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The Stepson

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Member Reviews

★★★★ 4.5 stars

Who do you believe...and who do you trust...?

It's 3.25am when Lorraine receives a phone call from her frantic mum. The words she utters at first she thinks the result of a few drinks to drown her depression after the tragic loss off her dad, Henry. But long after she's hung up, those words continue to circle her mind until she has worked herself up into a worry. But she can't just drop everything to go see if her mum's alright as there is no one to look after the children. So she will have to wait till morning. But as soon as she's dropped Sophia off, she'll be round at her mum's to check that she's ok...that all is well.

Only when she gets there five hours later, there is no sign of her mum. The house is in silence, the curtains still drawn, the bed has not been slept in. Her mother's handbag complete with her purse and her keys are still beside the lounge. Only her phone is missing. As is her mum. And as a cold dread fills her, Lorraine recalls those chilling words her mum uttered in the wee hours in a frightened whisper...

"Your dad was first. Now it's me. I'm so scared, but mostly for you and the children. Because once I'm gone, you'll be next."

After searching her mother's house, Lorraine goes to the police station to report her as missing. Only she's and adult and has only been gone for a few hours. She could be anywhere and be home at any moment. But Lorraine tries to impress on the man at the desk the importance of the situation. Her mother has no one. She wouldn't just disappear without telling her. Nor did she have anywhere to go. All Sandra had was Lorraine and the children. But there was nothing they could do unless her mother was deemed vulnerable. Was she vulnerable? She wasn't sure. The kindly man assured her that her mother will probably be back in no time and wonder what all the fuss was about, but if not, to return after seventy two hours...or was it forty eight hours? Lorraine can't remember. All she knows is that her mum is missing and some garbled message in the middle of the night that barely made any sense.

A return to her mum's house has her searching for answers and it comes in the form of her mum's kindly neighbour Mrs Tindall. Lorraine didn't really have time to stop and chat but Mrs Tindall was a lonely old woman and it wouldn't hurt. But little did she know that Mrs Tindall held the key to a Pandora's box and, while not a wealth of information, it was a start. She had in her possession letters written to her father over the years which he had hidden on their property, away from her mother who would go spare if got wind of it. The letters were from her father's son, Trevor. Which means he was Lorraine's half brother. A half brother she knew nothing about. Thanking Mrs Tindall, she took the letters home and poured over their contents, her eyes brimming with tears at the pleading tone. This poor boy. All he had been through. Why did her parents not give him a home?

It seems that's not all they didn't tell her as her quest for answers sends her on a three hour round trip to Liverpool and an aunt she barely remembers from her childhood, her dad's younger sister. Aunt Caroline fills in the blanks that have evaded Lorraine for thirty years...a whole life she knew nothing about.

But the question remains, where is her mother? And how much of the past has to do with her disappearance?

THE STEPSON is an entertaining, though at times heartbreaking, domestic suspense that had me turning the pages to find out what happened to Sandra. The story cleverly unfolds in the past and present narratives giving the reader a clear picture of events and how each of the threads entwined. There were so many secrets and plenty of deception which were slowly stripped away to reveal the truth. And what an ugly truth it was.

Quite honestly, I didn't like Sandra. Yes, she probably suffered from post natal pychosis as she was clearly delusional and irrational but that continued throughout the years and she was utterly horrible to poor old hen-pecked Henry. Whether she had good cause or not to make such demands, they were not her decisions to make and those she made were amidst the irrational fog of delusion. As for Trevor, I actually felt sorry for him. I wanted him to make it good, to turn his life around and never look back. No child should have had to endure what he had to. Nor should any child be used as a pawn in their parent's disputes.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story far more than the author's previous one and so glad I requested it. It was addictive, compelling and thoroughly entertaining. A good solid read.

I would like to thank #DianeSaxon, #Netgalley and #BoldwoodBooks for an ARC of #TheStepson in exchange for an honest review.

This review appears on my blog at

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The Stepson was a great read. It was full of twists and turns, secrets and lies and I was totally hooked from start to finish.

Thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for my ARC.

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When Lorraine gets a frantic phone call from her mother in the middle of the night, her entire world gets turned upside down. Following the disturbing phone call, she can’t find her mother anywhere. She starts investigating the disappearance and discovers that her family has been keeping secrets from her …

I really liked this story. A suspenseful race against the clock story is something I always enjoy and this one was no different. This book has a lot of things that I like in a book: flawed characters who aren’t always likeable, a bad guy that you (sometimes) feel sympathetic too, a family history that is not at all what you expect ….

I was really invested in the story and could not put the book down until I knew what had happened. Sometimes I felt like certain parts were dragging on for too long and that is why I gave it 4 stars. But other than that, I really liked it.

I had never read a book by Diane Saxon before, but I have added her to my list of go to thriller-authors.

Thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for the ARC of this book!

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I think if be freaking right or if my mum phoned me in that kinda state, specially now I'm living on the mainland.

Now that's what you call a plot! It was brilliant, well written, addictive and oh, so twisty. The suspense didn't let up and by the end I was a bag of nerves. It's narrated from two POV across different timelines and is full of family secrets and lies.

What would you do if you found out your parents had lied to you for your entire life?

The Stepson is definitely one I wouldn't hesitate in recommending.

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2.5 stars

Unfortunately, this book did nothing for me. I didn't think the plot went anywhere, all the characters were unlikable. I was expecting a thriller, and it would be unfair to put this book in that genre.

I think if the plot had more substance, surprise, suspense then the book would have great, as i really liked Saxon's writing style.

Im going to give Saxon another try, due to liking the writing, and hope the plot is more intriguing.

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Wow that book was a crazy rollercoaster, and another triumph by the wonderful Diane. I had a constant feeling of unease and struggled to trust anyone. The twists made it impossible to stop reading. If you like dark domestic thrillers this is so perfect.

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first Diane Saxon book, and it won't be my last.
I see Saxon's books regularly around social media and really wanted to try one, so when I was invited to the blog tour for her latest one, I couldn't miss the chance! I can really see why she is so well liked amongst thriller fans.
This was a tense, gripping read that didn't let up through the whole book. There is constant drama to keep the readers turning the pages, and this makes for a very enjoyable read!
The characters were fabulously written and complex too.
All in all, a brilliant read.

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The Stepson is the latest novel by author Diane Saxon. Diane previously wrote romantic fiction for the US market but has now turned to write psychological crime.

The Stepson is taut with suspense that keeps you hooked from the very first page until the last. It’s full of so many secrets that Diane weaves wonderfully into the story letting the writer peel back the layers of all the characters.

A twisty and absolutely addictive read that is impossible to put down as you keep telling yourself. just one more page.

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Reading Between the Wines book review #73/115 for 2023:
Rating: 3 ½ 🍷 🍷 🍷
Book: The Stepson
Author: Diane Saxon
Available now! Released on June 19, 2023!!!

Sipping thoughts: Talk about lies, deceit and confusion. I kept going back in forth in who to believe and who was guilty. I was very surprised with what happen to Lorraine’s mother and what she had done in the past leading up to her disappearance. I enjoyed the multiple POV’s and hearing how things happened in their eyes. This is a story about family and love and what you will do for those you love.

Cheers and thank you to @NetGalley and @BoldwoodBooks for an advanced copy of @TheStepson.
#TheStepson #DianeSaxon #BoldwoodsBooks #NetGalley #advancedreadercopy #ARC #Kindle #Booksofinstagram #readersofinstagram #bookstagram #nicoles_bookcellar #bookworm #bookdragon #booknerd #booklover #bookstagrammer #bookaholic #bookreview #bookreviewer #IHaveNoShelfControl #ReadingBetweenTheWines #fiction #thriller #suspense #mystery #MysteryAndThrillers #GeneralFictionAdult

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‘The Stepson’ is a brilliant page-turner of a thriller that is packed full of suspense and kept me up reading to the wee hours! Despite following Diane on social media and seeing her books everywhere this is the first book of hers that I have read and it did not disappoint. I was gripped from the get-go and I certainly will be keeping an eye out to see what she gets up to next.

When you whole life becomes a lie how will you cope?! When Sandra calls her daughter at 3am in a panic Lorraine knows something is really wrong. But she can't leave her children to check up on her mum and when she gets to her house the next morning her mum is nowhere to be seen. The police tell her to give it a few days as she might just be taking a break but Lorraine knows that her Mum wouldn't do that without telling her. Or does she? As Lorraine digs deeper she finds out secrets that mean her whole life has been a lie. Who can she trust now? And who is this brother she never knew about…

I really enjoyed this in-depth look at family life and the divides and secrets that hide within it. I was fascinated by Trevor, the brother Lorraine never knew about. I felt a lot of empathy towards him as you gradually learn about his fractured childhood, life in prison and desperate attempts to be accepted into a family that will love him. But with a thriller you know nothing is as it seems and the reveals with this one are very satisfying! Diane manages to write complex and intriguing characters and that encouraged me to fly through this book. It was a gripping and entertaining read!

Let me know if you pick it up!

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Review for 'The Stepson' by Diane Saxon.

Read and reviewed via NetGalley for Diane Saxon, Boldwood, Book & Tonic and Rachel's Random Book Tours .

Publication date 19th June 2023

This is the first book I have read by this author.

I was originally drawn to this book by its eye catching cover and intriguing sounding synopsis and title. I must admit I was also biased due to the publisher being Boldwood/ Book & Tonic. I have yet to read a book published by Boldwood/ Book & Tonic that I haven't enjoyed. Hopefully this won't be the first... Watch this space! (Written before I started reading the book.

