When you become a mother your life is no longer your own. You are on constant call 24/7, weekends, holidays, non-stop, all day every day. There is a huge amount of pressure to get it right for your children. Making them healthy meals from scratch, going to the best school available and having a social life jam-packed with extra activities. It’s exhausting. You live in fear that the minute you take your eyes off them something will happen. Something bad, and it will haunt you for the rest of your life. The what ifs and the should I haves don’t stop along with the guilt for those blissful few seconds where you let your guard down.
Today I am on the blog tour for The Fallout (Published 2nd April 2020) By Rebecca Thornton. A big thank you to the publishers, HarperCollins for my copy to review, always appreciated. And also to the wonderful Anne for the invite, thank you.
About The Author
Rebecca Thornton is an alumna of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course, where she was tutored by Esther Freud and Tim Lott. Her writing has been published in The Guardian, You Magazine, Daily Mail, Prospect Magazine and The Sunday People amongst others. She has reported from the Middle East, Kosovo and the UK. She now lives in West London with her husband and two children. The Fallout is her third novel.
At the school gates, there’s no such thing as yesterday’s news . . .
When Liza’s little boy has an accident at the local health club, it’s all anyone can talk about.
Was nobody watching him?
Where was his mother?
Who’s to blame?
The rumours, the finger-pointing, the whispers – they’re everywhere. And Liza’s best friend, Sarah, desperately needs it to stop.
Because Sarah was there when it happened. It was all her fault. And if she’s caught out on the lie, everything will fall apart.
The story opens with a WhatsApp group message with mums congratulating each other on various births of their babies. Victoria takes it a step further and announces she’s already enrolling her child in school. We then read a private chat between Sara and Liza laughing and joking about the smug mums. This sets the tone perfectly for what is to follow. Private WhatsApp messages gossiping, emails and interviews composed by West London Gazette about the accident at The Vale Club. Whispers and rumours all tangled up in each other creating more gossip and lies. Five years later after that first WhatsApp message we witness the series of events that unfold at the health club on that grey day. We see the lies, the secrets and a friendship fall apart.
The narrative follows both Sarah and Liza. Sarah is told in third person whereas Liza’s is first. I was curious why Thornton had decided to tell the story this way but the more I learned about the two characters, the more sense it made. I admire the way Thornton writes them and loved every second.
Sarah lets her thoughts run away with her and is already in a vulnerable state given her recent tragic loss. She gets flustered easily and panics, allowing anxiety to take over. Her body language gives her away as she fidgets or nervously looks down at her phone. I felt myself holding my breath and panicking when I read Sarah’s narrative because she lied and carries the guilt with her. I felt involved in that deception and could only watch as she kept digging herself a deeper hole, more lies, more secrets and more guilt. She feels inferior most of the time and compares her life to the glamorous Ella Bradby who she is obsessed with. She stalks her facebook and is constantly on the lookout for anything to spill the tea. When she bumps into her on the day of the accident she forgets to check on Jack and is more focussed on learning about why Ella went AWOL all those years ago. It is because of this obsession that Sarah finds herself in a difficult situation and deceives her best friend. You want to scream, shout at her to do the right thing. It’s compelling to read as you’re on edge waiting for the truth to reveal itself.
Liza appears to be a bit more switched on and organised. But what Thornton does brilliantly throughout is hint at how appearances can be deceiving. Not everything that is presented to the reader is as it appears. This ties in effectively with how the other mums at the school are always judging each other. They gossip and open private WhatsApp messages promising not to say anything and then offload the goods in another. Liza is harbouring her own secret and starts to question her parenting, how she should have been watching Jack and no wonder her husband, Gav wants to separate. She is struggling and can’t even find comfort in the form of her best friend as she herself notices Sarah’s strange behaviour. You feel for her as everyone around her seems to be judging or hiding something. It builds the tension to the point of eruption leaving no one left unscathed.
At the heart of this story is friendship. To do the right thing and protect your friend. Yet the execution becomes a web of lies and distrust. Everyone judging each other and playing Chinese Whispers, making up their own stories to suit their own agendas. It’s extremely frustrating as you want to just snap them out of it. People judging at face value and talking behind each others backs. No loyalty or good intentions. They themselves portray the appearance that they are ok when in fact they have their own mess trailing behind them just waiting to be mopped up. It’s all passive aggressive comments and snide remarks that only alerts you to how harsh this world can be and how you no longer wish to be a part of it and so leave the WhatsApp conversation.
I give The Fallout By Rebecca Thornton a Four out of Five paw rating.
As a mother myself, the premise of this book hooked me. One of my worst fears is something happening to my boys and not being able to prevent it. Thornton’s writing is relatable, showing the reader how one little lie can spiral out of control and cause catastrophic waves. She pulls you in, leaving you hungry for more, this book is difficult to put down. You just have to know everything. You NEED to know!
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy!
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