A brilliant debut! My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber #BookReview #BlogTour @ByLizzyBarber @arrowpublishing @Rachel90Kennedy

My Name is Anna def

Welcome to my blog stop on the book tour for the brilliant debut novel My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber. My thanks to the author, to Rachel Kennedy and Arrow Publishing for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I can’t wait to tell you more so let’s go!

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Two women – desperate to unlock the truth.
How far will they go to lay the past to rest?

ANNA has been taught that virtue is the path to God. But on her eighteenth birthday she defies her Mamma’s rules and visits Florida’s biggest theme park.
She has never been allowed to go – so why, when she arrives, does everything seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives on the same day?

ROSIE has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads. Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes in full flow, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth. But will she find the answer before it tears her family apart?

amazon uk amazon com

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Most surprising novel of the year so far! I loved this debut, it was so much deeper and darker than I thought it would be.

A story always has two sides and I was thrilled the author didn’t choose to write this magnificent story in a single narrative but opted for a dual narrative by Anna and Rosie, sharing their own individual story in alternating chapters. Their very different, contrasting lives made for fascinating reading and the anticipation of seeing these threads come together was agonizing.

As a reader I knew more than the main protagonists right from the start so I had to wait a while for one of the girls to catch up with what I already knew and some readers might perhaps find it a bit of a slow start but it’s oh so important to watch the whole thing unfold in its own time, it’s essential to see how that seed of doubt develops, grows and is cultivated. It can’t be rushed or it wouldn’t be believable anymore so I tried to resist the urge for a quick progression and my desire to see the storylines cross-over. The buildup was subtle and let me see the many nuances in the girls’ lives. Not only were they raised on different continents, they were raised very differently as well. You can’t miss what you don’t have but my heart went out to Anna because I knew of course what they were both missing. As I turned the pages I  was overcome with a sad feeling thinking how different both their lives could have been.

Anna lives with her religious neat-freak mother and she’s destined to lead a strict and frugal life. I didn’t envy her life and I certainly didn’t like her mother. Rosie on the other hand was raised in a warm and affectionate family, she smokes, drinks and goes to parties (without her mum knowing). She’ll never be like other teenagers though, the fact that her sister is missing casts a big shadow on their family. The grief of this entire broken family of parents, a sister and even the brother who doesn’t even know the missing girl was so touchingly described that it made my heart ache.

I was hugely awarded for my initial patience because the last part of the novel was terrific. The story intensified gradually with the help of two other narrators who help reveal the backstory and the reasons why this happened 15 years earlier. It made such compelling reading! I might have had my judgement at the ready from page 1 but hearing the full story that led to the kidnapping, it changed my initial views and condemnation. Never judge a book by its cover, or in this case, by the facts. I’m not saying I’m agreeing with what Anna’s mother did but at least I can say I have some understanding.

My Name Is Anna made me feel a wide range of emotions and quite surprisingly the story turns more and more dangerous. Who does Anna have to be afraid of though? Her mother or this mystery man who knows who she is? The story builds to an amazing climax too that made me hold my breath. Gripping and tense, check and check!

I’m very happy with the way it ended, I loved the epilogue. It could have ended differently or the author could have written clichés to give the story a ‘happy ever after’ ending with no further thought but she didn’t and that’s what makes it so much better and made me close the novel with a sigh of contentment.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

*** Don’t forget to check out the other 2 blog tour stops today ***

blog tour graphic final - my name is anna

28 thoughts on “A brilliant debut! My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber #BookReview #BlogTour @ByLizzyBarber @arrowpublishing @Rachel90Kennedy

    • Ok, except I can’t find this book…is it going to be published under a different title and released in the US in December of 2019? That’s all I can find…

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      • If you click the Amazon link button in the review it says the hardback on Amazon.com was pub 10 January, the paperback is to come in August. Kindle version is out but still quite expensive so you might want to wait or check BookDepository… I wish it would come out everywhere at the same time but if it makes you feel better, it also happens in the other direction 😉.

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      • Kindle isn’t being released in the US until December 31, 2019 & it will be a decent price then. I can get the Hardcover as Amazon will let me order from other countries but the shipping is killer. I will wait for this one! It looks like when it’s released in the US it will may be titled Anna In The Dark. I hate when they do this and change titles and release dates!!! I get all excited and then have to wait, haha!

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      • Strange that it gave me other dates and prices.. maybe they checked location automatically. Ah no, I hate it when they change titles and covers too! I actually liked my proof cover (greenish with different names on them) better than the book cover because the coloured balloons give it a much too bright and happy look for me.

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  1. Funny you mention the cover judging, cuz this book was one of those i skipped cuz of the cover. Had one look, “oh, missing kid stuff, again?”
    But I’m convinced now that i’d actually like this 😀
    Awesome review.

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  2. Nothing better than a book that positively surprises! 🙂 This story sounds quite intense and the 2 sisters lives are in quite a contrast so I can se ehow it would make for interesting reading, too! Brilliant review! 🙂

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  3. Pingback: Links I’ve Enjoyed This Week – 20/01/19 – Secret Library Book Blog

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