Cover Image: The Thorn Girl

The Thorn Girl

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Member Reviews

As a young woman gathers the odds and ends of her life growing up with her grandmother, she finds that the circumstance of her birth is not what she had always thought.  Laura Elliot gives us a community of secrets where a young woman's life is judged and her nightmarish consequences covered up by her death.  A uniquely written story where nothing is what it seems and your best option is to forget the past while you still can.  Pay close attention or you'll miss the best clues....
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In her grandmothers attic Adele Foyle stumbles across the secret diary of the mother she never met, and a shocking account of a crime committed over twenty-five years ago.

With her mother’s words etched in her mind she has one purpose: to find those who carried out the devastating attack on her mother.

An addictive emotionally charged read that I devoured in one sitting!! 

deceit, corruption , conspiracies, suspense, heartbreak, justice and a whole lot more!
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An excellent domestic thriller that stays with you long past your bedtime. Incredibly well depicted characters.  Kudos to the writer!
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OMG! WOW! I have not read Laura Elliot before so what an introduction! If THE THORN GIRL is anything to go by, I'll be looking to devouring her others!

THE THORN GIRL is a powerful story and, while it is marketed as a Mystery/Thriller, it is so much more than a suspense. It is indeed chilling and rather disturbing in parts but it was above all, a brilliant masterpiece.

It all begins with a swallow in the attic. Like a butterfly in the forest, are they just all random events or is everything connected?

Adele Foyle has returned to Ireland to clear out her late grandmother's house. Finding herself in the attic, the final room to be cleared, she stumbles upon a lifetime of memories...and a swallow fighting for freedom. It is there she comes across and old backpack with a secret diary written by her mother, who died in childbirth 24 years ago. But as Adele turns the pages, nothing could prepare her for what she is about to discover.

Marianne Mooney was 15 years old and living in Reedstown with her mother Rosemary. She and her boy friend, Shane Reagan, used to meet in a old abandoned cottage to spend some time sitting and dreaming together. But one night Shane was late leaving home...and Marianne, upon hearing the cracking of twigs and footsteps approaching, delighted in what she thought was Shane's arrival. She ran to the door in anticipation...but was met with something far more sinister. Three hooded figures wearing balaclavas pushed their way in and threw her to the floor...with Marianne powerless to stop them. Three hooded figures, faceless and fearless, took their turn with her before leaving Marianne a frightened huddled mess...which was how Shane found her, bloodied and crying.

When they reported the gang rape to the Gardai, the Sergeant dismissed her claims and throwing Shane into a cell, then forced a statement from Marianne to the contrary of what had actually taken place. She never saw Shane again.

Marianne was sent to Dublin to the Thorn House of Atonement, a mother and baby home run by the respected Gloria Thornton who was something of a martyr to a near cult-like group of believers. Conditions in the House of Atonement were nothing like the public were lead to believe. In the vein of the infamous Magdalene Laundries of decades before, the girls were forced to work tirelessly at the behest of Mother Gloria. They were shamed and thrown into "the Tank" in solitary confinement for even a slight indignity. And when it was time to give birth, their babies were snatched from them almost immediately - not even allowed to hold them, nurse them or even to see had they been a boy or a girl. Some were even told their babies had died when in fact an even greater disgrace was taking place...and the girls sent on their way.

But in Marianne's case, her baby came early...and she succumbed to the massive blood loss...leaving Adele without her mother and in the care of her grandmother Noreen.

As Adele read the shame, the pain and the heartbreak in Marianne's diary, she endeavoured to journey to Reedstown - where her mother grew up - and seek out the truth of what really happened hoping to uncover clues about the tragic event. Who were those hooded figures Marianne called the "three blind mice"? Who was her father? And why was there no investigation into her mother's horrific gang-rape?

