Traces of Her

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Member Reviews

When I first read the synopsis I knew this was a book for me and it didn't disappoint.  The story goes between the past and present day and is narrated by three characters; the first Ava, the second Rose and the mysterious other who pops up less frequently but obviously holds the key to the mystery of the deceased sisters.

Ava's story begins in the year 2001.  She belongs to a dysfunctional family and idolises/envies her older sister.  Her older brother has left and is living in Australia, her Father too has left and her mother is cold and unforgiving.  Ava finds herself pregnant at the age of 17 which doesn't bode well with her mother.  

Rose's story begins in present day.  She receives a message from her step sister Willow, who she adores.  Willow is in Cornwall looking to find clues about her birth mother, who died when she was a toddler.  She sends Rose photographs of four men who she thinks could be responsible for her mother's death and asks Rose to come to Cornwall.  However, when Rose arrives there is no sign of Willow apart from her jacket which is left upstairs in a bedroom.  Rose continues to search for Willow and get drawn into finding the truth about Willow's birth mother.     

I loved hearing Ava's story and the lead up to her sister's wedding as from the onset you know how the night ends.  I was caught up in the events of Ava's life and felt sympathetic towards her.  There is such a contrast between Ava and her sister and you wonder how the pair could even be related.  

Rose on the other hand I found hard to have any feelings towards.  She was just a vehicle for bringing the story and past events to a closure.  Rose's own life was quite dysfunctional and that was the only saving grace for me.  

There were lots of twists and some shocks along the way which allowed me to never drop my guard when reading.  With the host of colourful characters I never quite knew who to trust and what information would turn out vital to the plot.  Although I thought I had predicted a few things along the way I hadn't gauged everything accurately which added to my overall enjoyment of the novel.  

The climax to the ending was a little far fetched but I forgave Amanda Brittany for this as she managed through Ava, to wrap things up neatly and allowed that element of hope I'd been clinging on to to evolve.    

A very big thank you to Netgalley, HQ Digital and Amanda Brittany for this enjoyable thriller which I will definitely recommend to family and friends.
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This is the perfect commute book- it has short chapters, with the  rapidly moving plot alternating between the present day and the time of the murders. It has clearly drawn , frequently unpleasant, characters and plenty of twists and red herrings to make you look forward to continue reading it on the journey home. I had most of the male characters on my 'suspect' list during the course of the novel!

This is quite a dark and unsettling psychological thriller, I'm not sure that I would have stayed in Cornwall in the same circumstances, with some of the events that occur! Ultimately it was satisfying that the many loose ends were tied up, on top of a final unforeseen twist. 

I wasn't quite sure what Rose's partner added to the story, nor did I feel that there was need for mention of Becky's eating issues, which was an unnecessary distraction. I suspect it is a concern the author wants to tackle, but maybe that's something for a different novel?  Neither of these points, however, stopped me wanting to keep reading to find out 'who did it?'
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🚨 🚨 Review In Coming❗️❗️🚨🚨
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Thanks to @netgalley and HarperCollins Publishers for granting me this ARC of Traces of Her by Amanda Brittany📖 a month or so ago because WOW❗️❗️
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4.5 💫 if I were a star giving gal 🤷🏽‍♀️
And why 4.5 you ask⁉️
Basically because I rarely if EVER give a book 5 💫’s—it’d have to be REVOLUTIONARY and blow my mind🤯— not because I am some huge entity in the land of academia, more so, I’m a grumpy curmudgeon… Yes I just said curmudgeon...ENOUGH SAID😒
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This is the month of thrillers and I’ve been reading across the mystery and thriller genre for so long, often they blend together and become sort of BLAH😒 
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Ya feel me⁉️🙋🏻‍♀️
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So in a pool 🏊‍♀️ of lots of the SAME, this was mindfully suspenseful, fun, and twisty- to the point of finishing in a couple hours because ya girl was HOOKED🎣
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The fast pace is one I like...no slow burn—-total page 📝turner (each having their rightful place) that kept me intrigued and becoming my own super sleuth🔍...And isn’t that the hallmark of a good mystery— One in which you find yourself playing BOTH the position of detective AND criminal⁉️
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And for once the female leads didn’t completely annoy me—-while not ALL fully developed, ALL were completely likable🤝
I’m completely OK with that in this case; some mysteries like this one do not require ALL fully developed characters—only the necessary ones, which Brittany did suitably✍🏾
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We follow Rose NOW versus Ava THEN. From the onset we know Ava has been murdered 🔪 and I’m a total fan of dueling perspectives both of people and time  ⏰ 
As we see Ava in the past and working her way forward to the time of her death, we follow Rose 🌹 working her way backward from the present until the two meet on the timeline 🕰  culminating in the great REVEAL
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While not completely out of left field, there was plenty of SURPRISE to keep it interesting the whole way through——so for me = SATISFYING and FUN
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A complete great read to refresh yourself if you’ve found a slump like me🤜🏽🤛🏽
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And exciting❗️❗️Traces of Her comes out this week October 25th, so get you a copy duh🙄 so you’re not caught SNOOZIN’ because then you know you’d be LOSIN’ 

