Book Review: Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

Format: Paperback, ARC
Links: Amazon UK | Goodreads
Blurb: In her guise as ‘Dear Amy’, agony aunt for a local newspaper, Margot Lewis has dealt with all sorts of letters – but never one like this…

Dear Amy,
I’ve been kidnapped by a strange man.
I don’t know where I am.
Please help me,
Bethan Avery

This must be a cruel hoax. Because Bethan Avery has been missing for nearly two decades.

But as the present-day search intensifies for another missing schoolgirl, Margot is unnerved enough to take the letter to the police, hoping they will dismiss it as a sick joke.

Instead, they let Margot in on a little secret. One that confirms her darkest fears and tangles her up in the search for the sender, which could save one young girl’s life and cost Margot her own…


Review: The premise of this book sounded utterly brilliant; a random girl goes missing then Margot Lewis, a teacher from the girl’s old school, who also works as an ‘Agony Aunt’ for a magazine under the name, ‘Dear Amy’, starts receiving weird letters from a girl, Bethan Avery, who also went missing twenty years ago and was never found. Is it a hoax? Why is Margot receiving the letters and nobody else? Is someone playing a cruel trick on her or is it something more sinister? As the letter’s keep coming Margot wants to find out who is writing them but she ends up in a spiral of danger and self-doubt that she has to go through to get out of. It was a highly anticipated book of mine for this year so I was eager to get around to starting it.

The first thing I noticed was that I struggled with the “flow” of the writing style. Like, I found myself having to re-read words and phrases a couple of times for them to fully go in. I don’t know why this is, there was nothing intrinsically wrong with the style of writing or the language used I just… I don’t know. This may be why it took me a while longer to read than say, previous books I’ve read. It was written (mostly) from Margot’s point of view and maybe it was because I didn’t find her a particularly interesting character is the reason I struggled. It just didn’t work for me in that aspect; but please don’t let that put you off.

However, saying that, at around 3/4 through, the book really picked up pace and I was hooked and eager to find out what was going to happen. The book was nicely paced; it wasn’t too slow or too quick but there was definitely a “wham” moment, where I just mentioned, when so much is revealed to you at once that it’s a bit jaw-dropping. It gives you a lot to question about the story and the characters but doesn’t answer everything which is why I thought the finale worked brilliantly. It was intense and exciting and I definitely found myself cheering for Margot. Having not found her interesting or a particularly loveable character throughout the majority of the book, I felt she redeemed herself in my eyes in that moment.

I’m so into Thrillers and Mysteries that I’m not often surprised by things in books any more and honestly, the more revolting and shocking the better. This is where I think this book fell short for me; I wanted more shock factor and more gory and gruesome details. Although there was an obviously very disgusting and shocking element to the book , I wanted more. More to make my emotions sky-rocket. I’ve given this book 3 stars because whilst it was readable and enjoyable and shone in parts, on a whole I didn’t find the wow factor I was hoping for.

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One thought on “Book Review: Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

  1. Pingback: Quarterly Book Round-up (1/4) | Jenny in Neverland

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