Cover Image: Circle of Doubt

Circle of Doubt

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

When Emma and Dele and their daughter Isla move to bucolic Forest Grove, they plan to have a peaceful life in the country away from London. However Emma, shy by nature and haunted by her sister’s death, finds it difficult to make friends and is intimidated by the cliquey mothers she meets at Isla’s school. Enter Tatjana Belafonte. Tall, gorgeous, confidant, she’s a fashion designer and a former model. She and her architect husband Lawrence are building a mega mansion in Forest Grove. Everyone wants to be her friend but Tatjana singles Emma out.
Emma and Isla. Especially Isla. 

This becomes a problem for Emma. Isla is adopted and Emma is convinced Tatjana is really Jade, the birth mother. She retreats more into herself, afraid to share her worries even with Dele. As her obsession grows, she looks everywhere for proof. When she discovers the truth, it’s almost too late.

What a thriller! Circle of Doubt is full of suspense and surprises! The added narration by the Mums of Forest Grove Facebook Group is especially entertaining. This is a quick, exciting read. 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Tracy Buchanan for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
This is a story about mistaken identities and mistaken suspicions. The protagonist suspects that her adopted daughter's birth mother has moved into town with the purpose of gaining her child's affections and loyalty. The reader is also led to believe this through the use of journal entries, ostensibly written by the birth mother. The story takes a darker turn when the true identity of the writer is revealed to the reader but not the protagonist, and from there on I thought it felt like a long and torturous journey waiting for the protagonist to find out what I already knew. 

Subplots involved feeling unwelcome in a community of self-righteous stay-at-home moms, a past hidden trauma that isn't revealed until the very end of the book and looming mental breakdowns by several of the characters. 

It was well-written with good character development, just not one of my favorite stories.
Was this review helpful?
Emma and dele live a happy family life in Forest Grove with their adopted daughter Isla. Emma is a busy working mum and sometimes can't believe her luck of having Isla in their life.
One morning there window is unexpectedly smashed by a brick. Shocked, they must put it down to random thugs. However Emmà becomes increasingly nervous after a new, apparently affluent family, move into the village. Tatjana, is a stay at home mum, but appears to be taking an unusual interest in Isla. Emma's concerns raise as she becomes increasingly concerned that Tatiana is in fact Jade, Isla s birth mother.

This book has many twists and turns and was an extremely easy read. Had me drawn in with twists along the way.

Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
In Circle of Doubt we return to Forest Grove where we meet new family Dele and Emma Okuru and their adopted daughter Isla. 
Emma is a working mother, frowned upon by long standing Forest Grove residents and has struggled to settle in. 
We also meet another new family to the area, glamorous Tatjana and Lawrence Belafont, who are welcomed by everyone. 
Emma begins to feel as if everything she does is wrong and everyone hates her. Is this all in her head or is someone behind the things that keep happening.
Why is Tatjana so taken by Isla? What secrets is Emma hiding? Who is out to expose them?
Told from Emma’s perspective as things go wrong and her family seems to be falling apart and from a mysterious other who we soon discover is behind the things that are happening.
Also interjected with social media posts from residents of the Grove as they speculate on the things happening in their perfect village..
The tension between the characters, the fickle villagers and the development within the story is well paced, full of suspense and intrigue as the story reaches its conclusions and secrets are revealed..
Was this review helpful?
This book did not resonate with me at all. It is rife with red herrings and secrets revealed too late in the story to be useful. Hints are dropped throughout the book, something that became quite annoying.. The book looked like it would be a good read, but for me, it was not. 

I received this book as an ARC from the publisher and NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher and author for providing me the ARC. This review is based on my honest opinion only. 

Emma and her husband Dele moved to the Forest Grove with their adopted daughter, Isla. Emma is white and Dele is Black and they experienced a sort of racism when they moved into their house, starting with someone smashing their house window.. Then another rich family, Tatjana and Lawrence move into Forest Grove as well and Emma couldn't help but notice how similar Tatjana looks to Isla's biological mother, Jade. Then someone starts spreading vicious rumor about Emma and the whole mother's club turn against Emma--and one of them who seems to be Isla's biological parents would do anything to get Isla back by destroying Emma.

