Cover Image: When I Was Ten

When I Was Ten

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Member Reviews

What would you do for your best friend? Can you remember when you were young and childhood friendships meant the world to you and you'd do anything. Well maybe anything is too much.
In 1997 Shannon and Sara - sisters who live next door to their friend Brinley.
To the outside world the sisters who live with their parents Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela are lucky girls who have the very best of everything. But behind closed doors the girls face child abuse and cruelty that makes you feel uncomfortable and sad.
Fiona Cummins writing is fantastic and she has nailed it again with this novel. The story travels from 1997 to current time and is so tense I couldn't put it down. In 1997 at the start of the book we are told that the parents are dead! Then the next shocker tells us that in ten minutes the main character will also be dead. Then sit back and enjoy the twists and turns as Cummins takes you on a roller coaster of a story where you cannot guess what is going to happen. Then when you do, it cork screws again and the story sends you off in a shudderingly different direction.
Following the murder years later one of the sisters is living a comfortable life with her husband and daughter, then the news comes on the TV and her sister is talking to a reporter and her whole world crashes around her. On the anniversary of the murder the other sister is ready to talk about what happened.. and secrets are going to be shared.
The themes in this story talk about child murderers and at the end the author cross references her research to similar cases and the justice system. The introduction of the Justice Ministers character adds another dimension to the tale and how offenders like these are rehabilitated and how much the media become involved not always with a positive stance.
What makes Fiona Cummins writing so addictive are her characters and the way you bond with them. I recommend this book, its clever and tragic and a gripping thriller. You'll keep telling yourself, just one more chapter.
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This is a gripping thriller. A story of two young girls aged 10 & 12. The younger if the two is  supposedly murdered their parents in a brutal attack. I found y thy e story took a while to get going but had lots of twists and turns in it. I have read anything by Fiona Cummins before but will be looking out for more. Thank you netgalley for your ARC
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Caught my attention immediately and from the first to last page I was absorbed in this brilliantly written childhood murder. Guilt, shame, doubt and new beggings covered through the book from start to finish. A chilling ending I did not see coming made a perfect twist amongst the twist. Loved it.
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Thank you NetGalley for a copy of this book! First off, it was quite surprising to see a novel partially set in Kent - I’m a Kentish girl myself and rarely seem to find stories based in the Garden of England. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this book; admittedly it did take a while for me to get into it, but the twists and turns had me stunned, and my God the anger I felt towards Dr & Mrs Carter; the ultimate liars. They abused their kids and the people around them failed to realise. Brinley was also an interesting addition to the plot, especially towards the end. I really did feel for Sara/Catherine, but when the twist came I think I said ‘oh my god’ out loud. Even more so right at the end. Shannon had the world wrapped around her little finger really, including the media, and Honor, and it’s ironic that she’s the one who seems destroyed by the past when Sara’s the one who paid the price. For a moment, I felt the ending was a little rushed; Sara sitting up in bed, being consoled by her husband and whatnot, but then it made sense. She could get on with her life, and Brinley could finally too. I’ll have to say my favourite part was the second section, detailing the girls’ childhood; the making of a murderer if you will. It reminded me of Andrew Taylor’s Requiem for an Angel trilogy. I ended up reading a good 70% of this book in one sitting and that says a lot. Definitely recommended.
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This is a dark and creepy novel, that grabs your attention from the very start. It's a fast paced plot throughout which I found difficult to put down.
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When I was Ten is a creepy and suspenseful novel from Fiona Cummins, that grips you from the first page with it's fast paced and thought provoking plot which is delightfully dark and creepy. Well worth a read.
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The book starts in 1997 when a girl called Brinley Booth is running away from Hilltop House, where the grown ups are dead. Dr Carter and his wife. They were stabbed to death by a pair of scissors. Everyone remembered Sara and Shannon Carter, the blonde haired sisters. Their Dad was the local GP. Their best friend, Brinley, lived next door. They would do anything for each other but everything shifted on that fateful night. The murder becomes the most talked about as the daughters were aged ten and twelve at the time. Sara, aged 10 is found guilty and spends eight years in a children’s secure unit. Shannon lives in foster care out of the limelight. Fast forward 21 years to 2018, Catherine Allen and her family are living in Essex but life as she knows it is about to change as an exclusive interview in a newspaper will reveal Catherine’s secrets. Brinley is now a journalist and she travels back to her childhood home to cover the story. Brinley also holds secrets that only her and the sisters know ✨ 

