Published by William Morrow on September 4, 2018
Source: the publisher
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“Sarah Pinborough is about to become your new obsession.”—Harlan Coben
Lisa is living a lie and everyone is about to find out.
Lisa lives for her daughter Ava, her job and her best friend Marilyn.
But when a handsome client shows an interest in her, Lisa starts daydreaming about sharing her life with him, too. Maybe she’s ready now. Maybe she can trust again. Maybe it’s time to let her terrifying secret past go.
But when her daughter rescues a boy from drowning and their pictures are all over the news for everyone to see, Lisa’s world explodes.
As she finds everything she has built threatened, and not knowing who she can trust, it’s up to Lisa to face her past in order to save what she holds dear.
But someone has been pulling all their strings. And that someone is determined that both Lisa and Ava must suffer.
Because long ago Lisa broke a promise. And some promises aren’t meant to be broken.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough has a lot of what I love in terms of a thriller. There are engaging characters with multiple POV’s and interconnected storylines, plus the characters have huge secrets. There are women that find themselves at a crossroads in life, where they need to make big decisions for themselves. There are big twists. There is suspense that kept me turning the pages quickly. And the chapters are short, so I always felt completely pulled into the narrative. Honestly, once I started reading this one, I didn’t want to put the book down – I wanted answers to my questions.
The main POV’s are Lisa, Ava, and Marilyn. Lisa is Ava’s mother, and it is clear that she is desperate to live a private life. She is also hiding something huge. Lisa struggles to connect with 16-year-old Ava while Ava feels completely smothered by her mother’s neediness. She spends most of her time with her three closest friends, talking about things like alcohol, sex, and their pitiful mothers. Ava loves that Lisa is giving her a little more freedom since her sixteenth birthday, and she uses it to develop her secret online relationship with an older man while exploring her sexuality with her actual boyfriend Courtney, who she finds annoying. Marilyn is Lisa’s coworker and best friend. They have been successful at their job, working together for about ten years. But she keeps her biggest and darkest secret from Lisa.
At one point in the story, things seem to be sort of looking up for these three – on the surface – but THEY ALL HAVE SECRETS. And then Ava saves a young boy from drowning, which causes her picture to turn up in the newspaper. As reporters show up to their house, Ava thinks the reporters are interested in her story. She is horrified to learn that some long-buried truths have surfaced about her mother.
It took me a few pages to sort out which character was which, and which story belonged to which woman. But once I figured it out, it was ON. I really couldn’t stop turning the pages. I love a good thriller; I mean when a character gets completely broad-sided by another character because of some secret or past life or something like that? I love reading how things unravel and fall apart, and how the friends and family of that secretive character have to pick up and deal with the secrets and lies. Why? Because life happens like that sometimes and it is interesting to me how people deal with things like that. I felt a ton of suspense from the very beginning of this story, and the twists and surprises and secrets in here just made the book move quickly forward for me. I love a good pageturner.
Ava’s story in particular resonated strongly with me. I have twin fifteen-year-old daughters, so when I put myself in Ava’s mother’s place (a secretive child, reluctant to engage in conversation, reluctant to share what was going on in her life), I felt real empathy for Lisa’s character. I do not experience this with my own girls, but just knowing what all Ava was up to and the secrets she was keeping from her mother made me feel all sorts of feelings. I felt like I was experiencing another life through both Ava and Lisa. I love it when a book makes me feel strongly, think hard, and examine my own self and my relationships with other people. Ava’s relationship with her mother did exactly that.
I took Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough with me to the hospital to read while my son had foot surgery; it was perfect for reading in the waiting room and during the postoperative period. Escapism during a stressful time – I appreciate that so much! I normally listen to audiobooks while I read along with print copies, but in this case I simply read my print copy. I’m curious about how the audiobook would have enhanced the level of suspense and all of the different emotions that I felt during the story.
I loved it. I should check out the author’s backlist!