Heatstroke

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Jun 2020

Member Reviews

Hazel Barkworth builds a slow, evolving tension in Heatstroke. A tension that is felt between Rachel - the central character and her daughter Mia, with her husband, with past and present mistakes and with the environment she finds herself in. 

As the reader I was immediately transported to the oppressive summer heatwave that sets the scene for the disappearance of Lily and gradual unravelling of a mother/daughter relationship. If you are a fan of stories that explore complex female relationships then Heatstroke is the book for you!
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A scorching, atmospheric thriller, I couldn't put this down and devoured it almost in one go.  When Rachel's daughter's best friend goes missing, Rachel thinks she knows exactly what's happened - and recalls her own experiences at the same age.  But her assumptions and judgments cause unpredictable tensions to come to the surface.

One for fans of Erin Kelly.
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** 3.5 stars

Rachel is an interesting character.
Starting out seemingly as an easy going mum to teenage Mia,by the end of the book she's become obsessive,jealous and unlikable.
The whole book feels tense and claustrophobic,the unrelenting heat,the missing school girl,the school enviroment... all building the tension.
It felt a little flat to me,when the school girl is so easily brought home.
Aside from that,I enjoyed this book,and definitely will be telling others to read it.
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Sadly I really struggled with this book. I don’t know if it was a typing error but they was no flow to the story. It felt a little jumbled. Didn’t really make any sense.
I really wanted to enjoy this.
Sadly it’s a no from me
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I am not sure if this is correct, but I believe I read somewhere that this is Hazel's debut novel - if so, that is really quite impressive. If I had to choose one word to describe this book I would go with 'intoxicating'.

Rachel is a forty year old secondary school teacher, who works at the same school her fifteen year old daughter, Mia, attends. One weekend she allows Mia to have a small sleepover with some of her closest girl-friends.. but when one of the girls, Lily, fails to return home the next morning, Rachel's world suddenly becomes a whole lot more complicated. It isn't long before she discovers a vital clue about where Lily may have gone - and yet she decides to keep it to herself.

Rachel is an incredibly interesting (albeit frustrating) character, and her failure to behave how you would expect someone in a position of trust to forms the main basis for the rest of the novel. As much as she irritated me at times, she also fascinated me, and I also felt I began to understand her better as the book progressed.

One of the main themes explored throughout this book is the mother daughter relationship, and I thought this was portrayed well. The insecurities of getting older, coupled with a teenage daughter on the cusp of becoming a woman and all that goes along with it made for an interesting (and realistic, I suspect) parallel. 

The 'heat' of the title works well throughout the book too - the atmosphere is almost stifling at times, and you do wonder if some of the characters have been slightly dazed by the heatwave, especially in some of their more questionable moments.
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Rachel, a forty year old secondary school teacher, lets her fifteen year old daughter Mia have a weekend sleepover. for her friends. The following day, one of the girl's mothers' rings to ask when her daughter, Lily, will be back. Lily is Mia's best friend and also happens to be in Rachel's English class. But Lily did not come to the sleepover. and it is with a sickening lurch that they realise no one has seen her. Where is she? When a vital clue comes to her whereabouts, Rachel decides to keep it to herself..

This is a story that could have been taken from the headlines - a pupil running off with a teacher - but it is more an exploration of the mother daughter relationship - what happens when one is on the cusp of womanhood, all and the mother is feeling left behind, insecure, or even threatened by her daughter's burgeoning sexuality when she feels her own sexual attractiveness is on the wane . 

Rachel is a complex character who doesn't behave in the way you would expect, given her position of trust, and that makes for an interesting moral dilemma. The atmosphere and the stifling heat is depicted very well although some of the prose was offputtingly verbose. For me, there were a few too many passages where Rachel is imagining what Lily could be doing that were all quite similar but the depiction of the teenage girls with all their preoccupations and insecurities rang very true.
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#Heatstroke #NetGalley 
This book is the next level of brilliance. I really couldn't put it down until i got my all answers. Rachel is Lily's teacher. Her daughter Mia is Lily's best friend. The girls are fifteen - almost women, still children. As Rachel becomes increasingly fixated on Lily's absence, she finds herself breaking fragile trusts and confronting impossible choices she never thought she'd face. 
I adored the characters of Rachael and Lily. Rachel was so twisted character that she remained with me after finishing this book. Narration of the story is superb. 
Thanks to NetGalley and Headline for an advance copy.
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Heatstroke is  a novel about a group of friends, a missing girl and the relationships between mother and daughter. It's not the story you think though as when a girl goes missing and the subject of a teacher-pupil relationship starts to develop, it turns into a very different novel indeed. Its got some very complex and damaged characters in it and the heat of the title does seem to warp everyone's minds and thoughts.
I just felt a bit empty at the end not really understanding what I had just read. I guess I thought it was going to clearer, more of a novel than a series of themes (although these are very well explored)
I think my reaction to this book was my fault as I expected more of a hot location, a summer scandal and a gripping, heat infused, sweaty thriller and I didn't feel I did.
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Heatstroke is the assured debut novel of  Hazel Barkworth. 
Rachel is mother to 15 year-old Mia ,who has a small but tight-knit group of friends. She's also a teacher at the school that those same friends attend. One of them, Lily, goes missing and when the full story of her disappearance becomes known it causes all kinds of problems for Rachel.
The book explores several themes, the journey through adolescence, family relationships and loyalties,friendship,choices and decisions amongst others.  
Rachel is a complex character ,prone to being judgemental then finding herself completely wrong. She's flawed yet seems to expect others to behave correctly and her crashing through her life , which is on the verge of spiralling out of control, like a bull in a china shop is as much the story as the disappearing girl.,
Amongst the thanks  at the back of the book is one for  Erin Kelly ,who endorses this book in turn, and if you're a fan of Ms Kelly's books you'll enjoy this one.. An involving and well-written book.

Thanks to Hazel Barkworth, Headline Books and Netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.
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Absolutely enjoyed this novel by an extremely talented writer. She weaves a twisted net and the reader immediately gets wrapped up in it. Can’t recommend it enough!
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A moody, intoxicating, sexy and beautifully written book. I look forward to seeing more from Hazel Barkworth.
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I've been watching people online received gorgeous proofs of this book all summer and was absolutely hooked by the synopsis, so it was with much delight to see that I was accepted to read a digital version via NetGalley! 

I started reading this book just before a major work deadline and honestly, it was a mistake. I could not get Heatstroke out of my head. A lot of books are described as gripping, but this book truly was. 

Intricately plotted, well-paced and full of speculation, Heatstroke is full of complex characters that are cleverly interwoven to drip feed twists and turns you genuinely don't see coming. Combined with the insufferable heat described throughout, this book is tense, claustrophobic and utterly fantastic. Highly recommend!
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An impressionistic piece of writing that is full of atmosphere: heated, fevered, febrile - as a schoolgirl goes missing, and her best friend and best friend's mother find themselves caught in an emotional tempest of power, secrets and love. 

Some of the writing feels laboured and try-hard ('an untouched rump of avocado', 'the roof of Rachel's mouth throbbed') and, fundamentally, this is a story that is currently being written to death in commercial literature with very little new being said. 

The approach here of not so much developing a story as giving a series of word pictures of key moments makes this feel a little different - but it's also frustrating that people behave incomprehensibly, particularly Rachel as both mother and teacher. Worth a read: this still has a first-novel feel about it but hopefully Barkworth will mature.
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