Wednesday 2 September 2020

The Other Girl by CD Major @CescaMajor #TheOtherGirl #ThomasAndMercer #BookReview

1942, New Zealand. Edith’s been locked away for a long time. She was just five years old when she was sent to Seacliff Lunatic Asylum. Fifteen years later, she has few memories of her life before the asylum, but longs for one beyond it.
When she survives a devastating fire that destroys her ward, Edith is questioned by the police and a young doctor, Declan Harris. Intrigued by his beautiful patient, Declan begins to doubt the official reasons for her incarceration. Is she truly mad—or could the impossible stories she told as a child actually be true?
Time is running out. With Edie awaiting a new and permanent treatment, soon there will be little of her left to save. Meanwhile intrigue has tipped into obsession—Declan needs to uncover the truth, but in doing so he will risk losing everything. As he sets out to save her mind, will he lose his own?

The Other Girl by C D Major was published on 1 September 2020 by Thomas & Mercer. My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review.

Told over two time-lines, The Other Girl is a haunting and dramatic story of Edith, a girl who has been incarcerated in a lunatic asylum since she was just five years old. The story opens in 1942 as a terrible fire rages through the ward that Edith and over thirty other woman sleep in. The fire is unrelenting and the sheer horror of this event is so well portrayed. The black, thick smoke and the devastation caused by the flames is quite shocking and when it is over only Edith and one other woman have survived.

The story then goes back to 1927 when Edith is living as a small child with her parents. It is clear from the start that Edith is a little different and causes tension within the family, it's almost as though her parents are ashamed of her behaviour. She speaks clearly and yet she speaks of things that a well-brought up child of the times should not be talking about.

The Other Girl is based on true events; the fire in the asylum is based on a very similar event that happened in New Zealand in 1942, and Edith's issues are taken from research that the author has done.  The depth of research shines through in the writing and the story has depth and intrigue throughout.

As the reader learns more about Edith's life, both whilst at the asylum and the reasons for her initial admittance; one cannot help but feel both sorrow and anger for her situation. The description of life within the asylum, and especially on Ward Five is at times, heartbreaking and I rooted for Edith throughout the story. Her unlikely saviour; Dr Declan Harris, is a carefully drawn character. A newly qualified doctor, in his first job. Younger and more forward thinking than Doctor Malone who has been in charge for years. Declan meets Edith for the first time when she's being interviewed by the police after the fire. He is fascinated by her, and her story, and risks the wrath of Malone, to try to take on her case.

The Other Girl is a carefully woven story that is both fascinating and intriguing. The author delves into issues that will raise many questions throughout. It's a slow-moving story, and character-led, but each character is beautifully constructed.

An atmospheric story, that will chill the reader at times.

C. D. Major writes suspenseful books inspired by events in the recent past. 
Cesca worked in television and teaching before writing full time. 
Alongside her thrillers she writes feel-good reads under the pseudonym Rosie Blake. 
She teaches creative writing and vlogs writing tips over on her website

Cesca lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and twin daughters. 

She can be found on Twitter @CescaMajor 
Instagram  @cdmajorauthor

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