Cover Image: The Girl You Gave Away

The Girl You Gave Away

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The concept of this book was alright but it stopped at The concept. It
had an interesting plot, but it just dragged along. This book was easy to 
read on the sense of reading (how Ryder writes) but not as far as 
keeping my interest. I didn't think the characters were realistic and it 
distracted me from the story. The ending was not very good either, it was 
Thank you so much NetGalley Bookouture for providing me with this
Was this review helpful?
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…

This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believeable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuousluy.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
Was this review helpful?
Erin was just 14 when she became pregnant. She was forced to give away her baby daughter and hid her secret from her husband and children. On her 40th birthday, her long lost daughter delivers a card which sets off a chain of events that are dark and dangerous...
This was a very emotional book. The grief that Erin feels at the adoption of her child is heart wrenching. Author Jess Ryder, give us Erin's perspective in the first person, in the present day and in the 1990s when she became pregnant. This show us her character in a sympathetic light and shows her vulnerability, guilt and love for her daughter.
Jade is a much more complex character. Whilst she is deserving of some sympathy, she isn't particularly likeable and her actions are disturbing. This is countered by her learning disabilities but I do not feel this should be an excuse for her actions.
I would have liked a bit more of a conclusion to the book. It ends with a note of hope for the family including Jade, but I wanted extra explanation about the state of Erin's marriage.
The twists in the plot are excellent and frequently surprised me as I thought I anticipated what was coming up but then was proved wrong. As well as the emotions generated by Erin's story, there is a high level of psychological drama due to Jade's actions and unpredictability.
Was this review helpful?
We all make mistakes or do silly things as teenagers but most of what we do doesn’t come and bite in the proverbial as we hit 40 right ??

Erin, successful business woman, loving wife and mother has been keeping a secret from her dear family for years. She believes this secret, a child, could devastate the family as her beloved hates lies. But this child wants in, be part of Erin’s life….

‘All that matters is I’ve got you now, and I’m never, ever going to let you go.’

I really felt sorry for Jade to start with. Desperate to fit in and please but the more I got to know her and how she behaved, my opinion dropped. Yes Erin made one helluva mistake as a teenager but she doesn’t deserve this level of karma. Jade’s sweetness soon turns very sour as the chapters go on…

I loved the way Ryder built the story by switching the timelines and the character perspectives by chapter. Jumping back to Erin’s teen years as she becomes infatuated with the older man and then leaping to Jade’s life in 2020 before heading to the grown up world of Erin and her family. Just as I thought I know what was going on, my imagination was dragged to another thread to muddy the waters of my thinking.

The Girl You Gave Away is packed with tension and intrigue but its also emotionally charged. The friction between the characters both back in 1994 and in the present day cut to the core. I can’t believe I’ve not read any of Ms Ryder’s thrillers before. I need to rectify!
Was this review helpful?
A totally gripping book by Jess Ryder. Erin is celebrating her 40th birthday with her friends and family. With her husband, son Oli and daughter Chloe present, she is shocked when she receives another hand-delivered card containing the words, ‘Happy Birthday, Mum!’.  
How will Erin react to this news? Can she continue to hide her secret from her family or will the truth come out? What will be the impact on family of Erin keeping her secret from them? Will Erin’s life ever be the same?
An absolutely brilliant book full of unexpected twists and turns.
Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Book Review: The Girl You Gave Away
Author: Jess Ryder
Rating: 1/5
'Happy birthday, mum!
With love from the girl you gave away xxx'
Erin has worked hard on putting her dark past behind her. Happily married to a man that adores her, successful business owner and a proud mother to two beautiful children. But Erin's dark past is finally caught up to her when a red envelope is left on her doorstep from somebody she never dreamed would get in touch.

This book started out as a 3 star read for me and by the end I was just glad to be done with it.
There was a lot happening in this book, relationship breakdowns, teen pregnancy, adoption , kidnapping, blackmailing as well as a vary of mental health issues is just to name a few. I feel like too much was happening, subjects were mentioned but none of them really went into depth or explained.

I didn't like any of the characters, I am not sure if the characters were meant to be likeable but I really didn't care for any of them. 
Everything about this book just felt wrong for me, the flow of the story, the decision making, the dialogue. I was pretty much cringing every few seconds.

Unfortunate that I didn't enjoy this one, oh well onto the next book.
Was this review helpful?
Erin is happily married, owner of a successful nursery. On her fortieth birthday she is enjoying her party with friends & colleagues when she notices a red envelope on the floor. It is a birthday card signed,'from the girl you gave away'. Panic takes over- will the secret she has kept for twenty five years  be revealed & ruin all she has?

Before long Erin's world is crumbling about her ears. Her husband refuses to speak to her because she has lied about her past, her son - a clever lad trying to get in Cambridge can't study & her daughter is even more of a handful than she was previously. At least she can get to know the girl she gave away- that's a good thing isn't it?

This was a book the kept me reading whilst at the same time wanting to shake some sense into the characters! Erin should have told her husband at the start. She was definitely more 'sinned against' than 'sinner'-however he was/& is a sanctimonious twit, so maybe that was understandable! Although I was exasperated with Erin I did really feel sorry for her. Towards the end things seemed to get a bit out of control & I felt a bit let down, it seemed like the author was trying to add too many strands to the story.

Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
Was this review helpful?
The Girl You Gave Away is a psychological thriller that had me wondering where this was going to go and is a book I enjoyed.
Erin is the main character we bounce back and forth in time. Current day sees her very happy married with teenage children, a son and a daughter and owner of a successful nursery school business. Backwards on time sees 14 year old Erin a grade A student taking a few wrong turns in life and ending up with a bad crowd and sees her ending up pregnant. She gives birth at 15 years old and the baby is immediately adopted and she never speaks of it again. Current day sees her enjoying her fortieth birthday when a card comes through the door and it’s from the daughter she gave away that none of her family know of as she has virtually no relationship with her parents after the birth and her two best friends vowed to keep it a secret until she was ready. This card unleashes the hidden desire to know about her daughter and the turmoil in her life it brings.
I would like to thank Netgalley and Bookouture for this ARC I received in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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 🌟
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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..
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?