Title: The Bones of You
Author: Debbie Howells
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: July 2015
My Rating: 6/10 Alright
When eighteen-year-old Rosie Anderson disappears, the idyllic village where she lived will never be the same again. Local gardener Kate is struck with guilt. She’d come to know Rosie well, and thought she understood her – perhaps better even than Rosie’s own mother.
Rosie was beautiful, kind and gentle. She came from a loving family and she had her whole life ahead of her. Who could possibly want to harm her? And why?
Kate is convinced the police are missing something. She’s certain that someone in the village knows more than they’re letting on. As the investigation deepens, so does Kate’s obsession with solving the mystery of what happened to Rosie.
This book disappointed me. Not because it was bad, it wasn’t, it was actually fairly well written, but because it was falsely advertised. I bought this book, as I have done with quite a few recently, on the basis of it being a twisty, shocking, psychological thriller – ‘If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll love this’. No. This was not a psychological thriller in any sense of the word. Yes, there was a twist towards the end, but not one that smacked you round the face. The twist was gradual and slow, meaning I’d already figured it out several chapters before it was spelled out. Again, I’m not saying this is a bad thing, it’s just not what I’d hoped for.
It started off really strong. A girl goes missing in a quiet English village, and Kate, a (very distant) friend of the family is determined to comfort the girl’s mother, whilst discovering what happened to her. I found their connection a little difficult to grasp. They are both mothers of 18 year old girls who attend the same sixth form. They met because a group of mothers like to go out for coffee together sometimes. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but when I was 18, my parents didn’t know any of my friends parents, it just wasn’t a thing. This feels far too primary school to be believable. Because of this, I found Kate’s motives a little difficult to understand. It didn’t seem right that Kate, who admitted she’d only had coffee with Joanna (the mother) a few times, was the one to console her. I know Joanna isn’t supposed to have been close to anyone, but I found it a little implausible that nobody else was as concerned as Kate was.
I also found Kate to be a very weak and naive character. It annoyed me that she was so nice and caring, unable to see the bad in people. I’m not sure if this is done on purpose, but I found myself not caring about her, which is not what I want in a main character. I do understand that she is supposed to represent the ideal woman with the ideal lifestyle, but (without giving spoilers) I didn’t get Joanna’s infatuation with her.
I did enjoy the ‘Rosie’ chapters, Rosie being the girl who is killed (no spoiler here, it is stated on the first page), and was intrigued by the Joanna/Rosie thread of the story. This added a dark and rather sickening element to the narrative overall, but was unbalanced and let down by Kate’s chapters.
It would have benefited from the presence of some sort of police officer, or perhaps a lawyer, or some authority figure that would have had a hand in the investigation. We weren’t really given any details on the actual official investigation, only that ‘so and so has been taken in for questioning’. I think the inclusion of the reporter, Emma, was an attempt at this, but she felt a little redundant. She showed up out of nowhere, despite her not being an investigative journalist, and just kept chiming in with ideas and accusations. I don’t think she added anything to the story, and would have been better replaced perhaps with a police officer who is friends with Kate, and shares the occasional snippet of information.
I feel like I’ve been all negative, but this book really wasn’t all negative. The overall story itself was good, as was the writing, I just didn’t get on with the characters, and the twist wasn’t as big as I would have liked. Maybe it just wasn’t quite for me.
Not bad, just falsely advertised. Drop the reference to Gone Girl, don’t make me sit and desperately try to figure out what the ‘twist’ will be, so I ruin it for myself when it finally comes, and I would’ve given it a higher rating. I would be interested in reading whatever Debbie Howells comes up with next.