W O W ! This book was CREEPY. What would drive a child to kill her parents?! From the first page, I was drawn in, the writing was gripping to the point where you say to yourself ‘just one more chapter’ - I had to find out what happened to this family. I really liked Brinley’s character. It was unpredictable and I really enjoyed that as I’ve read books before and you know what is coming next, with this book I didn’t. A really enjoyable thriller. Highly recommend. 4.5 🌟 Thank you to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC via my kindle in exchange for an honest review. Published August 2020
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all i can say is wow! this book is probably one of the best books i've red in a long time, so chilling and amazing! will stay with me for a long time, i even found myself thinking about it when i woke up this morning. will recommend this to anyone.
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Truly gripping. Both storylines, past and present compete for your attention equally gripping. I'd really love to see this adapted for tv and genuinely didn't want the story to end. Highly recommended.
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When I Was Ten very much lived up to my expectations on reading the synopsis. It’s unexpected, thrilling, twisty and well paced - and my favourite book of 2020 so far. 

Fiona Cummins deals with the subject matter of a child killer sensitively, yet the unravelling of the events throughout the book is compelling and terrifying in equal measure. With characters to care about, no matter what they have done, you will be burning the midnight oil to read just one more chapter.  I will definitely be looking out for more books by this author in the future. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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A tense book about a dark subject.
What makes a child kill their parents? What will be the repercussions? What lies behind the facade of a perfect happy family?

These are the main threads of this novel, which deals with the Carters, a seemingly happy family with a husband, a wife, and two daughters.
That's until tragedy strikes and their daughter Sara commits a horrible crime.

From there on the narrative alternates between the past and the present to reveal how past secrets led to a horrific present.

A gripping novel with a tough subject. The second half was was more interesting because I felt that there were too many details and filler characters that didn't add much to the main story and had to skip through those parts.

Thanks Netgalley, the author, and publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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*Frantically searches for more Fiona Cummins books to get stuck into*

I absolutely loved When I Was Ten. 

Hooked from the minute I started reading and it quickly made its way onto my 'favourites' shelf. It's one of those books that you don't want to end but you can't stop yourself turning the pages. 

A book about a child killer; *the grown ups are dead*. It's fast paced, but not too fast, dark, twisty, thrilling, addictive and emotional. 

Highly recommended for fans of thrillers.
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My goodness this book was difficult to read at times. The writing so good that I felt every emotion with Sara, Shannon and Brinley. the three girls whose stories are so brilliantly told in When I was Ten. 

I felt such sadness and loss for their childhoods so cruelly taken, each of them lost ever since that fateful night thirteen years previously, and yet there is an edge to the writing an edge that hints and sends a chill down the spine that everything is not as we are told it is. 

I raced through this novel determined to know the truth and it did not let me down. There is grace and delicacy in the telling of such a difficult subject matter and I give every praise to Fiona Cummins for her skill. 

Thank you so much to the author and Net Galley for the opportunity to read a review copy. I will be recommending this novel again and again.
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Disclaimer: I have been sent a copy of this book for review purposes. This has not influenced or affected my opinions in this review.

What can I say about this book? It was a perfect thriller from beginning to end. I was hooked from the very first page and I couldn’t get enough. There was just something so addictive about When I Was Ten. There were so many layers to the story and gradually each one was peeled back. From the get-go I was invested in the lives of the characters and the plot. There was almost an incessant need to find out what happens next because of how invested in the story I felt. Throughout, my emotions were sky high with no intention or inkling of plummeting. I flew through this book in just over a day and I can honestly not recommend it highly enough. I’m begging everyone who enjoys a good thriller to go out and buy this immediately.

