gripping story full suspense, paranoia and accusations. The storyline shows how spreading a rumor can have dangerously destructive effects in a small town. This one will keep you intrigued until the very end. A good psychological thriller to add to your reading list.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis: Rumor has it that a notorious killer, who committed a brutal crime as a child, has been living a new life under an assumed identity in Joanna’s seaside town. So who is the criminal hidden in their midst? Suspicion falls on everyone.

As Joanna becomes obsessed with the case, her curiosity will expose her son and his father to the supposedly reformed murderer—who may be ready to kill again. She will learn how dangerous one rumor can become and just how far she must go to protect those she loves. She is going to regret the day she ever said a word.
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It's hard to believe The Rumor is a debut novel! 

"One casual remark. One whispered secret. That's all it takes to se the wheels in motion and change the course of a life."

Set in Flinstead, a small coastal town in England, a rumor spoken outside the school yard as mothers wait to pick up their children spreads like wildfire and immediately begins to alter the actions, and interactions of the whole town. The rumor? A woman who murdered a little boy when she was ten years old is living among them under ! Suddenly everyone is looking at everyone else with suspicion, and suspicions lead to hateful acts.

Full of twists and turns, I thought I had the killer picked out numerous times, yet was still surprised at the end. I love that!!

Lesley Kara is an author I will be following. The Rumor gets 4 stars from me!!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for allowing me to read an ARC of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review.
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The Rumor is character driven and thought provoking. Fast paced and well woven, I was hooked immediately and Lesley Kara kept me reading too late into the night. I appreciated that the twists and turns, quite plentiful, were not telegraphed.  Fans of a psychological suspense should enjoy this novel. The characters are complex, layered , and compelling. The "rumor' itself is almost a character, with a life of it's own. The pacing is fast and the settings are well drawn. The rumor would make a great book discussion selection, I found it thought provoking and there were many times when I wanted to talk over what I read.  Lots of opportunities for discussion and debate. 
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
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Lesley Kara's debut novel is a "heads up" that this is a writer to watch.  There are some admirable twists in this one.  

Jo is a single mom who relocates to the seaside town where she grew up to be near her mother.  It's a great opportunity to have family support, and give her son Alfie a fresh start from the city where he struggled to fit in with the other kids.  Jo's desire to see her son happy is a little obsessive, to the point that she starts joining groups and befriending people she normally wouldn't just to gain his acceptance.

In order to get "in" with the other mothers, she shares a rumor about a child murderer who is living in their community under a hidden identity.  Suddenly the ladies are intrigued and  everyone is speculating who the murderess is.  A local business woman is accused and her livelihood threatened. Jo and her son's safety is being threatened.  The book takes off at a gallop and it had me repeatedly trying to guess who was fighting so desperately to hide their identity.  I never saw it coming, that is for sure.

There are a couple of things that were a little cliched.  Like repeated comments about Jo's job in real estate and how she would describe the listing whenever she walked by a house; or rehashing about the race of her partner Michael who is also Alfie's father.  One thing that confused me, at times I thought the setting was the UK and not the US.

I received this book from Penguin Random House and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  
**Amazon review submitted 6/19/19.
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Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC of The Rumor by Lesley Kara in return for my honest opinion. I loved this book. The author tells a tale about how a rumor can affect lives. Joanna and her partner Michael are searching information on Sally McGowen who stabbed and killed a five year old child years ago. The rumors that Sally may be living in her town precipitate catastrophic events. I never expected the ending! Great read!
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The theme of this book is trying to belong and the repercussions that come from that attempt.  Joanna Critchley has just moved into the small seaside town of Flinstead and really wants to fit into the local clique of moms.  In her attempt to do so, she repeats the rumor that a woman who killed a child years ago is now living in their small community.  Thus begins the fast-paced psychological thriller, with Joanna determined to find out who this woman is and a killer now set loose on her family.  Although the chapters were short which made the book easy to read, it just did not hold my attention as I thought it would.  The theme was a good one, but the way the plot developed was unbelievable and too dramatic too quickly.  There were so many characters introduced and then not developed at all, so it became a challenge to remember them all.  Although I was encouraged to continue to read just to find out who the real child killer was, I did not really enjoy the book.  I made myself finish it so I could discover this identity, but the book itself did not keep my interest.  There was too much unbelievable action, too many characters and just to much in general.  This would have made a good short story but to make it a novel did not work for me.  Too long, too dragged out, too boring at times.  I do recommend this for fans of psychological thrillers, but you need to go into the book realizing that it should have been a short story, or at best, a novella.
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The Rumor was a really good, fun, and quick read!!!   Although predictable, I enjoyed trying to figure it out and I think the end came together well.  I think Lesley Kara shows great promise.
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First, thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to read an e-galley of this book.  

Single mom, Joanna has moved back to her hometown with her young son, Alfie. Alfie was bullied in the past, and Joanna thought moving back to her home town to be closer to her Mom would be a good start over for Alfie, and Joanna would have help from her Mom with watching Alfie if she needed it. 

Joanna decided she needed to try to fit in and make some friends for Alfie, so hung around the school at drop off times to get to know some of the Moms.  One day, she hears a rumor that a lady that had killed a young boy when she was just a girl herself, is now living in their small beach community.  Joanna happens to go to a book club and repeats the gossip. It spreads like wildfire, and can't be undone. 

What happens as a result casts a long shadow on many in the community. 

I couldn't put this book down, and read it in less than 24 hours! Prepare to read late into the night!
#NetGalley  #TheRumor
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What a book! The twists and turns keep you guessing! That ending though...WHOA!!!  Thank you for the opportunity to read in advance, I enjoyed the book!
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