At first, the story sounded interesting. The writing was good and engaging. However, this was not a fast paced thriller as you would expect and also a bit predictable as who this mysterious person, who is targeting Emma could be. The ending was good though nothing new about the ending.

Overall, it was an OK thriller--worth four stars!
Was this review helpful?
I’d like to thank Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read ‘Circle Of Doubt’ by Tracy Buchanan in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Emma and Dele live in Forest Grove with ten-year-old adopted daughter Isla.  When Tatjana and Laurence move into the new house nearby Emma’s surprised at how Tatjana resembles Isla.  The more she thinks about it the more convinced she becomes that Tatjana is in fact her daughter’s birth mother, especially as the woman seems obsessed with watching every move she makes.  When small things start going wrong Emma doubts her ability to be a good mother and worries that a secret she’s kept for years, not even telling Dele, could result in Isla being taken away from her.  

‘Circle Of Doubt’ is an engaging novel and the thoughtless comments made on the Mums of Forest Grove Facebook Group added to the story, but I found it a bit slow to get going and struggled to get involved until halfway through.  The plot was different, the characters interesting and despite wanting to like Emma I just wanted her yell at her to have faith in herself.  Although not the best novel I’ve come across it was okay and worth reading.
Was this review helpful?
3.5
This really would have been a 4 star read had the writing not really irritated me at the beginning. Maybe this is just my reading quirk but I really loathe the info dumps that you now tend to get at the beginning of these kinds of domestic noir thrillers. I don't need this whole scene-setting, info-dumpy, clumsy way of introducing characters and their backstory. I didn't need to know what Emma did for a job so early on, etc.
There were a couple of clangers in the novel, in my opinion. Why would the parents put an 18-month-old in a cot when they first adopted her? They'd surely buy a toddler bed. Also, Isla was apparently adopted at 18 months, but then that later became two years old. There was a scene where Isla was talking with her mouth full and this was described, for Emma to then say "don't eat with your mouth full." I presume this is a mistake?
And, to end the negatives, why, in these domestic noir thrillers, do people call each other darling all the damn time? I loathe the word. I never hear it in real life, it makes me cringe.
And for the positives ... I got into the novel after a few chapters. I liked the undercurrent of Emma having previously done something terrible, and was fairly surprised when that event was revealed (although I didn't like Harriet's inclusion **no spoilers**)
The Facebook exchanges felt true to life of a small, isolated village with parents all competing for the popular crown at the school gates.
Overall, I liked the suspense and the plot was an interesting one. I will seek out more by this author.
I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The second of Tracy Buchanan’s book set in the small fictional town of Forest Grove.
I must admit I didn’t click at first that it was set in the same town but I sensed it had the same feel about it. It’s definitely not a book that centres on the characters of the town, it’s solely on the main characters in the book. But she sets up the closed, clicky feel of some small communities very well.

Like the author’s previous novel set in Forest Grove, it did take me quite a while to get into it but once I did, I found it very engrossing and rollicked along to a very satisfying conclusion.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy to read.
Was this review helpful?
Circle of doubt

One word for Circle of Doubt, one word...Fantastic!
Family thriller but done is a totally new way. I’m obsessed with Circle of Doubt!

Was a fan of duel chapters of mother and mother until around halfway point then it starts giving too much of what’s coming up away. 

Great twist, didn’t see coming and left me reeling!
Was this review helpful?
This is the first book I have read by this author but I am keen to read more.  I enjoyed the style of writing and the characterisations.  

It dealt with some very topical issues; adoption, abuse, relationships but not in a ‘preachy’ way.  The descriptions of the school playground parents and trying to fit in were so on point!  

A book which had me turning the pages quickly to discover what exactly was going on and keen to see if I was right.  An excellent read.
Was this review helpful?
Circle Of Doubt by Tracy Buchanan is a fantastic book with many unexpected twists and turns. The storyline was fantastic and really appealed to me. I would highly recommend Circle Of Doubt and look forward to reading more by Tracy Buchanan.

Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for my ARC.
Was this review helpful?
This book was just ok for me, a 3.5.  It felt very repetitive, variations on the same theme over and over again, then the reveal came and i had figured it out, but managed to not care very much.  felt like formula writing, like so many of this genre, unfortunately since it is my favorite genre
Was this review helpful?
5+ solid shining, glowing stars! Unputdownable and unforgettable! WOW! One of the best books I’ve read in a long time!

Tracy Buchanan certainly knows what readers want, and expertly delivers the best of the best! Once I started Circle of Doubt, I couldn’t put it down! It was so captivating that I held onto every word. I loved the story so much that I was sad when it ended. 

Circle of Doubt is a wickedly wonderful story of love, hate, betrayal and deceit fueled by rumors, revenge and redemption. I was addicted to the plot, hooked by the characters, shocked by the twists, and left speechless by the explosive ending! Circle of Doubt is a thrilling, gripping, suspenseful, and nail biting intense emotional roller coaster ride that you’ll never forget!

I LOVED the inclusion of the Welcome to the Mums of Forest Grove Facebook Group posts and discussion threads! I will never be able to look at any of my Facebook groups the same again! Tracy Buchanan brilliantly exposes the imperfections of the seemingly perfect residents of Forest Grove and proves how easily people can be influenced by their so called “friends” on social media. There are also anonymous thoughts interspersed throughout the book that are directed to the child, Isla. The mystery behind who is having these imaginary conversations with Isla heightens the intrigue and suggests that significant danger is creeping towards Isla and her family.

Emma, her husband Dele, and their daughter Isla have been living in Forest Grove for several months, but in a small town where everybody knows everybody else, Emma still feels like an outsider. Emma and Dele have been truthful with Isla about her being adopted, but since she was so young at the time, she has no memories of her biological parents. They are a close knit family, and even though Isla is happy and well rounded, Emma somewhat wishes that she had the luxury of being a stay at home mom. Not only do working mothers seemed to be looked down on for working in the Forest Grove community, but she loves spending time with Isla. Juggling the demands of work and family is hard!

Many residents of Forest Grove are initially appalled when Lawerence and Tatjana Belafonte and their two sons move into town because they have decided to build their monstrosity of a house in the forest area. Residents of Forest Grove are upset that part of the forest area will have to be cleared to accommodate the Belafonte’s dream home. While Emma is still struggling on the outskirts of the social circles, Tatjana smoothly and quickly fits in with the other mums effortlessly. That isn’t Emma’s only problem with Tatjana though. Tatjana stands out because of her poise, beauty, and elegance, but her strong resemblance to Isla’s birth mother is very disturbing. Tatjana’s immediate and overwhelming attention towards Isla is even more disconcerting, but Emma’s sister, Harriet, is the only person who seems to understand.

Is it possible that Tatjana is using a fake name to cover up her identity as Jade, Isla’s birth mother? Given the appearance of her perfect lifestyle and happy home life, is it possible she’s now in the process of trying to get Isla back? Worse yet, is it possible that a she knows about Emma’s secret? Emma has always known that if anyone found out about her secret that it would destroy her life and her family. The only person who genuinely understands Emma’s problems and fears is her sister, Harriet.

When knowledge of events from the past collide with the present, the results are catastrophic and none of their lives will ever be the same.

Thank you Tracy Buchanan, Lake Union Publishing, and Netgalley for allowing me the privilege of reading Circle of Doubt. My feedback is voluntary and expresses my honest opinions. The links below are to my group and page, but I also added the links to the reviews that I posted in other groups where it specifies to add links.

https://m.facebook.com/groups/376986410130265/permalink/430567558105483/?ref=group_browse

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=147631640452009&id=101513968397110

https://m.facebook.com/mustreadfavorites/?ref=bookmarks

https://m.facebook.com/groups/376986410130265/?ref=group_browse
Was this review helpful?
Circle of Doubt is full of Red Herrings that will keep you guessing who is gaslighting Emma in the small town of Forest Grove.

