This novel does have a pretty harrowing subject at its heart: the death of an infant and Gillian McAllister never shies away from the horror of this situation, despite the sensitive treatment of such a delicate and emotional subject matter. Layla’s short life and sudden death are vividly portrayed and the range of voices in the novel makes us see this situation from many dimensions which really worked for me. I loved the explanation at the end of this novel, where Gillian explains walking and talking with her dad in order to bring this cast of characters to life and I have o say – she really does manage to make this set of characters live and breathe on the page.
Martha’s decision to employ her sister as a nanny in a snap decision is definitely a life decision that comes back to haunt her and it is touches like this that will make you totally believe in her – sibling relationships in all their complexities, the multi-layered love that we can have even once romantic relationships are officially ‘over’, knowing when someone is ‘the one’, the guilt we all experience as working parents, our helplessness in the face of the current refugee crisis. These are all issues that many of us will have dealt with, experienced for ourselves or mulled over for hours over a glass of wine with our friends and this is the reason why I love these books so much – they totally feel real and we feel like we are right in there living life right alongside the characters who talk like we do and go through the same difficulties that so many of us have to deal with every single day. If you are looking for a gripping read this summer that will pin you to your deckchair, think about your own relationships and question the way that society deals with guilt and blame in emotionally charged cases like this then look no further. This has been my page-turner of the summer holidays far – I’m just gutted that I’m going to have to wait so long for her next book now. Treat yourself to a copy here and see if you can solve the case of Layla’s mysterious death for yourself – you won’t regret it.
Thanks so much for Jenny Platt at Penguin Books for inviting me onto the blog tour – I absolutely loved No Further Questions and think that it looks absolutely amazing in my #OnTheShelfie
Writer On The Shelf
You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @gillianmauthor.