IG Handle: Janicedoesbooks
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A good psychological thriller, I enjoyed reading this book, I did get a little muddled with so many characters at times, but the overall story is very good. Well plotted well laid out. Told in a dual timeline, Ava from the past and Rose from the present. Rose is a headmistress living in Hertfordshire.  She is used to her stepsister Willow  disappearing, so has thought nothing of not hearing from her for a month. But when Willow does call, she sounds different, desperate. She is staying in a cottage in Cornwall and wants Rose to come and help her, she thinks she has found the person who killed her mother years ago. Rose also receives 4 photos of different men sent to her by Willow.

Rose and her daughter Becky drive down to Cornwall but when they reach the cottage Willow is nowhere to be found, Rose knows she wouldn’t have left, not with knowing that Rose was coming to her. Where is Willow? 

So Rose starts looking for the men in the photographs to see if she can find where Willow is, and to gauge their reactions. Rose’s anxiety and paranoia at times, just ramps up the tension, keeping you turning the pages. It turns out Ava, Willows mum was full of secrets. She had had numerous relationships with different men. Rory, Peter, and Maxen which really makes them all suspects. Rory has a past history of being abusive and violent, so he has to be in the mix as main suspect, but then just as you think you are figuring things out along comes Gail, Rory’s wife. There are so many twists and turns in this story it makes you dizzy.

There are characters who aren’t what they say they are. The story is quite complex and involves a totally dysfunctional family, to say the least. With many secrets and lies. 

If you like a psychological thriller with a twist at the end you won’t see coming then grab this book for a read. You may guess who the killer is or you may not. Depends how much of a detective you are.

I found the beginning a little slow, but once I got into the story it was fairly fast paced. There were characters I liked, and some I just didn’t. There a couple of bits that you actually thought why would you do that there’s a killer on the loose and you do that, really!

Overall a good read thank you to #netgalley and #HQdigital for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
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After not hearing from her younger stepsister for over a month, Rose is surprised when she gets a call from Willow out of the blue. But something seems off—Willow sounds desperate and she asks Rose to come visit her and help her. So as any big sister would, Rose heads off to the cottage Willow is staying in, but when she arrives, Willow is nowhere to be found. It’s like she just vanished out of nowhere. And as Rose looks into what Willow was doing before her disappearance, she discovers Willow was looking into the murders of two women who died almost two decades earlier.

Rose knows that her sister didn’t just pick up and leave, especially when she was expecting Rose’s company. And now Rose must uncover a nearly a twenty year old mystery in order to find Willow, before it’s too late…

Traces of Her by Amanda Brittany is a dual-timeline mystery about sisterhood and the danger of trusting those closest to you. This story had a solid plot and the premise intrigued me. I love stories that have a current and past mystery and you’re trying to discover how the two intersect. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters or compelled to continue reading the story. This was a run-of-the-mill mystery, but still worth the read if the premise at all intrigues you! 3/5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, HQ and Amanda Brittany for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I picked this up twice and just could not get into the story or the characters. Rose in particular was really difficult for me to connect with and is the main reason I didn't finish it. I also found the time lines confusing and in general don't connect well with stories that use that approach. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC for review.
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I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately, a combination of brain-fade and working silly hours, so I was going to need a good book to drag me out of that slump and into the word-world again – and this was it. 

If you’re not familiar with Amanda Brittany’s work, you should be – she writes twisty-turny thrillers that keep you longing for ‘just one more chapter’ well into the night. 

Set against the backdrop of Hertfordshire, Traces of Her follows the story of Rose and her stepsister Willow. When Willow disappears, it’s left for Rose to decipher the clues and work out what went on along the way. While it’s usual for Willow to vanish for days at a time, this time something’s different – she thinks she’s found clues to an unsolved murder, putting her in the firing line of danger. 

