Published by Mira Books on September 3rd 2019
A compulsive suspense debut for fans of Megan Miranda, Wendy Walker and Kimberly Belle, about two teens--one sheltered by her strict and reclusive mamma, one living in the shadow of the missing sister who was snatched from a theme park as a toddler--and their search for the truth about their families and each other.
If your whole life is a lie, who can you trust?
Raised in a quiet rural community, Anna has always been taught that her Mamma's rules are the only path to follow. But, on her eighteenth birthday, she defies her Mamma for the first time in her life, and goes to Astroland. She’s never been allowed to visit Florida’s biggest theme park, so why, when she arrives, does everything about it seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives that same day—a letter addressing her by a different name?
Rosie has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads. Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes as the funds dedicated to the search dry up, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth herself. But can she find the answer before it tears her family apart?
Winner of the Daily Mail First Novel Competition, A Girl Named Anna is a psychologically riveting read that introduces Lizzy Barber as an outstanding new voice in suspense fiction.
Welcome to my stop on the bog tour for A Girl Named Anna. I knew upon reading the synopsis that this was going to be one I’d have to read. I have a bit of a thing for mysteries revolving around strange and powerful religious cults. Books involving child abductions almost always prove to be emotional and gripping reads. I went into it with fingers crossed that one with both would be a win-win. I was not disappointed.
The first thing I’ll comment on is Lizzy Barber’s writing style. It’s difficult to put a finger on but it’s elegant and eloquent without being flowery. I found myself drawn in from the very first paragraphs. Dual perspective books written in the present tense can be difficult to pull off. I think it worked very well here and serve to intensify the level of suspense.
As for the story itself, it provided just the right amount of creep factor. I loved that I was not required to suspend disbelief in order to become invested. This also speaks to the fact that A Girl Named Anna is really more dramatic suspense than thriller. Don’t let that fool you though — there were a few moments that were as edge-of-the-seat suspenseful as any in a classic thriller. The page-turning factor was high and lasted from the first page to the very last! I personally loved that, though perhaps somewhat unlikely in terms of exact timing, etc., this is a story that could actually happen. (Yes, I watch a lot of Investigation Discovery.)
The characters were incredibly well-drawn. It might have been easy to stereotype certain characters (religious zealot, cult leader, pastor’s family) but Lizzy Barber thoughtfully avoided doing so.
I really loved this book and give it an enthusiastic recommendation to fans of a multitude of genres from thriller to women’s fiction and even literary fiction if the reader is looking for something with a little extra twist. It was an impressive read by an standards but even more so as a debut. I am already looking forward to Ms. Barber’s next book!
Many thanks to MIRA Books for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.