Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough, 3.5 Stars

How have I not heard of Sarah Pinborough before? Like, how? I chose Cross Her Heart through the Book of the Month Club and as far as I knew it was a debut author. Now, maybe I should read a little closer when I make those selections, but I was very surprised to learn she is quite a prolific author–and I’m sure many of you knew that already.

One of her books, 13 Minutes (YA, but that has never stopped me), is in production with Netflix! I’ve been totally into their original series and movies lately. And I totally have to check out Behind Her Eyes as well–it sounds right up my alley.

So have you read her previous books? What do you recommend a newbie try?

From the Publisher:

Lisa lives for her daughter Ava, her job, and her best friend Marilyn, but when a handsome client shows an interest in her, Lisa starts daydreaming about sharing her life with him too. Maybe she’s ready now. Maybe she can trust again. Maybe it’s time to let her terrifying secret past go. Then her daughter rescues a boy from drowning and their pictures are all over the news for everyone to see. Lisa’s world explodes, and she finds everything she has built threatened. Not knowing whom she can trust, it’s up to her to face her past to save what she holds dear.

My Review:

I really loved the premise for this book. Lisa is definitely guarded and she is protecting herself from a horrible loss that happened many years ago. Although the destruction of her life started long ago, it seems to have continued on a downward spiral to the point where she is successful at her job and a sufficient, albeit somewhat absent working mother, but is unable to derive any type of joy or abandon in life. It’s clear that because of whatever is in her past– she doesn’t believe she deserves happiness and stands in her own way.

Her daughter, Ava, tolerates her. She lacks any type of real true emotion towards her mother. Which is somewhat typical of the teenage state, but I still found it sad. It appears that Lisa does everything to tangibly provide for her daughter, but lacks the ability to provide emotionally.

We see a lot of Lisa at work. She has a flirtation with a new client, but seems unable to take any type of action, and she admires her best friend Marilyn. Despite the fact that Marilyn is a central character and it’s clear Lisa’s best friend, I felt a real lack of understanding that relationship. It was under-developed for me. And later in the story, Marilyn certainly steps up but I don’t quite buy her motivations or her back-story.

Without providing any spoilers, it’s clear Lisa is hiding from something. And the point comes in the story where she is unable to hide any longer. And that’s when the story spirals a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked this book more than most of the thrillers I’ve read recently, but the end felt a little Scooby-Doo to me. I just didn’t see it coming who the mystery antagonist was, which is fine. But I also felt that the identity came out of nowhere.

Cross Her Heart is still a compelling thriller with satisfying twists and turns. One spoiler (which will be appreciated I think)– it definitely has some very graphic or hard to read parts for some readers.

If this one sounds up your alley, check it out!




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