Perfectly suspenseful, a delicious cast of characters in Ava, Rory, Maxen, and Peter keep this read kicking along at lightning pace. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled and wits about you, because you will not see that twist coming.
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This is a very confusing read, set in two time periods past and present. I personally feel as though I have read a book of two halves. So many characters I didn't know where I was so plenty of rereading. I gave up once but I thought I owed it to the author so I persevered. I am sure other readers will enjoy it more just not for me. 
I would like to thank the author, publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.
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The plot is good with some unexpected twists. There was a lot of switching between the past and the now. I'd have liked it if the chapters about the past were more details. Now frequently a lot of time was skipped. There were so many characters, which made it tricky to keep track of who is who. Overal is was a good read.
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3 Stars

"Traces of her" is my first book by Amanda Brittany.  If you like domestic suspense/thrillers, this book is definitely for you. It kept me guessing till the very end. It’s got some great twists and turns, it makes you think.
Rose isn't surprised by the sudden disappearance of her always unreliable sister Willow. 
Well the story is quite complex and revolves around a fairly dysfunctional family that have a past of lies, secrets and the usual, oh and a family wedding where 2 sisters died!
One of the dead sisters daughters is now on the trail of the man she thinks was responsible for the murders, she has 5 or so to choose from and her adopted family receive a call from her to ‘come to Cornwall now and help me’, they do and the book then goes from present to past and you start to piece together just how deep and unresolved the past. 
There are a lot of characters in the book and at times it lost me.
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Good story, strong plot, some unexpected twists, turns and revelations and a rum cast of characters with a writing style that wasn’t my favourite!
So how to review this one then?
Well the story is quite complex and revolves around a fairly dysfunctional family that have a past of lies, secrets and the usual, oh and a family wedding where 2 sisters died!
One of the dead sisters daughters is now on the trail  of the man she thinks was responsible for the murders, she has 5 or so to choose from and her adopted family receive a call from her to ‘come to Cornwall now and help me’, they do and the book then goes from present to past and you start to piece together just how deep and unresolved the past is, to all of them, victims, crim’s, adopted, natural, half and quarter, old, new and those inbetween
There are a LOT of people in the book and at times it lost me and I found myself wandering off while still reading and wondering if was having Nando’s tonight etc, but once reigned myself back in and had a break was able to get back into it
Now the writing style for me was clunky at times, and also at times kinda ‘he said’ then ‘she said’ and also phrases were used by characters that just didn’t suit them
as they were being portrayed,I found the past sections of the book much more to my liking in that respect than the present 
BUT you know I did read it in a day, it did get exciting, as said the plot was good and the ending quite shockingly dark sooooo unusually for me its like a book of 2 halves, yet am still glad read it
6/10
3 Stars
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Mind Blown! Those are the best words to describe this book! When Rose's step-sister, Willow disappears it's nothing new. Willow then sends Rose a package with photos of suspects in a cold case. Then Willow disappears without a trace and Rose rushes to pick up where Willow left off. As Rose follows the trail it is clear that someone doesn't want her asking questions. Can Rose figure out what happened before it's too late?

Again I will say mind blown! A psychological thriller that leaves you stunned. There is a lot of build up in the book but I promise it is worth it. The build up in long but not so long that you start to get bored. I thought I had it figured out and I will say I wasn't even close! I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good guessing game. I can't wait to read more by Amanda Brittany!

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for a chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Ava is seventeen when she has her daughter, Willow. She still lives with her mother and sister and her brother Justin.
Willow is the center of her life. Justin is also very close to Willow, watching her while her mum is at work.
Ava's sister is getting married soon to her fiancee Rory. Ava will be a bridesmaid, and wear a yellow dress.
Just before the wedding, Ava is drugged and raped. She goes into a deep depression. Justin continues to care for Willow. Ava knows she was drugged and raped but she doesn't know by who.
Then Ava and her sister are both found dead right after the wedding. Ava's body is never found. It looks like Het sister killed Ava and then herself. Years later the murders are still not solved. There are too many questions. Willow was adopted out as a young child. Now she is trying to solve who murdered her mother. Someone out there doesn't want the crime solved and will do anything to stop her. Including murder.
Intriguing! Keeps you guessing right up to the very end.
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I really enjoyed this book. As a thriller lover, this story kept me guessing until the very end. I was a little confused in the early pages, trying to keep track of all the characters, but after a few flashback stories, I had it all nailed down. I truly felt for Ava and adored how much she loved her daughter Willow. This story was definitely heart wrenching at times and I seriously wanted to shake both her mother and sister to understand their incredible cruelty. While the end was a surprise, it also requires a little bit of extended imagination. While it’s not exactly realistic, the outcome is certainly possible, overall, I really enjoyed the constant twists and turns. Overall. A really great thriller!
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“Dear Rose,
I’m sending you these photos because one of these men killed my mother eighteen years ago. Her name as Ava Millar. I’ve been asking questions, and now someone is hanging around the cottage. They want me to leave, but I’m not giving up. I’ll explain everything when you arrive. But Rose-if anything happens to me, please keep digging until you find to truth. 
Love Willow x
“

I enjoyed this murder mystery novel. I rated this book a 3/5, and the reason I didn’t rate it a 4, was because it didn’t have as many twists and shocking circumstances as other murder mystery novels I have read. That being said, even though I had guessed who the culprit was, the book was well-written, and kept me guessing and waiting until the very last page. I always judge a book by its ability to keep me hooked, and I managed to read this novel on my three hour train journey back to university.


