The Second Life of Amy Archer by R S Pateman
On 31st December 1999, ten-year-old Amy Archer went missing from her local playground. Her body was never found and the lives of her parents, Beth and Brian, were torn apart.
On the tenth anniversary of the disappearance, Beth is alone, still struggling with the enormity of her grief and the horror of not knowing the fate of her only child. But the fear and confusion have only just begun, and Beth's world is turned upside down when a stranger knocks on her door, claiming to know what happened to Amy.
Beth is introduced to a little girl who is the uncanny double of her missing daughter, who knows things that only Amy would remember; the name of her favourite toy, the place where she scratched her initials, what Beth likes for breakfast. But this can't be Amy, she hasn't aged a day...
Now Beth is forced to question everything she has ever believed in, and push her faith and her sanity to the limits, if she is to find out the truth about what happened to Amy.
Every now and then you read a book that you just can't put down,this is one of those books.
I read it in two days, every little chance I had. It is a large sized paperback and the print is quite big so this helped me get through it quickly but now I want to re read it again just in case I missed something.
The book opens as Beth is laying flowers at the playground where her ten year old daughter Amy went missing ten years ago. These few pages describing the scene through Beth's eyes hooked me.
Beth relives the story for us of the nationwide search that took place and the newspaper and TV coverage. Amy was never been found and Beth has never recovered from the tragedy, and while Brian, Amy's father has moved on with his life Beth is stuck, unable to move forward.
When a child of ten turns up at Beth's door claiming to be Amy, Beth refuses to believe her as Amy would now have been twenty but this child knows so many things about Amy's life that wasn't reported in newspapers that surely it has to be true.
What mother would not cling to the hope that somehow her child has been returned to her? Beth embarks on a journey to discover the truth,is this child really Amy?
I'm finding it so hard to write this review without giving away spoilers but there are so many on Amazon that I don't want to do the same. I read this book without reading any of them and I want other people to do that too.
The author tells a brilliant story from the point of view of a grieving mother.We don't get to know what the other characters think so we have to take Beth's word for everything. I suspected a few people through the book but I was wrong. I usually like my endings finished nicely and wrapped up with a bow but you won't find that in this book. Strangely I loved the ending it made me think about the story days later and I couldn't get it out of my head.I'm still wondering.
I was surprised to discover that R S Pateman is a man, I really thought I was reading a book written by a woman so well done Rob. This is Rob's debut novel and he has kindly agreed to be interviewed by Books With Wine and Chocolate, his interview will be posted after my holiday,as you read this I will be soaking up the sun on the beach.
I will also be running a competition for a signed copy of Rob's book kindly donated by him. If you would like a chance to win this join me then.
I have to give The Second Life of Amy Archer five stars.