Familiar Strangers

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 May 2019

Member Reviews

'Familiar Strangers' has such a lot of promise. As an intense read, Jackie Walsh has that bang on. I mean, with a line coming out of Becca's mothers mouth being, 'I took you, Becca. You’re not my daughter.', it really could not be anything other than intense. I don't know about you, but those eight words sent tingles up and down my spine.

As an emotive read, again, Jackie Walsh nails that element as well because the storyline also deals with the turmoil behind early onset Alzheimers and the effects it has both on the person, and the family. Those parts of the book aren't easy to read, and I am sure that they aren't very easy to live through either, however I am very glad that I was able to have my eyes opened to such a heartbreaking illness. I wish there was more help for the sufferers and their families. I cannot even begin to imagine how emotional seeing your loved one going through that must be.

However, like I said at the star, the book has a lot of promise. For me, I found the way everything was brought together wasn't as tight as it could have been. There was a lot of scene setting and less actual action. I know that scenes need to be set in order for the storyline to work, I just felt that there was more descriptions about what Becca did daily, instead of the nitty gritty details such as Katie Collins. I also found the ending to be a little bit rushed which was a shame.

Aside from that, I enjoyed the complex family dynamics, the intense relationships, and the uncertainty between each of the characters. I thought that the psychological element of the book was utterly brilliant and left my mind in absolute turmoil. I think that Jackie Walsh has an incredible, incredible talent that I cannot wait to see grow as she releases more books.
Was this review helpful?
Familiar Strangers by Jackie Walsh is the story of Becca Wall.  Becca's mother has onset early Alzheimer's, and she told Becca she was not her biological mother.  Becca is determined to find the truth.  The story moves at a fast pace and kept me guessing til the end with all the twists and turns!  I recommend this book for mystery lovers.  

I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and the publisher.  Thank you.
Was this review helpful?
"Familiar Strangers" by Jackie Walsh 

Becca's mom has Alzheimer.  She tells her she's not her mom, Becca is not her daughter...  Crazy scary!  I can't even imagine how I would feel!  Between wondering if it was the disease making her say that or the truth...  Her life will never be the same... 
Then there's a dead body... 

A good fast paced psychological thriller!
I really loved it! 
I was into it from the start!  Hard to put down! 

I want to read more by Jackie Walsh.  

Thank you to NetGalley and Hera Books for the ARC of this book.  This is my honest review.  All opinions are my own!
Was this review helpful?
𝒮𝓊𝓈𝓅𝑒𝓃𝓈𝑒𝒻𝓊𝓁. 𝒞𝑜𝓂𝓅𝓊𝓁𝓈𝒾𝓋𝑒. 𝐼𝓃𝓉𝓇𝒾𝑔𝓊𝒾𝓃𝑔.

   Jackie Walsh’s debut was addictive, compelling, and suspenseful. Becca is 27 and hasn’t quite figured out what she wants to do with her life. Her loving mother suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s and it has obviously had a huge impact on Becca and her family. One day when Becca was visiting her mother at the care facility her mother tells her “you’re not my daughter, I took you.“ that’s it one lucid moment that might change everything. Becca doesn’t know what to think, but when a woman is murdered who had been looking for her, A complete stranger, she begins to wonder, was there some truth behind my mom’s words? And if so who am I?

   This book had a bit of a whodunit vibe for me, the mystery of who killed Katie Collins (the stranger). Becca was a likable flawed character. Yes she made some questionable choices, but don’t we all? I also really liked how clever it was to have Becca’s mom Nancy make this major revelation, but never be able to explain it. There was a feeling of tension and urgency throughout the story that kept me frantically turning those pages. I felt for Becca, can’t even imagine thinking you aren’t who you think you are. I was really happy she had Jeff by her side throughout the book, and in my mind they end up getting together and living happily ever after.

   This was a well told, well paste, compulsively readable story. And impressive debut and I am looking forward to seeing what is next from Jackie Walsh.

*** many thanks to Hera Books for my copy of this book ***
Was this review helpful?
This is one of those books where I was initially attracted to reading it because the cover looked so interesting. The power of a good book cover really worked here! 

