Review: The Wrong Girl by Laura Wilson

Tuesday 2 June 2015
Title: The Wrong Girl
Author: Laura Wilson
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: 4th June 2015
Pages: 384
ISBN: 9781782063094
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
In 2006, three-year-old Phoebe Piper went missing on a family holiday. Despite massive publicity and a long investigation, no trace of her was ever found.

Seven years later, Molly Jackson, aged ten and recently uprooted to a Norfolk village, finds her great uncle Dan dead in his bed. Molly remembers nothing of her early years, but she's been sure for ages that she is Phoebe. Everything in her life points to it and now, finally, she has proof.

Dan's death brings his hippie sister Janice back to Norfolk where she's re-united with Molly's mother Suze, the daughter she gave up for adoption decades earlier. Janice discovers that a former lover, Joe Vincent, lives nearby. Joe was a rock star who, at the height of his fame, turned his back on public life.

As she is drawn back into the past, Janice begins to wonder if Dan's death and Joe's reputation as a reclusive acid casualty are quite what they appear...

And then Molly disappears...

If you are looking for a book that contains a brilliant mystery, with untold twists and turns, then you have found it with The Wrong Girl. Molly Jackson is aged ten when she finds her uncle Dan dead, not only that but she is convinced that she is actually Phoebe Piper, a girl who went missing seven years ago. Molly's chapters aren't written in the first person, but Laura Wilson really gives the reader a sense of how Molly thinks and acts, those chapters having a real childlike quality, even being a little creepy at times and adding to the overall mystery because Molly is keeping a discovery that she has made about her uncle to herself and we as a reader don't even know what it is at first.

Molly's mother is Suzie who was adopted. The pair recently moved to Norfolk and it is up to Suzie to contact her biological mother, Janice, who is stunned not only to hear from the daughter she still thinks about, but to also find out that her brother has passed away. Janice returns to Norfolk nervous about meeting her daughter and granddaughter and it isn't long before she develops suspicions about Dan's death, and this is where things start to get really interesting and at times, pretty intense and it ultimately shows that the secrets we keep, always come out in the end. The characterisation in this story is just fantastic and the scenes with our characters and the dialogue between them all are so well written, that it feels as if you are a part of the book yourself, watching all of the events unfold.

Some books and stories are just impossible to discuss, and the one in The Wrong Girl is probably one of the most difficult, especially when so much of my enjoyment lies in those twists that Laura delivers, and those buried secrets that come tumbling out as the story progresses. The back of the book mentions celebrity obsession, and I wondered when that would come into play. It isn't the modern day obsession of Twitter stalkers and waiting outside hotels but a quite chilling (and at times thrilling) obsession that completely creeped me out, and one which I thoroughly believed in because of the quite deranged character that Laura has created here.

The Wrong Girl had me thinking and guessing all the way through, and even when I thought everything was about to be wrapped up, something else happened! It is a brilliant character-driven story and it is also extremely thought-provoking. The storytelling is masterful, Laura Wilson knowing exactly how to captivate a reader and keep them there until the end. The characterisation is brilliant, with characters you can really believe in and imagine as real people. It is a story that will definitely leave you thinking about the book and its characters even after turning the final page and starting a new book. I highly recommend The Wrong Girl.


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