Keep Her Quiet is the latest explosive thriller from bestselling writer, Emma Curtis.
On a dark and stormy night at the back end of the 1980s, Jenny Creasey gives birth to a long awaited baby girl Sophie. She’s beside herself with happiness; her world is complete. Although husband Leo has never wanted children, 9 months previously Jenny had a one-night-stand at a corporate conference & has since managed to trick Leo into thinking that their contraception failed. He believes the tiny child is the result of this happy accident and how can he fail to fall in love with her once she’s here?
However unbeknownst to Jenny, Leo isn’t as green as he’s cabbage looking. He knows she’s slept with someone else because despite her need for a baby, he had a vasectomy years before. He’s absolutely furious with Jenny and determines to make her pay for her deception.
Lovely couple eh?
Just after Sophie is born Leo gets a call asking him to come to the family’s second home, a cottage in a remote village outside of London as a tree has fallen through the roof. Jenny doesn’t want him to go but he convinces her that he needs to, and proceeds to hurtle down there in his car, getting progressively drunker as the miles pass by.
On the same night, Hannah, a desperate teenage girl is also giving birth to a baby that will change the course of her life. She’s been ostracised by her immediate and extended family for bringing shame upon them (although the circumstances around this are hardly her fault), and she takes the baby home to a dilapidated house that’s been provided for her through social services – it just happens to be very close to Sparrow Cottage, the Creasey’s storm damaged properly. Hannah, exhausted from birthing her baby, falls asleep trying to keep the little girl warm with her body heat. Tragically when she awakes the baby girl is dead and she’s is distraught. She panics, thinks she’s going to be accused of murder and runs out into the street to try and get help.
This is where their worlds irrevocably and tragically collide with devastating repercussions. I thought the next few chapters were a bit far fetched until I remembered the 1990s and how the past is so different to the present it’s like a different country.
We fast forward 16 years and find Jenny and Leo still together. Leo’s had some success as an author and the combination of a TV interview and a few chance comments from a school bully leads us to find out just what the ramifications were of those decisions he and Hannah made all those years ago, and how they are still affecting the lives of the people involved so many years later.
Then the lies start to unravel and the action really starts.
To start off with I thought this was going to be really slow and a generic potboiler kind of thriller with a twist you can see a mile off. I hated all of the characters, they were all lying to each other and seemed self-serving and careless with other people’s emotions, and I didn’t really see me sticking with it. However there’s a big reveal really early on that changes the whole pace and tone of the book and from that point on I was hooked. It’s full of surprises, some absolutely jaw-dropping moments and revelations, and although there was a plot line that I felt was a bit crow barred in for the shock factor, it was all plausible enough if you set your mind back to 1990 and the baby so easily snatched from a maternity ward. It’s not really one story, to be honest, it’s more like 3 or four with various themes running through it – but all intertwined so cleverly that you couldn’t really pick them apart.
So if there were elements I didn’t enjoy, why 5 stars? There were a few occasions when I felt that a particular character only behaved in a certain way to further the plot, and I really did dislike them all at the beginning – but isn’t that a measure of how good the writing is? Given how invested I was in this story and the potential outcomes – including the tone of the ending which I can’t really talk about without spoilers – it really deserves 5 stars.
Thank you to the Pigeonhole book club, Emma and the publishers for inviting me to read a review copy- this is my unbiased and personal review