REVIEW: Dear Amy - Helen Callaghan

4/5


Even from the front cover I knew that Dear Amy wasn't going to be a typical thriller. It isn't black with some typed, bold lettering - it's red with a handwritten style title and the image of a note. That is what originally drew me to the book; it could almost be mistaken for a different genre entirely. I thought, if the cover was hiding a dark secret, I just had to read it.

Margot Lewis is an agony aunt under the name Ask Amy for her local paper. Also a school teacher with a tumultuous past, Margot is in the midst of a divorce when she begins receiving letters from a girl who was abducted years ago. Meanwhile, an old student of Margot's named Katie goes missing. The police assume she has run away from home but Margot has a bad feeling about it.

I clicked with Margot straight away. She's caring and independent with an inner monologue that I think most readers will relate to. For that matter, the book is littered with likable female characters. Katie is young, vulnerable and scared. The short chapters which provided an insight into her life were immensely powerful and Katie's innocence had you rooting for her the entire way through.

Helen Callaghan used perspectives to provide just enough detail to keep your mind spinning but not enough for you to piece together the story without reading on. The detour into the mind of Chris was a bold move and one that completely paid off. Elsewhere, certain chapters were so difficult to read because of their hard-hitting, violent content. I found myself repulsed by the plot and at the same time completely gripped. Difficult issues were dealt with respectfully and effectively.

Getting into the world of the novel was easy and immediate. Later, as Margot began to lose trust in everyone around her, I found myself paralleling her emotions, questioning every character and finding it a wonderfully creepy read.


It bothered me a little that Margot lacked memories of her childhood and teenage life. The way it was integrated into the plot meant that she seemed to suddenly realise that she couldn't remember as clearly as she thought. Perhaps it was because of how suddenly it was brought in, but it stuck out as weird and made my connection to her a little jarring.

The only thing that I felt was missing was Katie's mum and step-dad's presence at the end. I wanted to see how they had coped and reacted to the unravelling plot. Otherwise, I can't fault this twisting thriller, it kept me invested throughout and left me with an indescribable feeling that I don't think will be fading away any time soon.

This is my first experience of reading Callaghan and I doubt it will be my last! You can get a copy of Dear Amy here.

Love, Jess


I received a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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