This novel consists of a Prologue, 35 chapters and an epilogue. The chapters are short in length so easy to read 'just one more chapter' before bed...OK, I know yeah right, but still just in case!

This book is based in Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿, UK 🇬🇧. I always enjoy when books are set in the UK as I'm from Wales and have sometimes visited areas mentioned in the book. This makes it easier to picture where the scenes are set at times. I have in fact visited and holidayed in Scofland on many occasions including this year and next year again so am looking forward to possibly recognising name places.

This book is written in third person perspective and the main protagonists are Carol Jardine, Lulu Clyde and Maggie. The benefits of third person perspective with multiple protagonists are that it let's you see the bigger picture of what's going on and you get to know more characters more, what they are thinking and what they are doing. It feels like you get to see the whole picture and not miss out in anything.

Absolutely loved this fast paced, gritty and unputdownable psychological thriller filled with emotions and secrets!!!

This book is fantastically written with vivid descriptions that absolutely grip the readers attention and puts them right in the middle of it all making your heart pound and you constantly second guessing.

A huge success by Diane!!! This may be the first book I have read by this fantastic author but it most certainly wil not be my last and I've already added all the rest of her books to my Amazon wish list. This book had me hook, line and sinker from the first page and I could not put it down!!! Every time I said one more chapter it ended on a cliffhanger and I just had to know what was going on!!! This kept on happened over and over until before I knew it I had devoured the whole book in one sitting!! If you are going to read this then clear your day because it is truly unputdownable. I started this this morning and finished it at approx 2pm, reading it in one sitting. This is one of those fascinating books that will have you questioning the characters and yourself throughout!!! You have no idea who to believe and if any other of them can be trusted!!! Sandra Leivesley is petrified after seeing a car pulling into her drive at 3am. She phones her daughter Lorraine telling Lorraine that she is in danger. Lorraine doesn't know what to do and isn't even sure if her mother is drunk because what she told Lorraine can't be true as Lorraine doesn't have a brother? Does she? Lorraine sorts her children out and then goes to visit her mum to find she isn't there. She calls the police but they aren't taking her seriously. This story is very cleverly written with multiple timelines and multiple protagonists giving the reader plenty of background information and insight to make up their own minds about what is going on without giving too much away. Where is Sandra? Is Lorraine and her family safe? Does she have a brother or did she misunderstand her mum? If you want the answers to these questions and many more then you'll just have to grab your copy of this superb page turner today!!!It is ram packed with twists, turns and surprises you'll never see coming. I definitely didn't and I have read hundreds of crime and psychological books so a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS Diane!!! It is getting harder and harder to surprise me but you managed it in this successful, chilling and page turning psychological thriller!!! Grab your copy and jump on the rollercoaster ride of secrets, family, suspense, chills, twists, thrills, mystery and everything you could ask for in an epic page turner!!! Diane's fantastic and evocative writing skills ensures you are sucked into the lives of the characters feeling your heart pounding and the hair on your arms raise. This book is rammed with suspense and tension and will keep you biting your nails, on the edge of your seat with your heart pounding while your flipping the pages because you just cant stop. I loved the fantastic ending that left me wanting to pick up more of Diane's books and get stuck straight in.

It is set over multiple time lines. When books show what has happened in the past and what is happening in the present I find it really helps the reader (if it is well done) understand why things are happening and what has lead to the present activities and decisions. It also shows the bigger picture

This may be the first book I have read by this very talented author but it most certainly won't be the last and I cannot wait to get stuck into more of her previous and future books!!!

The authors evocative writing skills brings each of the characters to life and leaves you feeling that you are standing next to them as their story unfolds and lives start to tumble around them. Each of the characters were realistic, well rounded and strong characters which makes it a realistic read. All the characters were strong and realistic as well as hiding their own secrets. I was completely invested in each and every one of them. Although many were flawed as well as unlikeable this made them all the more realistic!!! It is rare for me to become so invested in unlikeable characters but the storyline was so addictive i just could not put it down!!!! There were flaws, secrets and so much more you have no idea who to trust and what the truth really is!!! Diane makes you question each and every one of the characters throughout!!! I don't want to risk saying more about how I felt about the characters as I don't want to give anything away to future readers but I will say that I was annoyed, angry, upset, disappointed at the different ones for many different reasons!! Regardless of whether you love them or hate them they each played their parts perfectly!!!

Make sure you read to the very end of the book to read the prologue and first chapter of Diane's 'No Place Like Home' which promises to be just as addictive as this book and is one I'm definitely looking forward to reading myself!!

Overall an addictive and gripping emotional rollercoaster of secrets, family, suspense, tension and everything you could want in a gripping thriller!!

