Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication date: 11th July 2019 (Pb)
Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant.
Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.
And the police think she did it…
Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:
Clear her name
Save her baby
Find the killer
But can she do it in time?Taken from Hodder & Stoughton
I came across On My Life purely by chance. I was scrolling through Twitter one day and saw that the lovely Louise Swannell, Publicity Director at Headline Books, was offering proofs. Having a case of serious FOMO, I managed to get a copy and here I am.
It’s a tricky book to review without revealing any spoilers. However, I would say that On My Life is a book that takes over your brain and although I didn’t have a profound sense of excitement about it, I couldn’t help but keep picking it up until I was finished.
This is a book that burns slowly and explodes in spectacular fashion towards the end. I did not see the ending coming at all. Maybe I am just bad at working these things out but I am going to give Clarke the credit for being a brilliant author!
The character development is second-to-none. All of the characters build over the course of the book, revealing parts of their personality and constantly changing your opinions and perspective. Kelly, Jenna’s cellmate, is particularly well developed and I became quite attached to her.
The way Clarke addresses psychological and physical abuse is fascinating. She highlights how abuse is cyclical and people who are victims of abuse are more likely to go on to committing offences. There is also a prominent but not overpowering commentary about the state of prisons in the UK.
If I’m being really picky, I would say there are one or two elements of the book that I felt didn’t quite come together or didn’t entirely (or clearly) benefit the story. However, overall, this is a strong thriller and I would definitely be inclined to read more of Clarke’s work in the future.
Highly recommended for book clubs as there is much to discover and discuss – just make sure no-one spoils it before you get to the end!
Many thanks to Mulholland Books for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
You can support your local bookshop by buying On My Life through them directly, or via Hive.
What do you think of On My Life? Will you be reading it? Let me know in the comments below.