This twisty page turner is a chilling psychological thriller! From a captivating prologue, to an ending you will be stunned by, The Child Who Never Was is an interesting read that you need to add to your tbr!
Her child has been taken. But no-one believes her. Sarah’s beautiful eighteen-month-old son, Oliver, has gone missing. And she will do anything – anything – to get him back. But there’s a problem. Everyone around Sarah, even her beloved identical twin, Evie, tells her she never had a son, that he’s a figment of her imagination, that she’s not well, she needs help. And they’re right, Sarah does need support. She has suffered massive trauma in the past and now she’s severely agoraphobic, very rarely leaves the house, avoids all contact with people. But Sarah doesn’t care what anyone says – she’s utterly convinced that Oliver is real, that the love she feels for him is true. And that can only mean one thing – someone has been planning this. And now they’ve taken her child. -synopsis from Goodreads
I was immediately drawn in to the story from the prologue. A woman believes that her child has been taken, but no one else believes her. Is she living in a fantasy? Is her baby even real? What happened to him, and why are the people closest to her telling her different things?
The story is centred around Sarah and her mirror twin Evie who are both architects in a small town. Sarah’s life has crumbled since ‘what happened to mum and dad’, manifesting itself into agoraphobia and other mental health conditions. I personally feel that Jane Renshaw explores Sarah’s struggles in such a raw and vivid way that definitely evokes sympathy and makes you empathise with her situations.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of twins and a ‘sixth sense’, and the depiction of Sarah and Evie’s bond is definitely the crux of the story. Sarah is dependent on Evie in so many ways and this has impacted the dynamic of their relationship. Although they are mirror twins, their personalities are far from identical.
“That was the thing about having a twin: you had no option but to love them more, more than all the other people in the world, because the bond you had shared from the womb was stronger than any other”
This novel is a roller coaster ride and will keep you on the edge of your seat! That being said it is at times a slow burner but stick with it, it suddenly picks up the pace and you will not be able to put it down.
Sarah is probably one of the most unreliable narrators I have read which may not appeal to everyone, but it genuinely adds to the authenticity of the narrative. We get to hear her point of view and most importantly her mindset which is so important as the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall in place.
I literally could not put it down during the last third of the novel as I just had to know what happened! I cannot recommend this book enough. If you like a good domestic thriller, make sure to pick it up. It is available on kindle on the 16th of August!
“But her brain wouldn’t let her do anything more than frame the question; it wouldn’t let her think about it, as if it was desperately trying to protect itself…”
Thank you to Net Galley for sharing this ARC with me in exchange for my honest review.
Rating – ★★★★