Cover Image: Haven't They Grown

Haven't They Grown

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Member Reviews

I'm sorry, this book was not for me.  I got to 21% where Dom says to Beth "Maybe she's calling herself Jeanette Cater these days. Who cares?" and that was the clincher for me.  I was intrigued by the premise of this story, however, the narrative up to 21% was all the hearsay of the lead character, Beth, desperately trying to convince her family of what she saw.  I found it a bit tedious with not much happening by way of storyline to keep my interest.  Thank you though for the opportunity.
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Haven't They Grown is a strongly written psychological mystery.  By chance Beth sees the two children of her estranged friend Flora but they seem not to have aged in 12 years.  This novel is classic Sophie Hannah and its twisting narrative carries the reader along to.a shocking denouement.
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Gripping from the start and compelling reading throughout!
Be prepared to loose sleep to this book as it will have you hooked. My kids might not agree as they had to feed themselves whilst I was trapped inside Sophie Hannah's mind!
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This book has had rave reviews all over Twitter and was almost too built up for me.  It's really original and keeps you hooked right to the end but I found some of the characters really tedious in the middle section of the book. You could probably have cut a whole section of the "search". Might just be me though! Despite that personal  moan a cracking read.
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Gosh this is a very difficult book to pull off. A good chunk of the book takes place inside the main character's head in a kind of 'surely not.... but what if.... maybe I should...' kind of way. That does make it slow going in places. It sped up much more towards the end, though. Interesting but not as pacy as I'd like.
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It was when Beth Leeson was ferrying her son, Ben, to a football match that she found herself on Wyddial Lane in Hemingford Abbots. Actually, It's a little disingenuous to say 'found herself' as Beth had made a deliberate detour on the grounds that she didn't find herself in this neck of the woods very often and she was curious to see where a family who'd come into money had lived before they'd all lost contact twelve years ago. And it might have gone no further than that had Beth not seen a car draw up and her friend Flora get out along with two children she called Thomas and Emily. Beth remembered the names well - but these children were about three and five and Flora's children - Thomas and Emily - would now be fifteen and seventeen.

Beth's husband, Dom, thinks there could be quite a few explanations for what Beth thinks happened, chief amongst them being that Beth was 'mistaken'. Her daughter, Zannah, isn't quite so certain and besides, the conversation is way more interesting than revising for her GCSE exams. Ben is more interested in football and computer games. Beth isn't going to let the matter drop though. She's certain about what she saw and she's not going to rest until she gets some answers. She and Dom have a lot of conversations in which the word 'obsessive' occurs regularly. And then Beth moves from speculation to involvement.

In the early part of this book, Beth Leeson annoyed the hell out of me. I was with Dom. There were all sorts of explanations for what Beth thought she'd seen, and whilst some were more rational than others, it wasn't really their business. Nobody seemed to be suffering. It didn't seem as though any crime had been committed. Even Beth admits that impulse control is not her strong point. I wanted her to back off and persuade Zannah that she should revise for her exams and to get on with offering massage therapy to her patients, but that wouldn't make for a very good story.

And that's the important point - this is a very good story. Once I was over my annoyance I was rooting for Beth and for Zan, who became her main supporter. After a certain point, there was no way that I could have put the book down: I had to know what was going to happen. All the clues were there, and it was really obvious once you knew, but I didn't see it coming at all. This is plotting of the highest order, with some classy character development.

I'd like to thank the publishers for making a review copy available to the Bookbag.

This was my first book by Sophie Hannah, but it certainly won't be the last. If you'd like to try another Bookbag reviewers can recommend A Room Swept White.
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I’m in two minds about this one. The premise is really strong – one day, Beth sees her old next door neighbour, Flora, getting out of a car outside her posh new home. She hasn’t seen Flora for 12 years, after their friendship abruptly ended. As she watches, Flora’s two children get out of the car too. Except they haven’t aged a day, and are still exactly the same as they were over a decade before. Beth is consumed by this mystery and before long finds herself in a deep and confusing mess of lies and deceit. I think where I struggled is that so much of the book is told through dialogue between Beth, her husband and her daughter – whole chapters are made up of their conversations, which are frequently derailed by them bickering amongst themselves. It makes it quite repetitive and lacking in description. I also found the ending something of a stretch, although with a premise like this it would have to be! It’s an interesting one for sure.
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Fact paced. Which way will the plot go next. Keeping you on the edge of your seat. Full of character and suspense
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I enjoyed Haven’t They Grown.  It’s pretty far-fetched in places, but Sophie Hannah always writes very well and has produced another intriguing, readable mystery.

The story is told in the first person by Beth Leeson, a mother of two teenagers in Cambridgeshire.  The set-up is excellent: she sees a friend from whom she has been estranged for 12 years with her two children who still look five and three years old – as they did twelve years ago.  We get Beth’s dogged attempts to solve the mystery, interspersed with her domestic life.  It’s very well done; I especially liked Hannah’s subverting of the old “am I mad/imagining things?” trope we usually get with women (it’s almost always women) in this situation.  Beth knows what she saw and won’t be persuaded otherwise, and she’s a tough, determined character who is genuinely concerned about her friend and the children.  Another highlight was Beth’s sixteen-year-old daughter Zannah (short for Suzannah, I was relieved to discover), who is brilliantly painted and for me a joy throughout.  