Becca Wall is a character you really can feel sympathy for. Her mother is in a care home suffering with Alzheimer’s and it must be so hard for her to diligently visit each week never knowing if she will remember who she is. When her mother drops the bombshell that she took Becca as a child, Becca isn’t sure whether this was part of her mothers Alzheimer’s or a rare moment of lucidity. 

The second character of note here is Katie, who is looking for Becca, but Becca doesn’t know who Katie is, so why is she looking for her? The mystery of these two characters is at the heart of this story and slowly but surely Becca learns more information and starts to piece together why it is Katie has been looking for her. 

This book had a few twists and turns and I spent most of the book thinking it was going to have a certain kind of ending only to be pleasantly surprised when the book took a different turn all together!
Was this review helpful?
Familiar Strangers is a book in which Alzheimer's, a horrific disease, plays a substantial role and this makes it not only completely gripping but also very emotionally resonant too. A lot of what happens is believable and having had a close relative deteriorate and pass away due to complications of the disease I feel it is importantly portrayed in a realistic manner, treated sensitively and compassionately, and has been researched thoroughly. There are a decent amount of twists in the tale which take you by surprise and once you've picked it up the only time you'll be putting it down is when it's concluded.

Walsh is one of those writers who is adept at crafting a novel overflowing with suspense and one in which you don't know who to trust. It has you questioning everyone's intentions right from the beginning. I am amazed that this is a debut as it is a pretty excellent read with relatable characters, a solid plot and a plethora of red herrings and misdirection to keep you guessing. I look forward to her following novels. Many thanks to Hera Books for an ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Edge of your seat book!  Keeps you guessing!  I never expected the ending!!  I had it figured out until the last few pages. Definitely recommend!!
Was this review helpful?
This is a Good debut. Ms. Walsh did a really good job there.
The book was intriguing and for sure I didn't expect the ending that was put there which was a good surprise.
So why only three stars? Because I couldn't follow the plot easily due to the type of narration - like Becca's mind was ALMOST EVERYWHERE and that hadn't lead me into the book without any problems. Also, Becca wasn't an exactly loveable character in the end. I was intrigued by what was going on but not exactly what had happened to her.
I have high hopes for the next book written by Ms. Walsh as this one was good for a debut.
Was this review helpful?
Edge of your seat book!  Keeps you guessing. Becca’s mother is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.  Becca, her father and brother Danny all are devastated by this. Nancy is in a care home.  Becca visits  her often taking care of her. One day Nancy drops a bomb telling her she’s not her daughter. Becca doesn’t believe it   But then her life falls apart. Is it true or is it just rambling of a sick woman?
Was this review helpful?
What a ride!  I never expected the ending. I had it figured out until  those last few pagex!  Such a twisty and suspenseful book!!
Was this review helpful?
This is an intense gripping debut by a promising new author.

It has a unique story line, an engaging main character and a compulsively readable plot with unexpected twists and turns all the way till the big reveal.

Becca's world is about to be turned upside down when her mother who is suffering from early stages of Alzheimer's tells her that she is not her biological daughter. Things go from bad to worse when a woman mysteriously disappears while looking for Becca. What is the truth, who is the real mother, and does Becca herself know who she is?

Thanks Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
OMG! Alzheimer’s is a terrible condition that robs people of their lives, leaving their family to grieve for their loss of that person way before they die. Becca had watched the mum that had loved her all her life slip away from her a little more every day with only rare moments of recognition. One of her mum’s moments of clarity took away everything real for Becca. Just five words, “You are not my daughter”. Then her mum was lost again in her own world. I felt like a tidal wave had hit me! I read it again, surely it was part of her mum’s illness.
When a woman goes missing Becca is drawn into another world of uncertainty. This book was really giving me an uneasiness that I don’t normally feel. I couldn’t help but put myself in Becca’s shoes but when I did the rush of emotions were so very overwhelming. What begins as a little digging into the past soon gets to a point of no return, so many times I wished her to stop and hold onto what she had.
What incredible characters there are in this story, that even now just won’t leave me alone. I absolutely loved the corkscrew of events that took me much deeper and much darker than I could have thought possible. I had a huge tissue moment that I don’t think I will ever forget. I didn’t want to put this book down and yet at times I felt that I needed to stop this nightmare swimming round in my mind. What a story!
Becca is an incredible character that feels so alive, every explosive emotion captured and transferred to me. This is a massive must read. Shocking! Devastating! Deadly and utterly mind-blowing!
I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
Was this review helpful?
Rebecca Hall’s mum is in a care home, she has Alzheimer’s and her good days are now being overtaken by the bad ones. Some days she doesn’t recognise Becca at all and it’s heartbreaking….

