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When Glasgow journalist Shona McGilvery moves with her partner Mikey and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, they believe that all that lies ahead of them is happiness. But with Mikey working offshore, the frightening isolation of the Aberdeenshire countryside begins to drive her insane... That is, until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina. She has the perfect home, the perfect man, and a charismatic new best friend – or does she? As her fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood becomes the least of her fears..

I was drinking

Single Malt Scotch Whisky from one of the oldest operating distilleries in Scotland – Glen Garioch , in the quaint and historic market town of Oldmeldrum, near Aberdeen in North East Scotland. Interestingly, 40 bottles of Scotch Whisky are shipped overseas each second , and more Scotch Whisky is sold in one month in France than cognac in a year !

In my opinion...

What a first novel!

I love a good thriller, I like to be teased and tormented, feel a bit anxious, not want to get on with everyday life, and in all these ways this novel is successful & still running through my head a few days after finishing it.

What if?

How did...?


The book is really well written, the characters are flawed and believable. Shona and Valentina speak naturally, and so, even if the lonely Shona doesn’t appreciate it, she actually makes an extra friend in the reader. I loved the witty, chatty asides casually thrown in, the way both characters suddenly speak to the reader and perspectives change seamlessly.

The descriptions are evocative, and a sense of evil unsettles you. A cottage in the woods, complete with witch and shades of Snow White mixed in with Babes in the Wood, is this a fairy story or something more sinister- can there be an happy ending?

As reader, you are privy to more information than Shona & so guess more quickly what’s happening, but then there is a twist. And another. And then a final twist..

I really hope Ms Lynes has another book up her sleeve, as I will certainly be looking out for it!

My rating...

A great big thrilling four!

Thank you Blackbird Digital Books for giving me this advance copy for review, prior to publication on 1 July

Check out my interview with the author, SE Lynes, in my 'News' section

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