The Girl You Gave Away

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

EXCERPT: Ah...the moment. There should have been a crack of thunder, the voice of God booming above the party music. But my destiny arrived in a small red envelope.

'I found this on the doormat,' Asha said. 'A birthday card, I guess. Hand delivered.'

'That's weird. Why didn't they knock?'

'It's probably a neighbour, having a dig about not being invited.'

'But we asked practically the whole street. Tom insisted. He said it would stop us getting complaints.'

Asha shrugged. 'I don't know, maybe it dropped out of a present? Anyway, I'd better go back to Holly. She's not in a good place.'

'I'll come over in a sec.' Asha thanked me and threaded her way back to the table. Without a second thought, I ripped open the envelope and took out a birthday card. I stared at the champagne glass overflowing with bubbles and the silver '40' in the top corner. But it was the message inside that made my heart jump into my throat.

Happy birthday, Mum!
With love from the girl you gave away

ABOUT THIS BOOK: All she wanted was the life they had…

It is the day of Erin’s fortieth birthday party. Pink and silver balloons drift through her garden, the platters of food are empty and the recycling is overflowing with empty wine bottles.

As Erin mingles with groups of family and friends, surrounded by love and laughter, she feels like the luckiest woman alive. She has no idea what fate has in store …

Then a little red envelope lands on the doormat and everything changes.

Inside is a birthday card from somebody she never dreamed would get in touch. Its message is a chilling reminder of the dark past that Erin has worked so hard to bury, a past that could put her precious family in terrible danger…

MY THOUGHTS: The Girl You Gave Away by Jess Ryder began well, even if the dialogue was a little stilted. And mostly the story was enjoyable, although there were parts that seemed sleazy and left me feeling grubby which were, to be entirely fair, necessary to the plot.

The plot was interesting, but I think would have worked better if it had been set some years earlier than it was when the attitudes to teenage pregnancy weren't so lenient as in the mid-nineties. I seem to remember that by then it was commonplace, and no one really cared. If this had have been set in the mid sixties to mid seventies, I would have found the attitudes and outcomes a lot more believable.

There was a lot going on in this book...relationship breakdowns, teenage pregnancy, adoption, kidnapping, blackmail, and mental health issues to name a few. Perhaps the author was trying to include a few too many things, cover too many bases. And instead of doing one or two things in depth and well, she has spread herself very thinly over too many different issues.

I expected this to be an emotional and heartwrenching read, but in the end I felt nothing for any of the characters.

I also found the ending totally unrealistic and annoying.


#TheGirlYouGaveAway #NetGalley

'Those (reality) TV programmes are dangerous...they're fairytales disguised as real life.'

THE AUTHOR: Jess Ryder is a pseudonym of novelist/screenwriter/television producer, Jan Page

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The Girl You Gave Away by Jess Ryder for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage
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Is this really supposed to be classified as a thriller? I  am a huge thriller fanatic, and this did not excite me , or thrilled me by any means. 

Organization was lacking in the story  , I am very strong opinionated reviewer. For a book to truly passed with me.  It has to have extremely good organization, and strong character development.   The book was overwhelming, and messy , some unnecessary parts , or scenes added. 

I say the character development was on a low scale to medium.It was hard to keep up with the characters. The author can write for sure , but writing skills need major improvement Organization skills need major improvement, the author has potential. However I don’t think the author fully put their full potential in the story. 

I sense that it was rushed and just a bunch of rambling in most parts.   

 Sorry this book wasn’t for me.
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This book sounded like a winner, but turned out ok. It had an interesting plot, but it just dragged along. I didn't think the characters were realistic and it detracted from the story. The ending was not very good either, it was unsatisfying. I have read this author before I enjoyed her books, but this one was not for me. I will read her in the future though.
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Blown away with this book. A very quick but gripping read.
Erin is married to Tom. They have two children Oli and Chloe. Live is going well. She has a successful business and a happy family life.

Tom organises a 40th birthday party for Erin. During the evening a card is posted through the door. It’s from her daughter. The one she gave up for adoption at 15. The one she’s kept secret for all these years. 