Genres covered in this novel include Coming Of Age Fiction, Fiction Mashups, Noir Crime, Women's Psychological Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Literary Fiction, Suspense Thriller, Psychological Literary Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Noir Fiction, Womens Psychological, Domestic Thriller, Thriller, Mystery ,Thriller & Suspense Literary Fiction, Psychological Suspense, Domestic Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Suspense Thriller and Thriller amongst others.

I would recommend this book to the fans of the above as well as fans of 'Gone Girl', 'The Wife Between Us', 'The Woman in the Window', 'The Girl on the Train' ,Lisa Jewell, ,Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn , Freida McFadden, K.L Slater, Daniel Hurst. Shari Lapeni, 'The Wife Between Us', 'The Housemaid' aand anyone who loves a book filled with suspense and surprises!!

376 pages.

This book is just 99p to purchase on kindle, free with kindle unlimited and £10.99 in paperback via Amazon which I think is an absolute bargain for this book!!!

Rated 5/5 (I LOVED it ) on Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon UK and Amazon US and on over 30 Facebook pages plus my blog on Facebook.

Feel free to add me on Goodreads or follow me on my website or Facebook for more reviews

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@TheStepson @DianeSaxon @BoldwoodBooks @BoldwoodBloggers @BookAndTonic @RachelsRandomResources @rararesources @Bookworm1986 @bookworm86 @Bookworm1986 @bookworm86 @Goodreads @Amazon @AmazonKindle @Bookstagram @BookBlogger @KindleUnlimited

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Good book! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one! This book had a bit of everything! It had suspense, intrigue, action, murder, mystery, serial killer, kidnapping, some great characters, and some crazy spine tingling twists and turns! The storyline was very interesting and had me glued to my Kindle! I highly recommend reading this book as it was well worth reading! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me!

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I loved this psychological thriller, told from two POVs & two timelines, it grabs you from the opening chapter & doesn't let you go.

Lorraine receives a phone call from her mum in the middle of the night. She tells Lorraine that her brother is outside her house & she fears he will go after Lorraine next. According to Lorraine, she hasn’t got a brother. When Lorraine eventually gets to her mum’s house it’s deserted & the police seem unconcerned….

There are many twists & reveals in this book but it is so well plotted that you really don’t see them coming. The characters are fleshed out but I can’t say that I particularly liked any of them which certainly helped with the conclusion. An enjoyable read which, at certain points, made me ponder the nature vs nurture debate.

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This book had me hooked. I was left wondering what was going to happen and a few twists I didn't suspect. An enjoyable read.

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Lorraine gets a call from her mother in the middle of the night saying someone had come for her and she will be next, unable to leave her young family and thinking her Mum had been drinking she waits until the morning to go and see her Mum, she is not at home, no sign of a struggle it is as if her Mum just vanished. The police are called in and they make investigations and Lorraine starts her own.

She finds out all sorts of family secrets, which are true, which are lies, where is her Mum, is she safe herself, all on top of recently losing her father and her husband leaving her with two young children.

Story kept me gripped until the end with a few twists along the way.

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An excellent read full of twists and turns that will keep you hooked and you won't want to put it down until the very last page!

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I have loved all of Diane Saxons books I have read so was looking forward to this one.
It did not disappoint

Fast paced and gripping with lots of twists and turns

Loved it

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When Diane Saxon brings out a new book You know it will be a brilliant book and a must read, The Stepson by Diane Saxon was no different, it was an completely addictive psychological thriller that will have you hooked from the beginning till the end and it was hard to put it down once I started to read it. It was a gripping and addictive read with lots of twists and turns that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat!

I always find I end up reading her books within a few sitting but in the case in one sitting as it was so good. A great holiday read or a book for your day off.........and if you want ot get out of house cleaning!!! lol

I highly recommend all of Diane Saxon's books they have all been a 5 star read and this book was no different!

Big Thank you to Diane Saxon the author, Boldwood Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read a advanced copy of The Stepson,

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I have only recently discovered this author after she was 'author of the month' in a Facebook book group that I'm a member of. So far I have read two if her books and I fully intend to read all of her previous books.
This book has a great storyline and is fast paced. It is told in present and past timeliness which really help to build the story and the readers understanding of the characters, and also in multiple POV. I really like the author's writing style. The book was a very enjoyable read with twists and turns and for me a great unexpected ending.
I would definitely recommend this book and the author.
Thanks to netgalley and Boldwood Books for this ARC.

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Oh My Goodness !! What a roller coaster of a story where you are never quite sure whether to love or loathe the characters, whether to pity them or despise them. The story goes along at a great pace in different time frames but each clearly defined with fantastic characters and all their quirks. I jumped about believing and then not believing a couple of them throughout the whole story and it is not until the very end that you discover who is telling the truth. Highly recommend this book.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC to review.

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