Cover Image: Circle of Doubt

Circle of Doubt

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

[b] The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review [/b]

3/5 Stars

Right, for those who want to read it: [b] DON'T READ THE BACK [/b]. I would recommend as some other reviewers have said, go into it as blind as possible. You will benefit from it from your reading experience.

Pro's: I liked the writing style, use of social media, and perspective from two characters. The plot twist took me by surprise, which they don't often do.

Cons: Characters sometimes felt a bit fake and undeep, The way racism was discussed and pointed out in this book felt almost a tad odd. I think that's the only way I could describe it. I would assume Emma and Dele, an interracial couple that used to live in London, would not talk about race and skin colors this way. Then again, that's my opinion, I have not seen any other reviewers comment on that, so it might just me that noticed that or found it odd.

Was a quick read, finished it in two days. So if you need something to pick up for a reading challenge, and you like a surprising plot twist, it can be the book for you!
Was this review helpful?
Isla is the adopted child of Emma and Dele. They live together in an wonderful small town. Emma struggles to fit in with the other moms at Isla’s school, while Isla has no troubles making friends.  When a new family moves to the town, it turns their lives upside down. There are several twists to this story. It was a good read!
Was this review helpful?
This is a very good story with lots of twists, some of them being totally unexpected. I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it
Was this review helpful?
I received an ARC copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest opinion of it. Emma and her husband, Dele move to a new neighborhood with their daughter, Isla. When a new neighbor moves in who looks exactly like Isla's birth mother, things get creepy. I just didn't enjoy and did not finish it. I thought the Facebook conversations were annoying and didn't need to be in the book at all.
Was this review helpful?
I love domestic thrillers and this one is as good as they get!  Emma and Dele thought their world was complete when they adopted their beautiful daughter. Isla.  When a new family moves into the neighborhood and Emma thinks the lady looks  like Isla's birth mother she tells herself that she is just being paranoid.  But when odd things start happening she doesn't know what to believe.  This is a great story with realistic characters and lots of twists and turns throughout.  The ending is a big surprise and one you won't see coming.  

Thanks to Net Galley for allowing me to read this incredible arc for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you @ netgalley and @amazonpublishing UK for the early copy in exchange for my honest review. This was such an entertaining read!

Emma and Dele form a lovely little family with their adopted daughter Isla. She is their everything. 
When they move from London to the small and scenic town of Forest Grove, it doesn't take Isla long to make friends at school. Unfortunately that doesn't count for her mother Emma. The fact that she is a working mother does not fit well with the other mums at the school yard who love to gossip and judge. Emma has always been insecure and is struggling to cope with all the prejudice around her. When a new family moves into town, Emma is startled to see that the woman shows a great resemblance to Isla's birth mother. And when the family shows a huge interest in Isla as well, Emma feels she's getting paranoid. But is she really or is something more sinister going on...

Loved the storyline. It's surprising and kept me guessing throughout. I flew through the pages and sympathized with the main character. 
Looking forward to read more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
This was my first thriller of the year and it was a great one! For the first 60% of the book, I thought I had it figured out and was starting to feel disappointed that it was so obvious...and then I was shocked at a twist that I had not seen coming. That to me is what makes a great thriller.

The book is told in dual perspectives, that of the main character, Emma, with snippets told from an unknown and dark perspective. The focus of the book is on a mother's insecurities - highlighted by the awful and tedious "mommy circle" of a small community. Personally, I could relate to Emma's feelings of dealing with the feelings of not quite fitting in to the "mommy circle" at school drop offs and pick ups, as I was that mom myself. 

The judgments and pressures placed on young moms is something that just struck a chord for me, and the resulting second-guessing of ourselves that can come with that. 

This is the story of a mom of an adopted daughter, juggling her love for her child and her fears that the child's biological parents may try to use her past against her. I won't say any more about the plot itself, as I do not want to give anything away, but trust me when I say that you may think you have it figured out but you probably don't. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I will definitely be reading more of this author's works.
Was this review helpful?
Happy Publication Week! ( Jan. 5th) 

This book was phenomenal! I think my thriller-loving heart will keep this one with me for a long time. 

