Wednesday, 14 April 2021

The Imposter by Anna Wharton BLOG TOUR @whartonswords #TheImposter @RandomTTours @MantleBooks @panmacmillan @RKbookpublicist #BookReview


Chloe lives a quiet life. Working as a newspaper archivist in the day and taking care of her nan in the evening, she's happy simply to read about the lives of others as she files the news clippings from the safety of her desk.

But there's one story that she can't stop thinking about. The case of Angie Kyle  a girl, Chloe's age, who went missing as a child. A girl whose parents never gave up hope.

When Chloe's nan is moved into care, leaving Chloe on the brink of homelessness, she takes a desperate step: answering an ad to be a lodger in the missing girl's family home. It could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to the story she's read so much about. But it's not long until she realizes this couple isn't all they seem. In a house where everyone has something to hide, is it possible to get too close?

The Imposter by Anna Wharton was published on 1 April 2021 by Mantle / Pan Macmillan. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 

The Imposter is Anna Wharton's debut novel and I really think that she will be an author to watch in the future. In this novel, she evoked so many feelings in me. It's a long, and at times, quite detailed novel with a central character who is very difficult to relate to. However, there's something really chilling about the story, and about Chloe who leads the plot. Something that urged me on and on. It's certainly a compelling premise and Chloe is most definitely a character who takes some getting used to. 

We meet Chloe as she arrives home from work. She's been an archivist at the local newspaper since she left school. Now twenty-nine, she lives with her elderly Nan who has dementia. Chloe's life is clearly very insular. Although she's worked at the newspaper for years, she doesn't appear to have any close friends there. She's obsessed with clipping the newspaper reports, and keeping them safe for future generations. However, it's clear that soon, the archive will disappear, with the advance in technology and Chloe feels as though she is no longer needed.

Being needed is a theme throughout this novel. Chloe finds a cause and grabs it, she doesn't let go, she's like a dog with a meaty bone. She's currently concentrating on the disappearance of Angie Kyle; a four year old who went to the play park with her father twenty-five years ago and has never been seen again.

Chloe studies the clippings from the case. Making notes and observations. Her obsession will cost her dearly. Whilst Chloe is obsessing about Angie, her Nan is failing fast and before long, she's resident in a nearby Care Home. This only adds to Chloe's obsessions and worries, and she makes the decision to track down Mr and Mrs Kyle; Angie's parents. 

There's a lot of building the story in this novel. Maybe a tad too much for me, as I found myself just wanting to get to the heart of the story. However, on reflection, having finished the book, I see why the author did include so much. There are tiny hints and little clues dotted around, cleverly concealed but oh so important once the reader reaches the end. 

It's dark and often disturbing. Chloe is a strange character, it's clear that she's an unreliable narrator, but it is never quite clear, until the end, just how much of her life is reality and how much is desired. 

Loneliness and obsession can lead to dangerous situations and Chloe finds herself in the middle of a tense household. However, much of the tension has been created by her, and it's difficult to see how she will get out of it. Will she ever change?  I doubt it very much.

Accomplished and smart, this is a great debut from a talented author and I'd recommend it. 

Anna Wharton has been a print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years, writing for
newspapers including The Times, Guardian, Sunday Times Magazine, Grazia and Red. 
She was formally an executive editor at The Daily Mail. 
Anna has ghostwritten four memoirs including the Sunday Times Bestseller Somebody I Used To Know and Orwell Prize longlisted CUT: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today. 

The Imposter is her first novel.

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