On one of her lucid moments she tells Becca, ‘You’re not my daughter, I took s was just the dementia talking…..wasn’t it?…..

Shaken and upset, Becca returns home but feels someone has been in her apartment….but nothing is missing and even her neighbour, Jeff thinks she may be imagining it….

Watching TV she sees news of a missing woman, Katie Collins….why does she look familiar?

When Katie’s body is found, the police have questions for Becca, but she knows nothing and is left with many many questions…..her life begins to unravel, she doesn’t know who she is any more…

This is a mix of family drama and thriller and Jackie Walsh has written an empathetic description of the horrendous disease, that is Alzheimer’s (my own mother has this and I know how heartbreaking it is to see the person you know slowly disappear)..

The clever writing also makes you wonder just how far we would go to protect our children, it also shows how Becca’s life starts to fall apart, losing her job, her home and almost her sanity. A totally engrossing thriller, with many suspects that   will keep you guessing right to the very end….I loved every minute and can recommend this unreservedly…

Thank you to The publishers, the author and NetGalley for a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
Becca is working two jobs to live in her apartment. Her mother has Alzheimers and is in a care facility. One day while visiting her mom tells her that she is not her daughter and that she took her. Her mom is mostly nonverbal so Becca cannot get anything else out of her mother. While this thought is running over and over through her head strange things start happening. A missing woman who was looking for her, the police asking questions, and she thinks someone has been in her apartment.

Becca does not know what is real and what is not. Her world is thrown into a tailspin and starts to one piece as a time fall apart. Did her mother take her? If so, how and why?  Who else knew?

The book also touches on the loss a family feels when living with a family member with Alzheimers.  There is a deep emotional loss between Becca and her mother.

This is a debut book by Jackie Walsh. It moves at nice pace and keeps the reader interested.  I enjoyed this book and would de definitely read more from this author. 

Thank you Netgalley and Hera for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Mystery & Thrillers 
Pub Date: May 20, 2019
Was this review helpful?
Familiar Strangers by Jackie Walsh

Digging in the dirt and digging for dirt...that is pretty much what anchors this story of a woman who seems a bit lost while she deals with the slow death her mother faces dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.  It wasn’t easy liking Rebecca due to the choices she made throughout the story – choices that to me were destructive but also perhaps a cry for help. There is not enough about her life “before” to really know why she is in the jobs she has or why she has made the questionable choices she has made. She has an ill mother, aging father, brother and pregnant sister-in-law but no real friends or goals or aspirations that I could ascertain. 

When she is approached by the police about a missing woman she wonders why. She wonders even more when the woman turns up dead and the police are still asking questions. The mystery of who Katie Collins is and why someone would want to kill her is what Rebecca begins to focus on. The question of motivation and all the rest is eventually sussed out but in the end Rebecca still remains a bit of an amorphous character to me and I wonder just what she will choose to do with her life in the future. 

What I liked: 
* Not really knowing till near the end who the killer was
* The plotting and pace
* The feeling of mystery and darkness
* Jeff – although I am not sure why he became involved in helping Rebecca

What I didn’t like: What I was supposed not to like...and that is as it should be

What I wondered about at the end: 
* Rebecca – would have liked to know her better
* Where both Rebecca’s and Katie’s mothers were and why they were such lax parents
* And...a few other things

Did I enjoy this book? Yes 
Would I read more by this author? Yes

Thank you to NetGalley, Hera and BOTSB for the ARC – This is my honest review.

