20.1.13

Book Review: The Girl Below by Bianca Zander

After ten years in New Zealand, Suki returns to London, to a city that won't let her in. However, a chance visit with Peggy, an old family friend who still lives in the building where she grew up, convinces Suki that there is a way to reconnect with the life she left behind a decade earlier.
But the more she becomes involved with Peggy's dysfunctional family , including Peggy's wayward sixteen-year-old grandson, the more Suki finds herself mysteriously slipping back in time- to the night of a party her parents threw in their garden more than twenty years ago, when something happened in an old, long-unused air raid shelter...
If I had to sum up this book in one word then I would choose dysfunctional. Everything about it is dysfunctional, the characters, events, settings and emotions. Suki has returned to London after living in New Zealand for ten years. She has no family in the UK but she soon becomes embroiled in Peggy's family. Peggy used to live in the apartment above her when she was growing up. Suki has very vivid memories of her childhood and one night in particular. Her parents threw a party and then something happened in the old air raid shelter in their garden. Something that is still haunting Suki in the present.
I don't want to give the plot away but Suki spends a lot of time with Peggy's family and she comes to realise that she must exorcise the past as her memories are preventing her from having a future.
Bianca Znder writes quite a haunting tale. As a reader, I wasn't sure at times what was real and what was imagined by Suki. The book just oozes mystery, I was intrigued by Suki's past and seriously concerned for her future.
I would recommend this book, it gave me a lot to think about and the story really draws you in.

Dot Scribbles Rating: 4/5

Many thanks to Alma Books for sending me a copy to review, The Girl Below is published on February 24th.

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