Will life ever be the same again. Will Erin and Jade begin a proper mother daughter relationship. Will Tom and Erins marriage survive. And who exactly is Jade and does she want more than she letting on.

A riveting read. Total worth 5 🌟
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Maybe it's just a personal pet peeve for me, but subtitles on books that make big claims irritate me. Especially when they don't deliver, and this one did not. It started out well enough, but it quickly fizzled, and I didn't find anything particularly gripping or thriller-like. What I found was a story that is more domestic drama than psychological thriller, and a lot of characters that aren't all that likable. There are a number of twists, but to be honest, it felt like the author was throwing everything she could think of at us in the hope that something would stick. Sadly, the result is that very little did, at least for me. Instead, it made for an over the top, convoluted story. Despite that, there was still some lagtime, especially in the chapters dealing with Erin's past. Finally, we come to the ending - and I do mean finally because that's pretty much how I felt - and that ending was lackluster at best. For so much angst, it's all rather simply settled in the end, and it just felt rushed. This is my first read by Jess Ryder, and I will say that she does write descriptively, and I felt like this story did have promise. I just think that sometimes less is more, and this book could've used a bit of that.
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I quite enjoyed this one I must say....
A great storyline about a young, niave girl who rebels against her life, her family and her friends.
She falls in with a bad crowd, not listening to anyone and it all ends rather badly for her.
She's now married but her past is catching up with her and she's just not ready to deal with it yet.
Erin has her life now with Tom and her two children and she's frightened to tell them about her past. Would they believe her, what would they think.....
I loved the dual storyline of Erin's life now and her life as a young girl.
We get such a great insight into how her life was, her relationship with her parents and friends.
I felt her life with her husband now wasn't quite right but I couldn't put my finger on what it was exactly that had me thinking that.
I enjoyed the authors characters in this story...
They were quite complex with issues that had far reaching consequences....
Well worth taking the time for this one...
It's completely engrossing and all you want in a good psychological thriller..
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Erin Whitesteed has reached a milestone in her life - she is turning forty and has planned a magnificent birthday bash. Now, the recycling is overflowing with empty wine bottles, and pink and silver balloons are drifting through her garden. Successful, professional nursery owner Erin feels loved, happy and contented, surrounded by her wonderful family, loving husband Tom, and her teenage children, Chloe and Oliver. But then a red envelope lands on her mat containing a birthday card and a handwritten note which will change her life forever...

The Girl You Gave Away by Jess Ryder kept me guessing pretty much all the way through. The author's characterisation was impressive - even though I regularly changed my opinion about the main characters, Erin and Jade, along the way, but it didn't matter as there was still some connection there. This was well-written, compulsive novel that worked for me, although I had to suspend belief on occasions. All in all, a fast paced, dark and exciting read, with drama and suspense by the bucketload.

I'm already looking forward to seeing what Jess Ryder has in store for me next time.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Bookouture via NetGalley at my request, and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me to read this Arc.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have read and loved all Jess Ryder's books and this one doesn't disappoint! Maybe it was a little slow in parts but I couldn't wait to get to the next "bit'! And just when you think you know what's coming there's another surprise!!
I would highly recommend it.
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As Erin mingled amongst the guests attending her fortieth birthday party,basking in the love and laughter swirling around the air in the marquee,she felt like the luckiest woman alive.She was the owner of a nursery for pre school children, had a loving husband and two bright teenagers who were doing well at school.  All was good in Erin's world but little did she realise that the fickle finger of fate had decided that Erin's life needed shaking up and was about to throw a human sized spanner into the glass of her picture of perfection.

The contents of a red envelope that is discovered on her doormat chills Erin faster than the coldest glass of champagne. The past that Erin has worked so hard to keep hidden has finally caught up with her. Erin has a secret, something that could smash her perfect life into a million pieces and endanger the lives of her beloved family.