Emma and her husband have an adopted daughter Isla and she is convinced that one of the Mum's on the school drop off is Isla's birth mother.  

No one believes her, that no one being her husband Dele. 

Strange things start happening and Emma is looking to be not so great a mum after all.

I don't want to say much more as it is better you follow the clues  and see just who Emma can trust if anyone. 

This is my first Tracy Buchanan book but it wont be my last.   Circle of Doubt was a roller coaster read.  

Thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing for a page turning read.
Was this review helpful?
LOVED IT, thanks Sophie for telling me how good it was, you were right!
The only problem I am having is what to say as don’t want to give anything away really, it’s a good book to ‘go in blind’ 
But...what I will say is this...Emma and Dele have a near perfect life in the amazing wooded village of Forest Grove, it is as idyllic as it sounds, except for the playground Mum’s ( all nastily wonderful ) and the bitchy fest Watsapp group they run ( also nastily wonderful ), a new family arrive, they seem VERY OTT and are taking an interest, too much of an interest in Emma and her family, Emma is suspicious of them
but could her mind be playing tricks on her, again
The story is really well told and there are many faucets to it, it’s exciting, quick moving and horrifying yet keeps the dream like status of Forest Grove alive, it’s a clever tale of the past hurtling forward, manipulation and also has a nod to even baddies being redeemable
Once doubt arises, it grows..and grows 
Really, really good and will definitely be reading more from this author

10/10
5 Stars
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an early copy of Circle of Doubt.  What an interesting plot for a book, a wild ride! I absolutely Loved this novel. The characters were so real and it kept my interest throughout the whole book. A nice twist close to the end, one that I did not see coming.  Happy reading, you will NOT be disappointed.
Was this review helpful?
Great book! I was hooked from the start, thank you so much for providing me a copy of this book to read. This is something I would love to purchase.
Was this review helpful?
This gave me chills, I can't imagine how Emma must be feeling knowing that Tatjana could be the birth mother of their adopted daughter. The fear and uncertainty would be devastating and playing mind games with Emma. The book was thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat. Tatjana definitely did have ulterior motives and it just shows you that you never truly know someone no matter what. Emma second guessing herself had my heart breaking for her - she was put in a truly awful position. 

This was an excellent read! Absolutely adored it and would highly recommend. Thank you NetGalley and Tracy for allowing me to read this wonderful book.
Was this review helpful?
Circle of Doubt had everything I love about a mystery/thriller: a self-doubting heroine with a tragic secret, a creepy setting in the dark and stormy woods, an unlikely villain, and the perfect bombshell twists and turns I truly did not see coming!

Tracy Buchanan’s Circle of Doubt introduces us to Emma Okoro, a working mom who is struggling to fit in with the moms of their small, Stepford-esque community in English suburbia. When a new family moves into town, revealing strange connections to Emma’s adopted daughter, Isla, secrets from Emma’s past begin to surface, threatening her family and her identity as a mother. 

The book started off a little rocky and took a couple of chapters for me to become interested in the plot and characters, but I’m really glad I stuck with it because things started picking up and eventually I didn’t want to put it down!

As a mom myself, I loved the central theme of motherhood in this book and how the author shed light on the internal struggles and insecurities moms deal with on top of all the external judgements and scrutiny. It really helped me relate to Emma and appreciate her journey to motherhood and protectiveness over her family. 

I would have given this 5/5 stars, if not for a couple of plot holes and inconsistencies I picked up on. I also thought the single apostrophe quotations were a bit distracting (perhaps a British English grammar thing?), but that wasn’t a deal-breaker. Some parts of the conclusion also came off a little contrived, but I did enjoy the resolution nonetheless. 

Circle of Doubt is definitely one of the better thrillers/mysteries I’ve read this past year! I’d highly recommend it to fans of the genre or to anyone looking for a the next exciting, unputdownable read.
Was this review helpful?