In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings has been on my TBR pile for a while now, but unfortunately I just have not had the time to read it (hopefully I will do one day soon). Fortunately Virginia King, an author herself, offered to do a guest review for the book review cafe and I took her up on her kind offer, you can read more about Virgina, at the bottom of this post
In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings – 4-Star Review by Virginia King
As many reviewers have already written, In Her Wake is a unique mystery with a chilling scenario, an adventurous plot, and many creative twists that keep the reader guessing until the very end.
Things I loved about the book:
I adored the character of Dawn and thought she was very well drawn in all her inconsistencies. She was a great foil for Bella who was rather wooden for the first part of the book (for good reasons but I found her hard to relate to).
In Her Wake doesn’t follow a textbook story arc and this was refreshing. There’s even a fairly major plot thread that’s unresolved at the end, adding realism to the story – life’s events don’t always get tied up with a bow. And the final reveals were very surprising and well handled, linking back to a very cleverly planted hint early on that I didn’t see coming and making sense of the questions I had about the plausibility of past events.
The slightly surreal moments and mythical links are wonderful, bringing drama and depth to the emotional landscape. I’m also a great fan of playing with names, and that’s another inspired and surprising element in the book.
My criticisms have led to the four-star rating.
I love first person narrators because I can see inside their heads. It’s a chance to be flipped into fresh perspectives as the narrator wrangles with the circumstances that life throws at them. But Bella’s view of events in the first part of the book, although understandable, was largely ‘numb’ and after the revelations about her past she flipped from belief to disbelief and back again repetitively, which rendered her mental anguish dull for me. I needed to see more psychological exploration of such a dramatic disclosure, however wobbly and fleeting. This changed when new characters entered Bella’s life.
The chapters told from Henry’s point of view never quite gave me the intended insights into his motivation – I didn’t get the passion that bordered on obsession, so the justification for the past actions wasn’t there for me, until the very end.
The above criticisms are personal ones. In Her Wake is a page-turner with unexpected and satisfying twists and a unique adventure into one woman’s journey.
About Virginia King
When a voice wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you to write a mystery series what’s a writer to do? That’s how Virginia King came to create Selkie Moon, after a massage from a strange woman with gifted hands was followed by this nocturnal message. Virginia sat down at the keyboard until Selkie Moon turned up. All she had to do was jump, the first sentence said. Soon Virginia was hooked, exploring far-flung places full of secrets where Selkie delves into psychological clues tangled up in the local mythology.
Before Selkie Moon invaded her life, Virginia had been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, the author of over 50 children’s books, an audio-book producer, a workshop presenter and a prize-winning publisher. These days she lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with her husband, where she disappears each day into Selkie Moon’s latest mystery. Bliss.
Virginia King, Author of the Selkie Moon Mystery Series
If you would like write a guest review for the book review cafe please feel free to contact me via my contact details on my blog page.