However, upon her return, she finds that her mother and grandmother are instantly vilified and denounced shamelessly. But Adele will not let that deter her. Determined to have the truth uncovered, she publishes excerpts of her mother's diary online...which are both believed and discredited alike. She soon realised that many townsfolk are not at all happy about her investigation and they attempt to put and end to it.

Money makes the world go round...but it is enough to keep the truth hidden?

But Adele is resourceful...and determined. She will not rest until she discovers the truth. But the townsfolk are just as determined. The lengths with which they are willing to go to ensure the truth remains buried is staggering. And it seems the deeper Adele digs, the worse things become for her. Until she is forced to abandoned her investigation.

THE THORN GIRL is a heartbreaking, disturbing but incredibly fast-moving story. Once I began, I did not want to put it down! It was truly a captivating read that was both sensitive and sinister shrouded with a darkness that despite the circumstances, highlighted the heartbreaking plight of an innocent young girl whose own daughter sought the justice that was truly deserving - all in her mother's name.

What I really loved about THE THORN GIRL was the many facets of the story that were woven together throughout the various perspectives...including Marianne's diary, which gave the 15 year old a voice when she had none. The different narratives are easy to follow in which we witness differing perspectives of the same story...including their beliefs and personal feelings on the matter...some of which are almost indifferent, bordering ignorance.

There is so much more to this book than I could ever say! Your heart will ache for Adele as she searches for the truth about what really happened to her mother, to the point of putting her own life in danger. THE THORN GIRL delivers us an unrestrained story of secrets, lies and deception so toxic that have gripped an entire community for decades. But Adele will stop at nothing in her quest for justice for Marianne.

A taut and compelling tale, THE THORN GIRL is beautiful, heartbreaking, emotional, menacing, sinister, intriguing, thrilling, dark and disturbing. And yet it is still so much more. A riveting tale of secrets and lies...and a sinister tale of psychological manipulation that ended with a beautifully wrapped up finale.

What more can I say? Go out, grab yourself a copy, read it! You know you want to! You won't be disappointed!

THE THORN GIRL was previously published as "In My Mother's Name" .

I would like to thank #LauraElliot, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #TheThornGirl in exchange for an honest review.
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Adele never knew her mother, she was brought up by her grandmother in Ireland.  She has settled into a good job in London & has a loving boyfriend. Over the last few months she has been backwards & forwards to Ireland as her grandmother slowly dies. When clearing the last things out of the house where she grew up she comes across an old rucksack. Inside is a diary that belonged to Marianne, her mother. To her horror she discovers that she is the result of her mother being gang-raped at the age of fifteen! She reads of her mother's experiences at a mother & baby home, run by a religious sect calling themselves The Thorns'.

Adele goes back to the town mentioned in the diary, hoping to find the truth of these horrific experiences. She soon discovers that there are still those who remember very clearly what happened to Marianne and they have no intention of them becoming public knowledge.

This was a terrific read. Everyone has heard of the dreadful stories of the Magdalene Laundries & how they treated young girls, so this was not entirely unknown territory although the sect gave it a slightly different slant. I really enjoyed this one. Thanks to Netgalley & the publishers for letting me read & review this book.
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Adele had everything ready to leave the house where she had lived with her grandmother. She wanted to finish as soon as possible and close this chapter of her life that didn’t bring her very good memories, when something suddenly caught her attention. Of all the things that could have been, she never imagined that she would find some personal effects that had belonged to her mother and among them, her diary.

Marianne in her diary records events that occurred 24 years ago, in which was the worst time of her life. A heart-rending, detailed story with details of the places and people involved and radically changing Adele’s life.

Her grandmother barely mentioned her, no matter how many questions Adele asked her about her mother until one day she stopped asking. She thought that for her grandmother this was too painful a subject, nothing to do with what she read in the diary.

Filled with doubts about the family past and tired of lies Adele moves to Reedstown to investigate the facts told by her mother. She believes that a great injustice has been done and the time has come to bring everything to light and to repair the evil.