I read this in one day, because I just couldn’t put it down. I HAD to know what was going on!

“ ...I can’t tell you how frustrating it’s been to only be able to grasp at small pieces of you, when I ought to have you as a whole.”

Emma and Dele Okoro adopted Isla when she was almost two years old. She had a rough start at life after spending her first year with her mother who was addicted to drugs, followed by 6 months in foster care. 

Emma, a social media consultant and Adele, a book store manager were able to give young Isla the comfortable and loving home that she so desperately needed in Forest Grove. A place that is “Home to Strong Branches and Deep Roots” and known as the “ Utopia of the woods.” 

The people in this town, mothers especially, can be a bit snobby and Emma has found it hard to fit in , that is until she meets the new girl in town, a fashionista named TatJana “Tat” who extends an olive branch. A fashion designer is all Isla has ever wanted to be when she grows up, so she immediately takes a liking to her as well.

Tat and her architect husband,Lawrence Belafonte, are the ones that everyone’s been gossiping about. They are the family employing the gigantic red crane that is tearing apart the forest to lay down their newly constructed mansion. 

The only problem with the friendship is that Tat looks JUST like Isla’s birth mother Jade Dixon and Emma begins to panic. How can’t her husband see this uncanny resemblance? TatJana is everything that Jade could have been if she had gotten her act together, and nine years later she very well could have.

This novel contains dual perspectives, one person who desperately wants Isla back, and another who is determined to keep her...and some of the threats get GOOD.

“What if i strode over to her right now and picked that log up by her feet and smashed her head in?”

“ ...Game over for your pretend parents.”

But, Emma’s past isn’t as perfect as it may seem, for she’s holding onto a debilitating secret— one that could cause her to lose her daughter.

A jaw-dropping thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This one had a twist that I didn’t see coming at all, and one that I figured out only minutes before, and that’s really saying something!

Tracy Buchanan—You got me! I can’t wait to read more of your work.

Thank you to Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing & Tracy Buchanan for allowing me to read an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.

4.5 ⭐️ rounded up to 5 for Goodreads.

Spoilers below—BEWARE:

I didn’t give this book a full five stars because there were a few circumstances that I thought were a bit far-fetched, such as Emma not knowing that the drink was spiked at the Halloween party—she definitely would’ve tasted rum and vodka. Also, Emma not even using the bathroom after claiming to have been looking for it when she was caught in the Belafonte’s bedroom. It also bothered me that it mentioned that black people were hard to tell apart a few times in the story.
Was this review helpful?
Such a great book!  Circle of Doubt turned out to be, truly, a circle of doubt.   Just when you thought you new what was going on, there was a twist that pulled you in another direction!   A young family living in a new town has their lives rattled when another young family moves in down the road and a connection is sensed.  It turns out it is not at all what you expect.  

Despite the various twists and turns, the book flowed well.  The surprises didn't feel forced like they sometimes can--I was genuinely surprised several times during reading, which doesn't often happen to me.  

I definitely recommend this book if you like twisty psychological thrillers.    Thank you to the publisher and #NetGalley for the ARC.  All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Circle of Doubt is about a young biracial couple who move to a small, "perfect," forest town with their elementary-aged daughter, who they adopted as a baby. The mother, Emma, has a hard time making friends + fitting in with the "perfect" stay-at-home moms at her daughter's school, and her world is rocked when a new family moves to town and the mother looks eerily familiar.

A solid read with twists and turns I didn't see coming! It seemed predictable until the 70% point, but then things got very interesting and I liked the end of the book.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book for my reviews. I enjoyed reading Wall of Silence and this was also a good read. There are many twists and turns throughout the book. It was very clever how the writer steered you in one direction and it was a completely different direction.
Was this review helpful?
The second novel from Tracy Buchanan set in the fictional Forest Grove. This time the storyline is about adoption. Dele and Emma move with their ten year old daughter Isla to Forest Grove from London for a safer lifestyle but Emma has a hard time settling in and making friends with the other mothers at the local school. When another couple Lawrence and Tatjana move into the village strange things begin to happen to Emma. Also Emma notices that Tatjana looks like Islas birth mother Jade which doesn’t help her feelings of inadequacy. As in the first book the local Facebook group is quick to gossip about Emma and tension builds between the main characters with some very surprising turns along the way. There were some situations throughout that I found hard to believe but on balance I did enjoy the book and it did keep me guessing to the end.
Was this review helpful?
The book was good, but at the same time, it was the same rehashed plot. A small happy family with Emma, Dele and daughter Isla, then new neighbors moved in. The only issue was the woman looked like her adopted daughter’s mother. This raised Emma’s suspicions, especially when strange things too started happening. Sounded familiar?

