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The Rumour by Lesley Kara - Review

Friday, August 23, 2019


I was away on holiday in July with a friend and some of her friends; we've been camping previously but my friend has a small baby so we went to stay in some cottages instead. At one point I sat down on the sofa and had to move this book out of the way as I did so, so I picked it up to read the blurb. I was intrigued, so I ordered it for myself when I got home. It arrived on the 6th of August along with four other books. Whoops. Sometimes just all your pre orders come in at once! 

This isn't the oddest way I've ever garnered a book recommendation, by the way. I was once on the Tube and I saw someone reading The Future Homemakers of America, and I ended up buying it (and it, of course, turned out to be one of my favourite books). 

Anyway, this book is about Joanna. She's recently moved to a small seaside town, Flinstead, where she spent some of her childhood with her mum. She's been living in London with her small son, Alfie, but she's decided to move back so her mum can help her with childcare and for a better pace of life, I guess. Alfie's dad, Michael, is still in the picture - he and Jo sleep together sometimes when he's around, but they're not a couple. He is a journalist.

Jo is at the school gates when she hears a rumour from one of the "popular" mums. The rumour is that Sally MacGowan, a notorious child killer, is living in Flinstead under a new identity. Sally was ten years old when she murdered a little boy, Robbie Harris. She served quite a few years in prison before being released, but of course no one knows where she is now. Jo doesn't know if the rumour is true or not, but then she repeats it at her book club, and everything takes off from there. The rumour takes on a life of its own, and it seems like every older woman in town is under suspicion. 

There's a new age shop called Stones and Crones, the owner of which is called Sonia Martin. People start to suspect her, including Joanna. The front window of the shop gets smashed in. 

Joanna makes friends with some of the mums and rumours begin to fly all over. She spends some time with someone in her book group, Kay, whose daughter and grandchildren have moved to Australia, while someone else in the book group, Liz, starts to avoid Jo. Who exactly is Sally MacGowan? Michael starts to look into the woman, wishing to write a story about her, but Jo and Alfie come under threat. 

I did like this book - it's very compelling and made me want to keep turning the page. I liked Jo, even though she acted a bit of a dolt at times. It was sometimes a bit hard to keep the characters straight - some had really similar names and they weren't all that distinctive. There's plenty of twists and turns along the way and although I guessed some of them I still wanted to know if I was right and how things came out. I didn't like the very end of the book, so while I would have given it a four out of five, I downgraded it to a three out of five. Still, I liked this Girl-on-the-Train esque book and would recommend it if you're a fan of those kinds of books. It's nice to read a book like that set in a sleepy British seaside town! 

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