The Thorn Girl is a story of abuse, secrets, blackmail but there is also room for love. A very emotional, complex novel that is revealed little by little as we read. Featuring a wide range of characters and sub-plots occurring parallel to the main story.

At first it seemed a little slow. I had the feeling that I wasn’t going anywhere and I had a little trouble keeping up with so many characters that were emerging and with which I did not see very clear the connection. But little by little everything fits together and taking its place as a perfect cog.

The first impression Adele gave me was that of the typical capricious and obsessed woman capable of rewriting story as long as it matches her ideas or desires. Then I realized how wrong I was to judge her like that.
It is a very well-created character that transmits to the reader her feelings in every momento from joy to despair and helplessness. Adele is a courageous woman, with a great capacity for adaptation and who believes in herself despite having everything against her.

The Thorn Girl is unpredictable. You know how it starts, but you don’t know how it ends, and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed. With each twist of the story, everything gets much more complicated. I wasn’t able to foresee many of the most important things that took place especially in the denouement.

A compelling read with plenty of small details that requires quite a lot of attention from the reader and does not disappoint. Highly recommended.
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Laura Elliot writes a hugely engrossing and entertaining novel that deals with some serious issues in this gripping thriller full of hidden truths, menace, deceit, suspense and lies.

Before joining her fiancé for a new life abroad, Adele Foyle has one thing she needs to do-find those who carried out a devastating attack on her mother, Marianne. Born into a Mother and Baby home run by Gloria Thornton, Adele returns to Reedstown, the last place her mother, Marianne, was seen alive. 

Adele needs to first unlock the disturbing chain of events that led to her own birth if she is to understand what happened to her mother. As the news of Adele’s arrival spreads rapidly among the small close-knit community, old memories are stirring up fresh wounds. While Adele searches for the truth, she discovers more and more questions and secrets than anyone wishes to be answered or revealed. But will proving the truth put her own life in terrible danger?

Laura Elliot delivers an unrestrained and exuberant story of drama in this toxic concoction of secrets, lies and deception. Everything eventually crash-lands around Adele as she unravels the heinous events that have gripped a whole community.

The Thorn Girl is a taut, compelling and cracking story and a book that I revelled in all the way through. It brought no disappointments and everything was beautifully wrapped up in the fabulous and immensely satisfying finale. A riveting tale of menace, hostility, mistreatment, psychological manipulation and the burden of truth, I would love to read more from this gifted story-teller and I am delighted to recommend this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Bookouture via NetGalley at my request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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This is an absolutely fantastic book. I truly enjoyed how this web of lies untangles itself to see the truth. This was a quick read only because you don’t want to put it down. 

Adele raised by her grandmother is cleaning out the attic of her house after she died.  She discovers a diary from her mother who died when she was born. The diary gives her insight into Mariannes thoughts around the time Adele was born.  Adele upon reading her mother was gang raped, decides to use her journalistic gifts to investigate what happen in the small town.

Will Adele we about to unravel the mystery of her moms assault ? What will she find in this small town? Do the 3 men who did this to her mom still there?

I was given a complimentary copy. Thank you Netgalley. The thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Goodness, this is one of the best books I’ve read this year!I didn’t realise when I started to read this book just how clever the plot would be, and just how spellbinding it would be. This is more than a psychological thriller, it’s a complex and gripping story, where lies and long buried secrets emerge, and it makes for compulsive reading.

The setting of North County Dublin was perfect. I’m from that area, and there are many formerly small villages, that have now grown into suburban towns. It was easy to imagine a place like Reedstown.

The idea of the mother and baby home was an interesting twist. We’ve had such harrowing stories emerge from the Magdalene Laundries, but this is a little different, run by an alternative religion, more of a cult.

The characters are so well drawn. Not all are likeable, though I really liked Adele and Rachel, but all are so real.I really enjoyed this novel, it’s full of twists and turns, and there is a gritty element to it, but it’s beautifully told. Highly recommended.
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The Thorn Girl is a riveting story about one daughter’s search for the truth. You follow Adele as she struggles to unearth the truth about what happened to her mother. The road is paved with secrets and lies. When she gets too close to the truth, her life is in danger. Someone wants the truth to stay hidden at all costs. 

