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Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

Article by Swirl and Thread ©.
Posted in | .

‘The fear never truly leaves me. I’ve had lulls where I can almost let go of the past, but then a random moment like this triggers a panic and I realise it will always be there like hot tar glued to the lining of my stomach. And recently I’ve had this feeling, an unsettled disquiet, as if there’s something off-kilter I should see but I don’t. Maybe it’s me. My age. Hormones. Ava growing up. Maybe it’s nothing. But still…..’

Whoa, my heart rate picked up quite a bit reading this book!

Cross Her Heart is the latest novel from Sarah Pinborough, who has been described as ‘The new queen of grip-lit’ by the Evening Standard.

Just recently published by Harper Collins, Cross Her Heart is a book that most certainly gripped me from beginning to end. Having not read any previous writing from this author, I went in blindly not really knowing what to expect!

There are three females central to this novel, each with a secret to keep, each with their own story to tell.

Lisa is a mother of a teenage girl, Ava. They have a very close bond as it is just the two of them against the world. Lisa is extremely protective over Ava and their privacy is something that Lisa holds very dear. But Ava is just a regular teenage girl, struggling to find her place in the world and at times she finds her mother’s tightening hold on her very claustrophobic. Ava has a very close-knit bunch of friends, girls she swims with, girls she would trust her life with. Together they do all the stuff that we expect from sixteen year old girls, including the obsession with social media. Lisa chooses to avoid any dealings with social media and shies away from having her photograph taken, but Ava, on the other hand, has exposure to the outside world.

At a local fair, Ava hears hysterical shouts near the water-side. She sees a young boy in difficulty and without even thinking twice, she jumps in to save him. Always a very strong swimmer, Ava rescues the young boy and this heroic action turns Ava into a local celebrity over night. With her picture in the local papers, Ava enjoys the feelings that this piece of fame brings her. She is suddenly more popular than before and she garners respect from people. What Ava does not know is that this sudden rise to hero stature will bring with it some very unexpected consequences.

Meanwhile, Marilyn is Lisa’a best friend. From the very first day they met, something clicked. Marilyn always knew that Lisa’s past was where she wanted it to stay…in the past, so she chose to accept Lisa as she was and not to probe to deep. As the years past, Marilyn watched Lisa as she came out of her shell a bit more. Ava became like a daughter to Marilyn, and their happiness soon became hers. But Marilyn carries her own secrets too. Appearances can be very deceptive and Marilyn has become used to presenting an image to the outside world, an image of perfection, with her good lob, her lovely home and her adoring husband. But Marilyn is living a lie. She has become so good at portraying this fictitious life, that it has now become her norm. But something is about to change…

Every single time I pick up a new book, I get a real sense of excitement and a little adrenaline rush, as I never know what I’m going to find between the pages or how I’m going to react. Sarah Pinborough’s Cross Her Heart threw me completely. I did not have a clue of where it was going. I thought I had it all figured out, but every path I went down was wrong. I simply did not know who to look out for, who was innocent, who I liked, who I didn’t like.

Can the sins of our past ever be buried? Can we ever escape who we really are?

In Cross Her Heart the reader is genuinely taken on a fast-paced, gripping roller-coaster of a ride. I finished the novel with a few choice expletives and a feeling that I had finished a bloody great read.

Highly recommend folks as a holiday read, as a bedtime read, as a bathroom read, as a car/train journey read…just read it!

Thrilling. Riveting. Heart-stopping. Hair-raising.

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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