Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest psychological thriller by Claire Douglas, Just Like the Other Girls.

Just Like the Other Girls by [Claire Douglas]

BLURB

After the death of her mother, Una Richardson hopes for a fresh start when she takes on a job as a carer for the rich and elderly Mrs Elspeth McKenzie.

But Elspeth’s home is not as safe as it seems.

Kathryn, her cold and bitter daughter, resents Una’s presence. More disturbing is the evidence suggesting two girls lived here before.

What happened to the girls?

Why will the McKenzies not talk about them?

As the walls close in around her, Una fears she’ll end up just like the other girls . . .

MY THOUGHTS

It feels like it’s been a long time since I read a book by Claire Douglas. I finally got round to reading Just Like the Other Girls a few days ago, and I can see what I’ve been missing out on. This is a really creepy read, and it is so addictive.

We first meet Una who has just undertaken a position at a stately home as a companion to its elderly occupant, Elspeth. The job may seem old fashioned, but Una has recently lost her mother and has just separated from her boyfriend. There are certainly perks to the job. The pay is very generous, and Una has plans to travel the world. She hopes that with the money she earns, that in a year or so, she’ll be able to fulfil her dream. But as she becomes accustomed to living under Elspeth’s roof, Una hears stories about the previous girls who filled her position. They all look remarkably like her, but they all left in very suspicious circumstances. Is she safe in Elspeth’s employment? What happened to the previous girls? Una is determined to find out.

The role of companion seemed to me like a role someone would apply for several decades earlier. I could see the attraction though that Una did. But I also felt that if I were in Una’s position, I would feel guilty about quitting the role after a few months. You can see that Elspeth is desperate to have someone by her side, who won’t let her down. I did feel sorry for Elspeth, but I also wanted to know why she didn’t want to see more of her own daughter and her daughter’s family. Why did she want to employ someone to be her companion, when her daughter was willing to spend time with her for free?

A sinister atmosphere creeps into the plot as Una begins to understand what has previously happened at the house. I was screaming at her to leave as she begins to investigate further. I felt that she was drawing closer and closer to danger. Claire Douglas also tells parts of the story thought the voice of an unknown character, and we can see just how much they resent what is happening at Elspeth’s home.

I thought I had everything all worked out as I was reading, but Claire managed to throw in a few, well thought out twists that made me think out everything again. There is a devastating twist which made my jaw drop open as I was reading it.

This is definitely a book you can lose a few hours to. I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Just Like the Other Girls is an excellent psychological thriller. Now I just need to catch up on Claire’s previous books which I’ve missed.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 6th August 2020

Print length: 388 pages

Just Like the Other Girls is available to buy:

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Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas Book Review

BLURB

She can run

Libby Hall needs to hide, to escape from everything for a while. Which is why the house swap is a godsend. The chance for Libby and her husband Jamie to exchange their tiny flat in Bath for a beautiful haven on the wild Cornish coast.

But she can’t hide

But before they can begin to heal their fragile marriage, Libby makes some disturbing discoveries about the house. And soon the peace and isolation begin to feel threatening. How alone are they? Why does she feel watched?

Because someone knows her secret

What is Jamie hiding? Is Libby being paranoid? And why does the house bring back such terrible memories? Memories Libby’s worked hard to bury. Memories of the night she last saw her best friend alive . . . and what she did.

MY THOUGHTS

Claire Douglas has done it again with her latest novel Last Seen Alive. She is an expert at creating unexpected twists, and I always have that confidence, when I start one of her books, that I am in for a good read.

When Libby sees an advert for a house swap, she is drawn to the idea of spending a few days away from home. The person who created the advert is offering their luxury holiday retreat in Cornwall as they need to be near a hospital in Libby and Jamie’s hometown where their sick daughter is being cared for. Libby and her husband, Jamie accept the offer. But things begin to go mysteriously wrong for them once they are there, Libby is terrified of staying in the house, and when the holiday ends with a call to the police, Libby begins to wonder if her past is about to catch up with her.

This book deals with some very current issues that are being discussed in the media today. I think this is what made the book all the more frightening and realistic, that this could easily happen to any one of us. I for one would never agree to a house swap with people who I didn’t know; I think I would still feel uncomfortable with the idea of allowing people who I am familiar with to stay in my house while I wasn’t there.

There were plenty of twists and turns in this book, Claire really is a master at delivering her twists and misdirections. There were times when I did find myself feeling sorry for Libby, particularly when it concerned her relationship with Jamie. I always felt as though she was viewed as an outsider by the rest of Jamie’s family and that they thought she was intruding on their perfect lives. She made for a great protagonist.

Another outstanding book from Claire, fans of psychological thrillers will not want to miss this. Thank you to Sarah Harwood at Penguin for sending me a copy to review.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 13th July 2017

Print length: 400 pages

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