*5 stars*
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When I was Ten

This story is about a shocking crime which happened twenty years ago and the repercussions still felt today. It’s got it all - a sisters bond, a family that’s not as perfect as the face it portrays, childhood flashbacks, front page tragedy, secrets, the next door neighbour best friend there’s even a sleazy politician chucked in for good measure. 
Not going to lie, it took me a while to get into this book, nothing much really happens for the first third of the book, the author seemingly laying the way for what is ultimately what we (and the story hunting journalists) want - and that’s the nitty gritty of what happened on that fateful night when little Sarah Carter took a pair of scissors and killed her mother and father. And we get just that in the middle part of the story where we go back in time to what life was like for the Carters. This part of the book was good, interesting and fast paced. And the pace then doesn’t let up till the end. 
While this was a good read, it wasn’t a great read. There is a lot of unnecessary kerfuffle - yes sleazy politician I’m talking about you!! There was absolutely no need for this character at all. Also a lot of the Brinley chapters focused too much on the inside workings of journalism and the desire to get the story first, rather than on her as a character. And I found myself skim reading all the boring journalism talk. The other Carter sister, Shannon should have had more character exposure too, I would’ve liked to know more about her and how life had been for her in the last twenty years, I feel we didn’t get to know this troubled soul enough. 
Also I think that the story was a bit far fetched and coincidental - especially the ending. 
I find this story lacked the creepy, subtle on edge tension that Fiona Cummins earlier books had and while it wasn’t a rip roaring read I’ll still seek out future books by this author. 
Thank you Pan Macmillan and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Fiona Cummins has written a powerful novel on a very powerful subject. What drives a child to kill their parents? What happens afterwards?  In her book the author tells the story of Dr and Mrs Carter, their 2 girls-Shannon and Sara, and the girls friend Brinley and what a carefully woven plot she weaves. The story flits easily between then and now, with two perspectives, both dark and gripping. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced and at times extremely chilling novel and will look for other books by this author. Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers and the author for an advance copy of this book.
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A dark family secret forms the centre of this cracking plot from Cummins.  Fairly graphic depictions of domestic violence against children could be a trigger for some readers but she hasn't over egged the pudding in regards to the plot. Easy to follow time line which encompasses various family member and friends but this doesn't detract from the pace. 

A standalone thriller which would be ideal as a beach read (if you like your holidays bloody!)
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Understanding what drives someone to murder can generate much discussion, psychoanalysis and media reportage. When the murderer is a child, particularly an angelic-looking girl of ten years old, the case remains under public scrutiny for years.  25 years after the sensational 'Hill Top Murders' trial there is still sufficient public interest in the case that when one of the sisters decides to give an interview the press are all over it which leads to a dramatic sequence of events. 
Told in two timelines the present day and 1997, mostly from the perspectives of Catherine, a happily married mother, and Brinley, a news reporter who also happens to be the childhood best friend of the two sisters at the centre of the murders. Gradually the truth of what happened 25 years earlier is revealed, and it is a sorry and shocking tale. The book looks at family and friendship and the bonds that are created that need to be broken and which bonds need to be protected at all costs. The book also looks at the justice system and how the media can play a massively influential role in how a crime is tried. There are plenty of twists and some truly uncomfortable moments that result in a brilliantly paced thrilling book. 
The only downside for me was the endless and incredibly obvious foreshadowing which wasn't really required. The book was dramatic enough without it. 

My thanks go to the publishers and Net Galley for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.
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I have loved Fiona Cummins other novels- she has a real talent and flair for writing thrillers and crime novels that keep you hooked and on the edge of you seat with plenty of twists and turns When I was Ten is no different- a fast paced novel following the Carter sisters 20 years on from an awful incident. The dual perspective of the sister and the detective gives a greater level of insight to the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed this and look forward to reading more of Cummins work.
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This was superb! Told from two points of view, the sister and the journalist, When I Was Ten is a really well-written book that cleverly entwines the two stories and holds your interest well through the whole book.

Growing up in a beautiful house in a beautiful village with your parents being proper upstanding pillars of the community hides a whole load of secrets behind the scenes. There are unexpected plot twists and turns throughout which helps to hold your interest. The story shows that behind a perfect pretence all is not what it seems and even when you think you know, and you feel like you have it all worked out there is another twist and you have no idea where t came from.

A great read, the sinister side of the middle class, even more so because you don’t know if it might be true of others around you, of what’s real and what’s not and even at the very end I’m still not quite sure I know, very cleverly written!
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