I went into this book with low expectations as I knew author Tracy Buchanan’s books could go either way for me. The story was exciting in the beginning, then slowly dragged on. I never understood why the husbands of the main characters never believe them when they present their fears. Everything is shoved as paranoia with some past mental illness quoted. Grow up. There is something known as a woman’s instincts.

Here too, I wanted to whack Dele when he refused to believe his wife even when she presented him with proof. I liked Emma in places when she became proactive with the support of her sister.

Facebook groups and messages were highlighted as there were many catty and bitchy neighbors of the two-legged kind who wrote awful things about Emma based on rumors. I knew these things existed as I had been on the other end of the bias. Those felt realistic.

The story had the POV of a silent hidden spectator who spoke about Isla’s past before she was adopted, and it was absolute fun to try to guess that person. As the story progressed, there were a couple of twists that were different than the other thrillers. That made the book interesting.

Overall, I would say it was a good book.
Was this review helpful?
Last year, with everything else going on, my reading suffered. I struggled to get into a lot of the books I picked up, even by authors I love and genres that had previously drawn me in left me cold. It was, then, with some trepidation that I started Circle of Doubt, even though I had really enjoyed my last Tracy Buchanan book, Wall of Silence.

Turns out I needn’t have worried. In fact, Tracy Buchanan may just be my lucky charm because, for the first time in forever (sorry for those now signing songs from Frozen), I found myself really enjoying what I was reading – so much so, I basically didn’t put it down until I had finished it. I really couldn’t have asked for a better way to end 2020 (and hopefully start 2021!).

Why did I like it so much? The story mainly, which is actually liked to one of my biggest fears as an adoptive parent, that somehow I will be challenged in my role as a parent. It’s a fear many adoptive parents have and, while the tension is ramped up here to a point I don’t think I’d ever face, there is a realism to it that suggests Buchanan did her research, which I appreciate as a reader.

I also liked the characters, especially Emma (and not just because of her name 😄). She is just the right side of stressed and anxious. The school moms are a bit more stereotypical but I have to say that – having moved to a new area myself – still believable. The only slight downside I’d Dele who I couldn’t get a handle on and I didn’t like how he didn’t side with Emma from the start. That, though, is a slight niggle in what is a great book and one I would highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Circle of Doubt is the first book I have read by Tracy Buchanan and she had me glued to my Kindle with all the tension and twists and turns in Forest Grove. As soon as I realised there was another book which was set in the same place (Wall of Silence), I had to buy it as from the first chapter of this book I was fully engrossed and made every excuse to sit and read all day. Forest Grove is home to a bitchy community with plenty of animosity and backstabbing and where rumours spread like wildfire. This made for such a fun read with plenty of drama and unpredictability. 

Emma, Dele and their adopted ten-year-old daughter Isla are on surface the perfect little family. But the arrival of a new family in Forest Grove sends Emma’s suspicions into overdrive. There is just something about Tatjana Belafonte that unsettles Emma. From the way she looks just like Isla’s birth mother to the uncomfortable pace she seems to grow attached to Isla at, Emma simply cannot trust her and does her best to find out just who Tatjana really is. 

Along the way, Emma’s obsession sees her doubting herself and as Tatjana grows ever-present in her life, cracks soon begin to form within Emma’s perfect little family. I loved the intrigue behind many of the characters in this book. From the main characters to the mean girl vibes the school mums gave off, there were so many people I had my doubts about and couldn’t trust and this contributed perfectly to the unease throughout. I’d love to see Tracy Buchanan explore more of these characters in future books as there were hints at their lives and personalities during this book but there is obviously room for much more development in future books I hope. 

