I would like to thank Vic from instabooktours for my spot on this blogtour.
A hidden community…
Thirty years ago, in the English countryside, a commune was set up. Led by Uncle Saviour, it was supposed to be a place of love, peace and harmony. But what started out as paradise turned into hell.
A shocking abduction…
Now, two young children have vanished from their home in the middle of the night. Their parents are frantic, the police are at a loss.
A twisting case…
DI Ottoline is leading the search – her only clue a mask found in the woods. Could the key lie in events that took place decades ago, when a dream of a new way of life became something far more sinister?
This story is told through timelines and three points of view. The first timeline and point of view begins in September 1987 leading up to present day by the end of the book. It’s told from the point of view of Love, in 1987 she is 6, living on a farm with her mum, dad, sister and uncle Saviour. On this specific day her father had been angry, him and Saviour had an argument which led to a fight. Love watched everything, after the fight her father had given her mum and sister a hug but not Love. He left that day. By this time there were three other families living on the farm. It was Uncle Saviour who had given Love her name she had originally been named Zoe, Peace’s old name had been Clare, and her mother’s name had been Joyce but it was now Charity. Her father had hated that their names had been changed. To Love her father never seemed to smile, his words always came out too fast and jumbly. She was pleased her father left that day, because Uncle Saviour gave them everything. He even cuddled Love something her father never did. As this part of the story moves on Love becomes more and more infatuated with Uncle Saviour, she believes everything he says and does. She idolises him. As time passes Charity and Peace begin to doubt Uncle Saviour they want to leave but will they ever be able to. Love has no respect for either of them all she wants is Uncle Saviour and his belief that they would all become pure and reach what he called Total Illumination. To get this purity some of the things Uncle Saviour had people do without questions is hard to believe. But they all believe in him, he is charismatic. Love is also determined to be Queen Bee and will follow everything Uncle Saviour says and does,
The second point of view is that of 10 year old Hannah and later her mum Lily. Set in the present day. It’s 2 am when Hannah hears a noise she gets out of bed to look, noticing her 7 year old brother Greg is not in his bed. Hannah creeps downstairs to see what he is doing. She finds him in the kitchen dressed in his Frog Onesie and skate shoes, he has his ladybird backpack on the table. When Hannah asks what he’s doing he tells her he can’t say as it’s a secret. He won’t tell her who the secret is with but does say he’s going to see a fairy, She wants to stop him going out but he won’t let her in the end she leaves with him. Who has made Greg promise not to tell? Who is he going to meet?
Lily looks at the clock it’s 2am, what was the noise she heard? Was someone in the house? She gets out of bed leaving her husband John asleep by her side, she looks around the house and sees nothing amiss so gets back into bed. She didn’t check the children assuming they were asleep she didn’t want to disturb them. But then she can’t get back to sleep, she finds some sleeping tablets she’s had a while and takes two of them, it’s not long before she is completely zonked. The next thing she knows is John is shaking her telling her the children aren’t in bed. From then on Lily is totally frantic throughout the rest of the story. Not listening to anything the police say she is on a mission to find her children.
The third point of view is that of DCI Ottoline, who is called out in the middle of the night to a dead body found in Dogwood. Whoever it was had been beaten up. She is also informed that children are involved, a witness had seen two children being chased through the woods. A boy and a girl, the witness believed the children had seen the whole beating and then took off into Grimstone woods chased by two men. This is Ottoline’s worst nightmare she was still hung up in a case from 4 years earlier after a child Isabelle Hart had completely vanished without a trace, the case still haunts her. She couldn’t afford to fail again, she needed to find these two children. Throughout the story we get to know her team and the relationships and bonds they have working together. As Ottoline works flat out trying to solve the murder and find the two missing children. But there is more than one murder that night, another body is found in the woods. who killed the second person?
This is a well thought out story which keeps you engaged throughout, the chapters for the cult are spread over the years seeing Love grow from a 6 year old to 31 years old in the present time, what happened over the years? Is uncle Saviour still in charge? Did Charity and Peace stay? The tension gradually builds, I did find this part of the story to be initially quite slow but as we start to race towards the end the whole atmosphere becomes more and more tense. Leading to the brilliant climactic ending bringing the three points of view together. Lily seems to be all over the place there were times I had to think this is fiction as a parent of a missing child you would be frantic and want to go looking for them which is what Lily did, but in reality it wouldn’t happen as they would have been assigned a family liaison officer who would be with them all the time, this was my only real stumbling block for this part of the story as Lily turned up at houses of children that knew her children as she tried to find out if there was anything they knew, but it was said numerous times the children had already spoken to the police. At times I found Lily to be quite annoying, but I got what she was doing, what any parent would want to do.
I did like the police team, I am hoping this is book one of a series as I would really like to learn more of DCI Ottoline and DS Dibbs, as you could feel the tension in the air between those two and I really wanted them to see each other at the end.
There were some parts that for me personally were a little slow and dragged a bit, but then when you get towards the final chapters everything goes up a few notches and you are completely engrossed, heart pounding, will they get the children in time? Will everyone come out alive? The pace really picked up. Parts of the story were so atmospheric, especially when Hannah and Greg were in the woods in the pitch black trying to hide. Imagine being 10 and 7 having just witnessed someone being beaten and then being chased it would be so terrifying. This was so well written. I did like how the ends were tied together as the story finished leaving nothing hanging loose. Along with a few surprising bits.
If you like a good slow build story leading to a fast paced ending then this may be a book for you. It’s definitely worth a read, and I will be watching to see what Abby Davies writes next. This is a definite ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read for me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After gaining a degree in English Literature, Abby taught English and wrote in her spare time. Abby lives in Wiltshire with her husband, daughter and two hilarious cocker spaniels, Tilly and Bilbo. MOTHER LOVES ME is her debut novel. THE CULT is her second book.