Safe and Sound by Phillipa East #review @hqstories

Safe and Sound book cover

Title: Safe and Sound
Author: Philippa East
Publisher: HQ

Synopsis:

Home can be the most dangerous place…

In a small London bedsit, a radio is playing. A small dining table is set for three, and curled up on the sofa is a body…

Jenn is the one who discovers the woman, along with the bailiffs. All indications suggest that the tenant – Sarah Jones – was pretty, charismatic and full of life.

So how is it possible that her body has lain undiscovered for ten whole months?

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My Review:

Safe and Sound is an engrossing, powerful novel about Jennifer, a Housing Association manager, who finds a woman dead in one of the flats she manages – and the body has been there a while, by the looks of it. But why was this woman, who was known to have a lot of friends and a loving family, not found for months on end? Jennifer becomes obsessed with finding out the truth…

We are given snippets of Jennifer’s own past peppered amongst the other clues and information in this story. We know that something awful happened a while ago that has made her paranoid about her young son’s development, and led to a tricky period where her life started to fall apart. As the book continues, we find out more about her background, and through this we can start to piece together why Jennifer behaves the way she does at times. We get an insight into her whirling, paranoid and seemingly unstable mind, and this leads the reader to wonder if we can trust her. Is she a reliable narrator?

I often really enjoy books where this question becomes more and more pertinent.

The novel is fairly slow in parts, especially at the start where the scene is set and we start to see Jennifer unravel. But it’s all there for a good reason – the intensity builds and we start to question Jennifer’s choices and judgements. As the present day narrative continues, we also get an insight into a mysterious past storyline with characters who are only children. In these scenes we can feel that something bad is coming, but are unsure what – who are these people in the past storylines? How do they relate to the present-day storyline… if at all? I really enjoyed the build up and the tension that eminates from these pages.

Safe and Sound is an intriguing, well-written read. I didn’t feel like it had unnecessary drama where it wasn’t needed; instead it’s a very well crafted, intense study of a woman teetering closer to the edge as she tries to uncover the truth. I really felt for Jennifer at times and it portrays the way mental health can suddenly deteriorate in a raw and, I felt, honest way. Definitely recommended.

Rating: 4/5

Many thanks to HQ for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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