All Hannah’s characters are very convincing and she structures and paces the book very well.  I found things getting just a tad incredible during the last third of the book and rather more than a tad incredible at the denouement, but it’s still an enjoyable, ingenious read from a fine writer of the genre.  Recommended.
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Read quite a few Sophie Hannah books
As always a very cleverly written plot
Weaving plenty of unpredictable dark sinister twists into the mix
That keep.you captivated and guessing.

Thank you netgalley, Sophie Hannah and Hodder and Stoughton for allowing me to read and review this book.
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This was a very twisted psychological thriller. A great cast of characters, very well depicted. I like books that make you use your brain and this was a real teaser. Very clever conclusion.
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This was an interesting book and a real page turner in Sophie Hannah style. There are various conclusions all the way through, that appear regularly but nowhere near the end of the book so you know there is going to be more. The snippet revealed to give us an idea of the story line is certainly original and one that you just know cannot be explained logically unless something supernaturally is afoot. The last quarter is complicated with various explanations of how everything ties together yet each is knocked on the head chapter by chapter. The most interesting character was Zanah, she was spunky and extremely clever. Flora was quite insipid which maybe she was supposed to be, quaking under Lewis' control. Beth never quite became a whole person to me, Dom the same. I couldn't wait to get through this book although by the time I reached the end I accepted that so much of it was implausible but entertaining. While Beth was going round in circles constantly chasing Flora, even flying to the USA, poor Thomas and Emily seemed abandoned and forgotten, left in the clutches of people who weren't treating them very nicely. I think Sophie completely forgot about them in the last half of the book.
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This book kept me interested all the way through.  The disturbing question of how can Beth's friend Flora have 2 small children, just like she had 12 years before, and called exactly the same names.  Flora's husband is a scientist - has he done something to the children? How can Flora be in both the USA and England?

I'm not sure how much Beth's reaction rings true, but there again I've never faced anything like this.

I read an advance review copy of the book.  This review is voluntary, honest and my own opinion.
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Took me a while to get into this one. I did enjoy it overall, but nothing particularly stood out to me. A standard thriller, worth reading.
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My opinions kept changing with this book , I loved it at the start then got a bit frustrated with the mother of the children/ teenagers. I’m still not sure what to make of it , I quite enjoyed it but think it was a bit of an strange storyline
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I loved this book! The writing style and characters had me absolutely hooked and the fabulous interaction between the lead character of Beth and her husband and children was natural, humorous and real.

Beth misses a friend she used to be incredibly close to and so decides to take the opportunity to see where she and her family now live. In doing so, she sees her old friend, Flora, get out of a car, along with two of her three children. All very normal, except that the children should be teenagers now and they are the same age Beth last saw them, c12 years ago.

What follows is a well told mystery that kept me so focused until the last page.

If you enjoy a well written mystery, an incredible storyline and characters that are all believable and well rounded, pull up a comfy chair, make a pot of tea and settle down. It’s a goodie.

Thanks so much to Netgalley, Hodder & Stoughton and the author for the opportunity to preview.
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As soon as I read the blurb for this book I was intrigued and I started reading and was hooked by the first few chapters – this is a book that makes you think, you question what you know is right, or should be and the author takes you on a well woven tale until everything unravelled and I had a fair few OMG and whoa moments on the way!

I thought that the characterisation in the book was superb, I loved some, hated and despised others, exactly as the other would have planned and wanted.  It was a very well-crafted book and she had an additive writing style too.  This was definitely a book that I read more than I had planned too in each sitting as I wanted to read just a few pages more each time.

It is 4.5 stars from me for this one, rounded up to 5 stars for Goodreads and Amazon - this is an excellent story and very well developed, it had me gripped and it was such a good read!!  Very highly recommended!!
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I am a huge fan of the Culver Valley series and I have been disappointed by Hannah's standalone mysteries in the past...I'm afraid I didn't much care for this one either. I wanted to find out what on earth was going on but I found it unlikely that two such good friends would have fallen out so spectacularly in the way they did. Yes, she weaves a clever twisty plot that confuses the reader but I felt that's all the narrative existed for - there wasn't much emotional truth or character development. Not her best.
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I’ve read and enjoyed all of Sophie Hannah’s previous books and this one was no exception.

This author is a master at weaving intricate stories where the pieces whirl tantalisingly just out of grasp until they finally, brilliantly, slot into place.

There were parts of this story that I found very far fetched, but treating it as a ‘story’ I could overlook some of the procedural details that were incorrect in my experience. 

My favourite character was Zannah. Witty, sharp-minded and kind, she was everything I’d want in a daughter and I loved her relationship with her parents and brother.

I enjoyed reading this and thank NetGalley and the publishers for my copy of this book.
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Love Sophie Hannah books and this one did not disappoint. It had me gripped all the way through, so many twists and turns, definitely worth a read.
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