The chapters of this enthralling thriller alternated between Erin in the present day and Erin when she was fourteen years old back in 1994. I can't say that I felt any sympathy for adult Erin, I couldn't understand why she wasn't completely honest with Tom from the beginning of their relationship,especially considering she knew how blinkered he could be at times. It wasn't as if she had actually done anything wrong in the past,yes she made a mistake but she had no control over the outcome, she simply wasn't given any other option apart from to do as she was instructed. I also couldn't understand her behaviour towards poor Chloe,you would have thought that Erin would have remembered how unfairly treated she felt when she was Chloe's age and not been so hard on the poor girl. The author's portrayals of Erin's fears, anxieties and battles with her conscious over what to do for the best were realistic and believable. I felt a lot of empathy for younger Erin and fully understood the reasons behind her rebellious behaviour and how she was so easily deceived by bad boy Dean. I really didn't like Tom for various reasons. I felt a lot of empathy for Oliver,trying to study whilst his life was falling apart around him. As for Chloe, for all her teenage angst she certainly showed a surprising softer side to her character as the story unfolded. Interspersed throughout the book was chapters that were voiced by a character called Jade, a complex character who had some serious issues. I spent the whole of the book trying to decide how to I felt about her. But who was she and how did she fit into Erin's story?

As readers have learned to expect from Jess Ryder's outstanding,enthralling thrillers The Girl You Gave Away is a gripping blend of domestic drama,teenage angst and psychological thriller. It's a tale of mistakes, deception, secrets,guilt and lies that had unexpected twists and turns and some characters who were not who they pretended to be. I love Jess Ryder's books, she is a very talented author and her books are always very well written and cause the reader to feel a wide range of mixed emotions, The Girl You Gave Away is no exception. Worth far more than five stars and very highly recommended.
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This book was right up my street. It has so many of the elements I love while reading a book from this genre. Jess Ryder has a gift for writing this type of story. This is a novel of mystery, secrets and suspense. 

Erin is shocked to receive a letter from the daughter she gave up for adoption. The circumstances that followed had me gripped. Erin is a different person to the girl she used to be, so when her past comes screeching back into her life she is not sure what to do for the best. She hates to keep secrets from her family but she doesn't know how to explain to them about her past.

The Girl You Gave Away is full of suspense and twists and I really enjoyed reading it. Jess Ryder is a talented writer, her characters and plot had me gripped. Domestic noir is fast becoming one of my favourite genres, that is what I would class this book as, and The Girl You Gave Away is an excellent addition to the genre. 

I would recommend this book if you like domestic noir with a psychological twist. I am excited to read more from Jess Ryder as I am sure I won't be disappointed.
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All the characters are unlikeable. I don't feel connected to any of them. Erin and Jade lied to people around them lol I started losing interest but I wanted to finish this book ASAP to start another book!

Btw I don't think this is a thriller book. I don't feel the thrill like when I read another thriller books. 
The ending left some unanswered questions. 

Thank you Netgalley, publisher and author for The Girl You Gave Away ARC!
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Unfortunately I did not finish this book. I hated all the characters and do not feel it’s fair on the author to provide a bad review
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The Girl You Gave Away by Jess Ryder was really good, a definite must-read for anyone who enjoys a suspenseful domestic thriller.  I’ve read a few books now by this author and have liked them all, so you can’t go wrong with choosing any of her novels.

Secrets, kidnapping, and revenge figure into this story which is the perfect cocktail for dark suspense.

Here’s the plot:

All she wanted was the life they had…It is the day of Erin’s fortieth birthday party. Pink and silver balloons drift through her garden, the platters of food are empty and the recycling is overflowing with empty wine bottles.  As Erin mingles with groups of family and friends, surrounded by love and laughter, she feels like the luckiest woman alive. She has no idea what fate has in store …

Then a little red envelope lands on the doormat and everything changes. Inside is a birthday card from somebody she never dreamed would get in touch. Its message is a chilling reminder of the dark past that Erin has worked so hard to bury, a past that could put her precious family in terrible danger…

I also liked The Ex-Wife and The Dream House by Jess Ryder. Highly recommend both of them!

Only $3.99 on Kindle! Coming out on March 20th!
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A story with plenty of twists. This is a mostly believable story with a few twists. I felt that the book was a bit long in places and it took perseverance to read to the end. I did not like Erin or Tom. I could not warm to them as characters. I felt sorry for Jade but could not feel the same sympathy for Erin. Dean was totally believable. I liked the ending of the book and felt that that was a good way to conclude the story. 