This book truly had me engaged! It is filled with suspense, sorrow, and thrilling twists. There are some dark elements to this book. Some scenes even gave me the chills. Loved it! I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what would happen next! These characters are very well written. They all had their personalities, whether good or bad that tied the story together nicely. This is the first book I’ve read from this author and it won’t be the last! A truly captivating read! I give this 5 stars.
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A beautiful story and a gripping read. I recommend this book from an excellent author. Read it now, and enjoy
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This was such a unbelievably gripping read! I haven't read any of Laura Elliot's work before and I am so happy I have discovered a superbly talented author! I loved everything about this book its emotional, gripping, shocking and enveloped in mystery and intrigue. It was so difficult to stop reading and is a real page turner.

Adele is a fantastic character, she is hell bent on finding out what happened to her mother. The circumstances surrounding her mothers brutal attack are shocking and Adele is adamant that it should not go unpunished. She has put her own life on pause in order to concentrate on her mission. She is not well received by the local people and uncovers some very nasty secrets about some of them.

She finds information and help from some unlikely places. Each time she finds out something new it reignites her desire to solve the mystery around her birth and the last time her mother was seen alive.

Laura Elliot has written a book that I would highly recommend, its one that will remain with me for a long time, thanks to her style of writing that drew me right in and had me so invested and rooting for Adele to find out the truth. I will be going back and reading her other books (as soon as I can with my ever growing TBR list!)
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Laura Elliot has woven a tightly braided story. The strands of the braid are so tightly woven that it seems as if the truth will never come to light. The unraveling starts with a swallow fluttering its wings in an attic and the constant question remains “How long is a piece of string?” Sound cryptic? The unraveling and question continue throughout the story strand by strand until the braid starts to come undone and then is redone, tightened, only to become tangled and very messy.

The tension never lifts, each section brings another gasp of rage, fear and torment. Powerful, emotional writing with characters perfectly drawn, situations so clearly described that you feel the raw emotion being described. Many important topics are found and explored in this book and the author doesn’t make excuses or shy away from exposing the devastating consequences of bullying, shaming, cultism and those with power who prey on the weak. This is all incorporated smoothly within the storyline allowing the reader to sift through the emotions that are provoked.

This book captured my undivided attention and I finished it in a day. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for an advance copy.
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This was my first time delving into a book by author Laura Elliot and it won't be my last.
A very moving story unfolded through a mother's diary.
We find out very early on about a traumatic incident this mother went through in her life.
We meet Adele, her daughter who finds her mum's diary in the attic and her story unfolds through its pages...
It leads Adele on a journey back to her mum's home town, a place called Reedstown.
Can she discover the evil people who inflicted such pain on her mother?
Soon Adele is met with opposition though...
Someone does not want her to find out what happened all those years ago....
But one woman's fight for justice for her mother will see her try to overcome the resistance she meets from this town, the secrets they wish to keep and in the process help her figure out her own life journey...
A beautiful, heartbreaking and poignant novel that will have you turning the pages with such sadness....
Well done Laura, a beautiful read....💕
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Laura Elliot is a brilliant writer. Her words broke my control, wrenched my emotions, brought it to surface, and blazed it down the path of my being. I read the book with my heart in my throat, anger choking me completely.

A daughter seeking justice for the attack on her mom 25 years ago and unmasking and bringing the perpetrators to justice. A Herculean task, I agreed. But Adele had to do it for her mother's name and wiping the dirt off it. A diary found in the attic showed the truth of what Marianne had gone through and how Adele's birth had come to be. It was all in her mother's name!!