4 Stars
Was this review helpful?
I loved the premise of the story, a mother with Alzheimer's in a nursing home suddenly uttering the words - You are not mine, I took you!! And the daughter Becca's world was absolutely shattered. On the other hand, an unknown woman was found murdered close to her home, and the cops started investigating her. 

Jackie Walsh with her debut kept me enthralled for most of the book. I kept egging the main character to move faster. The pages of kindle sure did turn fast. I needed to know the secret of her birth, the life she had been living. Not a single thing seemed to foretell the story of her past. I liked seeing how she persevered to find clues since the truth was hidden in her mother's lost world. 

In some ways I loved the way Becca's circumstances were described, she seemed trapped. Only the truth would release her from the prison of someone else's making. Searching for information about the dead woman brought her very close to the edge of the precipice where freefall was the only option. Walsh's writing brought out the desperation so clearly that I kept inspecting every line to get  an inkling about the past. 

The book with its story kept me hooked for those 3 hours allowing me to escape into Becca's world with its familiar strangers.
Was this review helpful?
Familiar Strangers is a really intriguing debut which really grabbed me from the first chapter.

I instantly warmed to Becca. She’s a little directionless, working in dead ends jobs, just living day to day. Her fragile world is sent into a tailspin when her mother, who is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s, says that she’s not her daughter, she took her as a baby. 

On top of that she gets questioned about the disappearance of a woman called Katie Collins, who the police believe was looking for her. She sets about looking for answers, with a few questionable decisions along the way. But what will she do when she finds out the truth?

This is such a good psychological thriller, the right amount of mystery and interesting characters which had me really emotionally invested in what happened to them.

I will say I would have liked a little more from the ending, I felt there wasn’t enough of the aftermath of the killer reveal but of course that’s just me nitpicking.

I’d recommend Familiar Strangers to anyone who likes a quality psychological thriller with great pace and tension that doesn’t let up throughout.

Can’t wait to see what Jackie Walsh does next!
Was this review helpful?
One day, Becca visits her mother in the care home that she has been in since her early-onset Alzheimer’s deteriorated to the point where she needed full time professional care. During this visit, Nancy has a seemingly lucid moment where she declares that Becca isn’t her daughter, that she took her. This news is like a bolt from the blue for Becca, who has never suspected that her roots lie anywhere else than her family. As quick as the moment comes, Nancy disappears back into herself and cannot clarify the bombshell that she has landed. Becca is left confused by the whole situation and wonders rather this is nothing more than confusion from her mum, words that she didn’t mean – but there’s a part of her that is also questioning everything she knows. 

To add to the difficulties that Becca is having with her mother’s health and her father’s subsequent withdrawal from enjoying anything in life – Becca receives a phone call from the police investigating the disappearance of a woman who was apparently off to find ‘Rebecca Wall’. A woman as to whom Becca has no recollection of every knowing or ever meeting. The police seem hell bent on proving that Becca is involved but unwilling to share any details with her. 

Familiar Strangers is such a brilliant read, engaging right from the start with a brilliant, and at times completely annoying, protagonist. Becca is at times frustrating as she doesn’t help herself in her quest to find out the reason that Katie Collins went missing looking for her. What is clear is that there are lots of secrets but as to whether they are anything to do with Katie is far from clear. 

Jackie Walsh’s writing makes you question everything and everyone – similarly to Becca, you are made to feel that everyone is a suspect! I got so drawn into the narrative and also wanted to know why Katie was searching for Becca and what happened to her that I pretty much read this book in one day – I just needed to keep reading, wanting to know more. I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to read this in a day (thanks to my husband’s cycling sportive!) as I definitely would not wanted to have put it down! 

This is brimming with suspense and red herrings that takes its reader on the journey alongside Becca as the secrets unravel and the truth comes out. A fantastic read which I highly recommend – but make sure you have a clear diary to maximise your reading time!
Was this review helpful?
This is a thrilling book for people who want to read a thriller with a twist they couldn't possibly imagine.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy...

Omg! That was crazy story ever! I absolutely loved it! 

Looking forward to read more book from this author soon...
Was this review helpful?