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

"The Girl You Gave Away" by Jess Ryder follows the story of Erin and the child she gave away when she was young. Erin has spent her whole life building a world that allows her to forget about her past... until she receives a birthday card on her doorstep signed from the girl you gave away. From there everything comes crashing down and it's hard to know where the lies end. In order to untangle everything, Erin must confront the past.

This book took a little bit of time to get into. With shifting points of view between Erin and her daughter, Jade, the story takes a bit to build all the layers needed to feel invested. The chapters were small, which increased reading speed, but I didn't feel fully involved until about 30% of the way in.

Jade is a character that is hard to root for. She is a liar and tends to pretend that she is on TV more than she is in the real world. She has good reasons to not be fully present, but she is hard to take in the beginning. That combined with Erin who seems to also lie to get out of trouble and who doesn't seem to want to take responsibility for her actions, the characters have to develop more before you like them.

I think the biggest reason I stuck with the story was the one end that seemed to be hastily tied up at the end. Someone blackmails Erin out of money while pretending to be Jade and we never really get to see the end of that story line. The climax we were given feels forced and lame in comparison to what could have been.

Overall, I gave this book three stars. There were a lot of good elements, but there were some missed opportunities that I felt like would have made the book more addictive.
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This is a gripping psychological thriller that had me hooked from the first few pages. 
Erin receives a card on her Birthday from someone very unexpected and it brings her past hurtling towards her present family life with her husband and children. 
Tom has always said he hates lies so Erin can’t bring herself to tell him the truth but soon it’s taken out of her hands. 
The story flashes back to when Erin was a teenager and we learn what happened to her back then. 
In the present day we see how a secret can quickly unravel someone’s life and the affect it has on the family. 
I really felt for Erin and liked how the story came together with views from the past and present. 
A great psychological thriller that will have you racing through the pages. 
Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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First, I want to thank Jess Ryder, Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with this book so I can bring you this review. 

WOW!! This was my first time reading Jess Ryder and it won’t be my last! She grabbed my attention right away and didn’t let go til the very end. In fact she shocked me in many places along the way. 

This was a very interesting story. Learning about Erin and Dean’s past is now affecting the future. In a way I think most girls could relate to how Erin felt about Dean. However, like a typical male in that situation he was just a jerk!! 

Fast forward to the future everything Erin thought was right in her life wasn’t. She was going to have a rude awakening call from her loved ones.

There are a lot of side stories in this book that intertwine with the main story. 

I couldn’t believe how many twists and turns there were in this book. Events I didn’t even see coming. Not to mention the ending!!! WOW!!!!

Jess brought out so much drama and emotion in these characters!
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When a note shows up on the doorstep during Erin's 40th birthday party, the past she worked so hard to hide has appeared out of the blue. Ryder's book about a young woman put up for adoption by her teenage birthmother provided all the twists and turns I love. The back and forth between the character's stories is a style that I enjoy, but is, at times, hard to pull off. Ryder pulled it off. The one character that I struggled with the most was Erin's husband, Tom. His hardness and unforgiving behavior made it difficult for me to have any empathy for him.

Having had the opportunity to read both the original ending and the revised ending, I was glad that Ryder took the feedback she received and made those changes. The second ending was much more believable and satisfying. 

Thanks to Net Galley and Bookouture for the ARC.
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The Girl I Gave Away by Jess Ryder

I Loved this book. From the very first chapter I knew I was going to enjoy reading it and it did not disappoint. I could not put the book down as the story kept me on the edge of my seat.  

The story is fast paced and exciting.

The drama and suspense are excellent.

 I have read all Jess Ryder’s other books and I think they are all fantastic. All of her book are addictive and I can’t sleep, eat or work until I have finished her book.

I would like to thank Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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I really like the way that Jess Ryder writes. There are no wasted words or ridiculous details. 

The characters are well developed and real. So many thrillers have lackluster leads, no one to really fight for. Here, I felt for Erin and Jade, not that they were without flaws, but they were real.

There were some decent twists.  I thought this would be pretty cut and dry when I started it but it was more layered than I thought. The ending is crazy, but then again,
maybe not.  

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Bookouture for a copy in exchange for a review.
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