Even though I was tempted to rate this book a 4, my biggest issue with the novel was the fact that I had guessed the culprit by the time I was halfway through the novel. I love to be kept on my toes, and even if I am presented with all the facts, prefer to not be able to guess the culprit until they are found out by the rest of the characters. Brittany writes the mystery well; however, considering it is my favourite genre to read, I noted all of the clues and hints that she was feeding to me as a reader through the narrative. Personally, I would have preferred if these were a little harder to piece together; however, if a reader was either new to the genre, or not as picky as I tend to be, I would have no doubt that this book would have been thoroughly enjoyed.


I was really fascinated by the use of narrative time shifts, where Brittany shifted between different characters’ perspectives, as well as from the time of the murder, as well as from the present day. It provided a unique insight into the different characters’ thoughts, feelings and motives, and it had me gripped. Although I had figured out the culprit, there were still parts to the story that I did not know, and occurrences that I wasn’t aware of, meaning that there were still twists that I wasn’t prepared for.


“Let’s try to piece it all together, shall we? Think like Sherlock.
“

Overall, I did enjoy this book, and I am sure it will be enjoyed by others. I really struggled with whether or not to rate this a 3 or 4 out of 5, so I had to compare it against other murder mystery novels that I had enjoyed at rated a 4. As a result, I had to rate it a 3, but I am positive that other readers will devour and engage with this book, and be entertained by it for hours.
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I devoured this book in a matter of hours. I couldn’t put it down, I had to find out what was coming next. The suspense throughout had me on the edge of my seat and it’s a constant page turner. I can’t wait to read more by this author. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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“Traces of Her” is my first Amanda Brittany read and I was surprised to learn it is not her debut novel. The story itself follows the aftermath of a woman’s murder—in one perspective, Ava, the victim, shares the events leading up to her death and in another, Rose, the step-sister of Ava’s daughter Willow, articulates her search for Willow once she disappears while searching for answers regarding her mother’s murder. There are plenty of twists in the last quarter of the novel, and while some were obvious, the author did a good job of executing them convincingly.

My gripes with this novel exist in the writing. I found it difficult to feel connected to the characters, especially Rose’s teenage daughter Becky, as most of their development came in the form of vague dialogue. I got a sense of “telling not showing” when it came to their descriptions and felt the author often spelled out characters’ motivations, breaking the natural flow of the scene. In general, I felt the plot relied too heavily on dialogue that felt unnatural and forced. The same plot elements could have been revealed succinctly in a dedicated paragraph. It should be noted that I am not the biggest fan of dialogue-heavy works, though, as I find it difficult to connect to the story when I can’t buy that the character actually said their given line, and I had many of those moments with this book. Oh, and there were a few clichés I couldn’t ignore—most notably “I cut in . . . hoping to prevent World War III”. Admittedly, I’m left with some questions that, if fleshed out, would make “Traces of Her” stand out amongst similar titles this season. I found it difficult to continue reading at some points, but powered through Becky's "OMG"s to avoid DTR-ing.

All in all, “Traces of Her” is interesting story and a quick read, and I am interested in checking out other works by Amanda Brittany to see how they compare, both in story and in composition. This writing style did not work for me so I won't be recommending the title.
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Thank-you to NetGalley, HQ Digital and Amanda Brittany for allowing me to read an advanced copy of Traces of Her in exchange for an honest review. 

Review to come.
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Traces Of Her by Amanda Brittany is a fabulous heart racing contemporary psychological suspense. I was intrigued and glued from the start.
The novel is very cleverly constructed drawing the reader in immediately. It is set in 2001 and present day, from alternating points of view in the first person. As we ‘hear’ different voices, we know who they all are except one. I was gripped and guessing as to who this was, but failed in my attempts.
A cold case murder comes alive as a daughter searches to solve who killed her mum when she was young. She travels to Cornwall and unleashes a can of worms.
Family is important. Love binds members together. Twisted love blows relationships apart. A mother’s love is fiercely protective.
There is the theme of control. Control may be exercised in a number of ways but it is never good.
Obsession is a dangerous thing. When an obsession takes over, there are disastrous results.
Traces Of Her was an exciting read. I failed to predict the outcome as I read greedily towards the end with my heart racing. I look forward to reading more by Amanda Brittany.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
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I really liked the cover. It is very appealing designed. The writing style is pleasant and very fluently to read. The characters are very well described and look well thought out and consistently interesting. The tension is always present. The descriptions of surroundings, feelings and scenes were also very good. The story is told pleasant and it succeeds from the first pages to dive directly into the story. The storyline as a whole is very coherent and it seems very understandable and authentic. A very fascinating story that you won't like to stop reading.
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