Circle of Doubt is definitely a book much better to be read than discussed in a review, as its fast pace means there is too much to spoil by talking about it and the book is really worth reading for yourself. I will say that the way Emma narrates her side of the story is so believable that I felt like I had it all figured out very early on but the story became more suspenseful with every chapter and later on in the book I was second guessing myself and enjoying every little revelation because for the most part I didn’t see them coming. 

I obsessed over this book and raced through it, only stopping for the odd what just happened break to take it all in. It was truly gripping and I am definitely looking forward to going back and reading the first book so I can continue my fix of Forest Grove.
Was this review helpful?
Circle of Doubt by Tracy Buchanan is a thriller with a couple of shocking twists.  Emma and Dele adopted their daughter Isla nine years ago.  Everything was great until they moved to Forest Grove and strange things started happening.  Is Isla's birth mother their new neighbor?  Emma starts questioning everything, even herself.  This book was well-written, but I guessed the twists pretty early on.  Also, I found some of the talk about Isla to be rather creepy and over-the-top at times.  Thanks to NetGalley for the free digital review copy.  All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This is a good read with a few shocks in the plot. I didn’t warm to any of the characters. I don’t know if the author did this deliberately or not. I also feel that it was predictable in a few places. 

Thank you to NetGalley for my copy.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this twisty book and want to thank Amazon and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review it. Emma and Dele move into the idealic village with their adoptive daughter Isla whe they meet their neighbour who happens to look very like Isa's birth mother. Is Emma paranoid or is it true. Sub plots are very clever throughout the book and I found I enjoyed it. The book was a very good follow on from Wall of Silence.
Was this review helpful?
Firstly a big thank you to the publishers for my copy to review on netgalley. I love this authors books and read her last one in lockdown which was set in the same place as this one.

I raced through this, its intriguing and unpredictable. I am adopted so i could relate to elements of the plot. A exploration of what makes a good parent and who gets to make that call?

Great mix of characters though who can be trusted?

Additive reading and compelling twists and turns. I really enjoyed this and highly recommend.

Published 5th January
Was this review helpful?
Having loved Wall of Silence, Tracy Buchanan's book set in the town of Forest Grove, I was really looking forward to reading Circle of Doubt, especially when I found out it would be the second book set in the fictional town. Many thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Circle of Doubt centers on interracial couple, Dele and Emma Okuru, and their adopted daughter, Isla. They live in the town of Forest Grove, having moved there seven months ago. Working full time, Emma feels out of place next to all the other stay-at-home school "mums" in the tight knit community. 

When the new Belafont family moves to town everyone is in awe. Tatjana and Lawrence (another interracial couple) are wealthy and glamorous. When Emma first meets Tatjana, she's relieved and overjoyed that Tatjana seems to want to be her friend. Though she does find it a little odd how much attention she gives Emma's daughter Isla. 

Then things start to fall apart for Emma. She forgets about permission slips. She screws up at work. Tatjana starts giving her the cold shoulder, though she still spends a lot of time with Isla. So Emma begins to wonder... is Tatjana's resemblance to Isla's birth mother, Jade, more than just a resemblance? If she is Jade, does she know about Emma's past? If she does, Emma will surely lose Isla for good. 

I'll be honest. I didn't enjoy this book as much as Wall of Silence. The plot and characters seemed similar to so many other books. When I read something in this genre, I usually like it to be different or new or fresh in some way, because there's just too many psychological thrillers out there and not enough time to read them all unfortunately. I also just did not like the character of Emma. All she seemed to do was whine all the time! 

I did like the short Mums of Forest Grove Facebook Group chapters. I've seen this kinda thing in a few other books. I think it adds a lot in terms of backstory and character development. I also appreciated the fact that both couples were in interracial marriages. It shows real life to an extent. 

I would rate this book 2.5 - 3 stars. This one just wasn't for me. I would read another book from Tracy Buchanan. I would recommend this book to fans of psychological thrillers and suspense.
Was this review helpful?