The main character Adele was brilliant. I loved how she pieced one clue at a time and used her quiet demeanor in getting what she wanted. I supported her, cheered for her, prodded her on as she went about the investigation. She was sure and determined. Perils flogged her footsteps, but she carried on. She moved ahead with the investigation, all in her mother's name!!

The plot had various twists, everything seemed blurred. I liked how the author showed how the human nature was. People hated seeing their images in the mirror, truth was deliberately kept hidden. Each chapter made me take shallower breaths, as they showed me the mother's story. Adele went through it all in her mother's name!!

The small town which hid its secrets was well described. The aura was so dark and atmospheric that it had me immersed in the story. Adele was the beacon of light in such a town, all in her mother's name.

A sensitive captivating read filled with darkness and religious belief amongst the rich, showing the plight of an innocent woman who was given justice by her daughter who did everything, all in her mother's name.
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This book is one of my favorites of the year. I finished it in two days. I could not put this book down. This book has so many twists and turns. This book starts with Adele cleaning out Her grand mothers attic after he passing. While cleaning up she finds a backpack with a diary. This diary belonged to Marianne her mother who died during childbirth. She starts to read her mothers diary and finds out her mom was gang rapped which lead to her pregnancy with Adele. Adele starts her mission to find out who her father is and to bring justice to her mother.

This book keeps you guessing and keeps you so hooked on the story.
I now want to read all of Laura Elliots books.
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In My Mother's Name made me think I was immersed in a podcast, it just kept unfolding and getting curiouser and curiouser. I have to admit Laura Elliot kept me reading well into the night.  There are sensitive topics explored, secrets and lies uncovered and difficult subjects addressed. This novel is not for the faint hearted. The twists and turns are plentiful and the pacing fast.  I appreciate the complexity of the character profiles and that the secondary characters, even the town, were detailed and layered. I would definitely read more form Laura Elliot.
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
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I absolutely loved this book. It was fast paced, unusual, emotional and full of historical intrigue which I loved. This combination of genres was really unique and kept me hooked throughout. 

Adele was such a great character. She was determined, passionate, and full of love. I really liked her connection with her mother, despite never having met her. I thought that the brief flashbacks with Marianne, via her diary, really worked as they helped to connect both Adele and the reader with Marianne. 

The plot was easy to follow and yet full of action. There was both the present and the past to understand, but the writing is so clear that it kept me hooked the whole time. It started off with a brilliantly sudden and shocking beginning and to be honest, it ended the same way. 

I would definitely recommend this for someone who wants a book with great characters, a story full of intrigue and a blend of some of the best genres.
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A brilliantly written; emotional journey of a woman trying to find out the truth about her mother.

"A swallow in an attic, a strand of hair tangled in an engagement ring, a smoking chimney: all insignificant in their own right until fate arranged them like dominoes and allowed them to fall."

Adele Foyle never knew her mother and was brought up by her grandmother. After her grandmother's death she cleans out her house and attic and here she discovers a diary that belonged to her mother. Her life falls apart when she starts reading it and discovers that her mother was gang raped by three men and one of them is her father. Who were the three blind mice? Determined to find out more she desides to return to the town her mother grew up in and look into the circumstances of her rape and death. And to find her father. What happened at the House of Atonement her mother was send to and why can't she find anything about her mother and grandmother in the archives. She is determined to find out the truth but there are people even more determined to stop her in her tracks. 

About three quarters through the book I was a bit worried that all has been revealed but then the author throws a curveball that you dont see coming!

A very entertaining read and I will definitely try more books from this author. 

Thank you to #netgalley and #bookouture for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I adore this author's books and this one was no exception. In fact, the sharp writing, the believable characters, the tense, pacy tale which also packed an emotional punch make this in my opinion her best book so far, and that's saying something as all of her books so far have raised the bar. This book made me think and question, ponder the motives and the actions of the characters. This is a story that will stay with me for a very long time. A masterpiece of astute plotting and carefully timed revelations, mixing suspense and emotion seamlessly and to great effect.  A book for everyone. Just brilliant.
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