It is too hot to sleep. To work. To be questioned time and again by the police.
At the beginning of a stifling, sultry summer, everything shifts irrevocably when Lily doesn’t come home one afternoon.
Rachel is Lily’s teacher. Her daughter Mia is Lily’s best friend. The girls are fifteen – almost women, still children.
As Rachel becomes increasingly fixated on Lily’s absence, she finds herself breaking fragile trusts and confronting impossible choices she never thought she’d face.
It wasn’t supposed to happen like this
DO YOU REMEMBER THE SUMMER THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING?
‘A thrilling look at mothers and daughters, adolescence, sex, suburbia and secrets’ NELL FRIZZELL
‘Unsettling, challenging and utterly immersive’ CLARE MACKINTOSH
‘A sultry, stifling debut exploring power, consent and womanhood’ COSMOPOLITAN
Rachel and her daughter have never had secrets. Until now.
Lily is somewhere she shouldn’t be. With someone she shouldn’t be with.
Mia misses her best friend. But she let her down.
In the middle of a stifling heatwave, Rachel, Lily and Mia stand on the edge of irrevocable change. Soon, just one burning question will remain… how could they let things go this far?
A provocative debut novel for fans of My Dark Vanessa, The Push by Ashley Audrain and Megan Nolan’s Acts of Desperation.
I was definitely seduced by the premise of this book featuring a missing girl, a long hot summer and some secrets that will not be long in coming to the surface – when I discovered that it was written by someone who gew up right here in Stirlingshire as well, that really sealed the deal for me and it quickly zoomed to the top of my TBR pile. I was delighted to be invited on the tour by the lovely Anne Cater and Random Things Tours and couldn’t wait to see if it was as compelling and sexy as I had heard…
This book definitely did not disappoint, it grabbed me and pulled me right into the story. I was really intrigued by the premise of the book: that we will puzzle our way through the many clues and trails about what might have happened to Lily and who might have the motive to obscure the details around her vanishing– and this really added to the story for me. The pitch perfect evocation of a long hot summer and the tangled relationships between mothers and daughters really kept me turning the pages as this sultry and brilliantly clever read unfolds.
I was fascinated by the way that you need to keep your eye on who’s talking as you never quite know their resons for revealing what they do and this never allows you to move your eye off the action for a second, as you have become so engrossed in this disappearance and all of the unsettling things we uncover around it. The way that Lily, Mia and Rachel are all themselves at a turning point in their lives and the way that they intersect in unexpected ways makes for intriguing and tense reading and will keep you up far too late trying to work out what’s going to happen next…
I absolutely loved the way that these relationships are presented in this novel and definitely found the mystery of Lily’s disappearance and the way that Rachels’s true personality begins to emerge quite addictive. It was intriguing to see what would be uncovered next as her misdirection and evasion kept me changing my mind from one moment to the next. The fact that each chapter presents us with fresh insights into what has happened was a fantastic device and really kept me on my toes as a reader as this clever and emotionally complex novel unfolded
Even though there have been lots of novels this year that focus on people going missing, Hazel Barkworth’s writing ensures that the characters we meet allow this plot to unfold in an original way which makes the story feel fresh and innovative, rather than ploughing a familiar furrow. The characters all feel very much like real people – rather than mechanisms to provide clues about Lily vanishing or how this connects to Rachel’s relationship with her daughter Mia – which I’ve often found in novels like this with characters who feel like devices to deliver clues or red herrings I think that the heat, the sense of sexual tensions and complexity and the misdirections woukd make this an absolutely perfect beach read and I can see it being an absolute bestseller for Summer 2021
Hazel Barkworth is an intriguing new writer for me – it’s hard to talk about this novel without spoilers, so I’ll just need to tell you that you must read it for yourself. You will be as intrigued by Lily’s disappearance as I was and want to read on and find out exactly what is behind this that seems to be having such a seismic impact on the other characters It’s not one of these ‘keep looking for the big twist’ stories that people are getting a little bored of now. It isdefinitely a book where you need to keep your eye out for what’s not being said – in a wonderfully well-constructed way.
Anyone interested in twisty and dynamic reads and who loves trying to work out which characters to trust…ot not…will love this multi-layered and gripping novel. I had really high hopes for Heatstroke and I’m delighted to say that I was definitely not disappointed. It was definitely a book that I’ll be recommending to lots of readers this summer as I was totally intrigued by its characters, its pace and the way it really kept me guessing about these characters’ truths up until the very last page…
The idea that life can be a lot darker and more interesting than you might think on the surface is a very intriguing one. I think that this would make an excellent Book Group read as it would be sure to provoke lots and lots of discussion…
Buy yourself a copy here if you want to get to the heart of the mystery and if you loved it, grab yourself a copy of this one and enjoy it during your summer staycation this year…
‘Barkworth is excruciatingly good’ OBSERVER
‘I am addicted… dark and twisty with beautiful, poetic writing’ EMMA GANNON
‘Gripping and intensely atmospheric… you won’t want to put this down’ HEAT magazine’s READ OF THE WEEK
‘Stylish and sensual’ KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE
‘Twists, turns and revelations in all the right places’ EVENING STANDARD
‘A stunning new voice… I couldn’t tear myself away’ ERIN KELLY
‘Sexy and provocative’ LAURA JANE WILLIAMS
‘Pulls you into its sweaty interior and keeps you gripped’ RENEE KNIGHT
‘Compulsive, sticky and full of gorgeous writing’ KIRSTIN INNES
‘Read next if you loved Three Women by Lisa Taddeo’ WHISTLESnewsletter
Writer On The Shelf
HAZEL BARKWORTH grew up in Stirlingshire and North Yorkshire before studying English at Oxford. She then moved to London where she spent her days working as a cultural consultant, and her nights dancing in a pop band at glam rock clubs.
Hazel is a graduate of both the Oxford University MSt in Creative Writing and the Curtis Brown Creative Novel-Writing course. She now works in Oxford, where she lives with her partner. HEATSTROKE is her first novel.
Please do have a read of some of the other reviews on this tour.