Joycie Todd is living the perfect life. Or so people think. As her alter ego, Orchid, she is a top model, and she lives with photographer Marcus Blake, the man who fostered her career and who is completely in love with her even though Joycie cannot return his love.
And yet since the death of an old friend, Joycie has been haunted by bad dreams, a half remembered incident from the past, one so vague, she’s not sure it is even true. When she was eleven years old Joycie’s mother disappeared, never to be heard from again. Her dreams are about that night and something she thinks she heard. Something she thinks she saw.
When she meets her estranged Aunt, she is compelled to look back to the past to try and find the truth of what happened to her parents. But in doing so Joycie finds herself being followed, being threatened by the mysterious Bill, in a bid to ‘encourage’ her to let sleeping dogs lie. If she can’t, then people she loves may be at risk. If she does, then she will never truly be able to move on with her life, her memories there to forever taunt her.
‘Her Turn to Cry’ is a gripping thriller. Set in 1960’s London with flashbacks to the 1950’s and the times surrounding Joycie’s mother’s disappearance, you really get a sense of the era, of the old music hall/vaudeville style of act in which Joycie’s father performed when she was a child. The descriptions of the backstage environs and the sense of community are so vivid that you really feel like you are there with Joycie, watching the various characters as they prepare for their shows. There is also a real authenticity when looking at some of the key themes of the story, abuses of rights and power which we are only now really starting to set right in modern day. All are handled sensitively, yet evoke the hatred and prejudice which would have been prevalent in the 50’s and 60’s. It makes this a very emotive piece at times.
Switching between past and present can be problematic in a novel, and it is easy to lose the thread of the story. Not in this case. The transition from present day to the scenes set in the past is very fluid, and well written, helping both the pace and overall flow of the narrative. It also helped keep the tension just right, driving the need to keep on reading to try and discover what Joycie’s secret was, although it was probably easy to guess, and also what really happened on the night her mother left. I whizzed through this in a day, and found myself engrossed in the story to the last. The great character development (all of them are so beautifully fleshed out, the bad guys larger than life and menacing in perfect proportion) and setting are two big reasons for this in my book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. An easy read but still gripping and tense in all the right places. For me a ‘sit-forward-in-my-seat-because-I’m-totally-engrossed’ page turner, but however you like to describe it, it gets a well-deserved 5 stars from me.
Her Turn To Cry was released on 8th July 2016 and is available to buy here:
My thanks to Net Galley and publishers Harper Collins UK for the copy of ‘Her Turn To Cry’ in exchange for my review.