The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O’Neal

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Welcome to my stop on the TLC Book Blog Tour for The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O’Neal.

This was an incredible read and so unexpected. I was thinking a beachy, light, family drama. This is that, plus a missing person’s case, a lost love story, generations of emotional trauma, and *trigger warning* human trafficking and sexual assault. I know, how could that much fit together at all (let alone perfectly) in 350 pages? BUT IT DOES.

Zoe’s best friend has gone missing so she takes her recently traumatized daughter, Isabel, back to London from Arizona to help look for her. But Zoe has her own trauma to face waiting for her in the form of her mother, Poppy, and her first love, Sage. Everyone comes together under Zoe’s grandmother Lillian’s roof.

Written in alternating points of few, Zoe, Poppy and Isabel tell their story from trauma to newly budding relationships while searching for Zoe’s missing friend. And let me just point out that I rarely see all of the characters so well written especially with age gaps like this. From Isabel at 15 to Lillian in her 80s, every character sounded like their age. For example, Isabel was smart but young so still sassy especially when Zoe tells her what to do. In contrast, Poppy was the wise-hippie-grandmother to Isabel while still frustrated with Zoe and their inability (read:Zoe’s unwillingness) to connect.

This was such a great read and I definitely recommend for fans of family drama, murder mystery, cozy mystery, or even just romance!

*Huge thanks to TLC and Barbara O’Neal for my copy to read and share with you all!*

One of Travel + Leisure’s most anticipated books of summer 2020.

From the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes a story of four generations of women grappling with family betrayals and long-buried secrets.

It’s been years since Zoe Fairchild has been to the small Devon village of her birth, but the wounds she suffered there still ache. When she learns that her old friend and grandmother’s caretaker has gone missing, Zoe and her fifteen-year-old daughter return to England to help.

Zoe dreads seeing her estranged mother, who left when Zoe was seven to travel the world. As the four generations of women reunite, the emotional pain of the past is awakened. And to complicate matters further, Zoe must also confront the ex-boyfriend she betrayed many years before.

Anxieties spike when tragedy befalls another woman in the village. As the mystery turns more sinister, new grief melds with old betrayal. Now the four Fairchild women will be tested in ways they couldn’t imagine as they contend with dangers within and without, desperate to heal themselves and their relationships with each other.

Purchase: Amazon Books-a-Million Barnes & Noble

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The Poison Garden by A.J. Banner

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Who is really the crazy one in the latest psychological thriller from A.J. Banner, The Poison Garden? Because I’ll be honest, it could have been any of them from the first page. The opening page brings us to Elise Watters running for her life with a quick, pulse raising one-and-a-half-page prologue. And then we are purposely disoriented, being thrown back to the “before” of the chase with a calm ferry ride back to her island home after attending business on the mainland.

Elise has an interesting life though it seems she tried to make it as dull and peaceful as possible. No drama, just simple things that make her happy – a beautiful home surrounded by beautiful gardens, running an herbal boutique. But she did just lose her mother. She just got married. She just started working full time in the herbal shop inherited from her late mother. She also just came home early to catch her husband in the middle of an affair…among other things.

On top of that, she’s unearthing secrets as quickly as you’ll flip the pages of this book. And, she’s sleep-walking?! Not entirely strange in and of itself, but the activities she’s enjoying while doing so are a little suspect.

The duality of all these characters is incredible. There is the crazy woman that her husband was caught with (what exactly is she involved in?). Her neighbor is one of her good friends, but also a grieving schemer. Her ex-husband is around every corner because he’s the island’s go-to Mr. Fix IT…or he’s stalking her. Small island; hard to tell. And then there is Elise’s husband himself, good looking, patient favorite Dr. Kieran Lund. He seems like a good guy who made a mistake. He does everything to make it up to Elise-and I mean everything. They go through a lot in such a short time and he really is holding Elise upright. But it’s either him who’s crazy or Elise. It can’t be both…right?

A.J. Banner does such a great job of misdirection in The Poison Garden that you really won’t know what’s what and who’s after who until the very end. I LOVED the ending. Oh my gosh, just such a good twist! (Let’s be honest, twistS.) I highly recommend this fast paced, psychological thriller with a poisonous touch-it’s just up my alley!

And now, a comprehensive list of people I suspected throughout the book: Everyone.

Enjoy!