By Ekta R. Garg
June 24, 2020
Genre: Psychological thriller
Release date: June 16, 2020
Rated: Bookmark it! / 4 stars
A woman struggling with addiction is stalked by someone from her past. As she fights to stay clean, she must also deal with the fallout from the wrongs she’s committed even as she tries to start building a new life for herself. Author Lesley Kara’s newest novel starts slow but picks up steam in her newest novel Who Did You Tell?
Astrid Phelps has hit bottom, and she knows it when she moves from London to the small town of Flinstead. She’s left behind the charms—and temptations—of big city life. As dull as Flinstead is right now, it’s exactly what she needs as a newly-sober alcoholic.
After some apprehension, her mother’s agreed to let her move back home. At first Astrid doesn’t quite know what to do with herself. She’s going to AA meetings, yes, but it’s depressing and disheartening to be surrounded by the sad people who show up. One person in particular, Rosie, has taken a shine to Astrid and keeps trying to convince her that God is the solution to all of her problems. But Rosie’s been sober for eight years, and Astrid doesn’t think she would understand her kinds of problems.
Every day Astrid carries the weight of a secret. That secret makes her think of her ex-boyfriend, Simon, a fellow drunk who used to party it up with Astrid. They loved each other. They were also terrible for each other when it came to their addictions. Until the day Simon decided once and for all to get sober.
Now Astrid is trying to focus on her own future. She’s constantly fighting the urge to drink, and meeting a nice guy helps. Josh is sweet and funny and caring. He even helps Astrid get a job in art, something she thought she’d lost forever.
Everything seems to be turning around…until the messages start. Someone from Astrid’s past is sending her signals, pictures, and menacing messages that tell her they won’t let her forget the horrible mistakes she’s made. Because Astrid has made mistakes that have changed—and ended—lives. She’s determined to free herself from her past, but someone thinks she should be held prisoner to what has gone on before.
Author Lesley Kara takes time in leading readers through the opening chapters of the book, which is where the novel’s one main weakness lies. For the first third, readers follow Astrid as she attends meetings and spends a lot of time taking long walks and pondering her life. It might be tempting to let the book go, yet Kara includes just enough to keep readers engaged.
After that first third, however, with a startling reveal of a key piece of information, the pace picks up. As the stalker comes closer, Astrid’s compulsion to drink grows. Kara doesn’t give Astrid an easy way out, and readers will hold their breaths every time Astrid finds herself within the vicinity of alcohol. The author details with authenticity the immense struggle recovering alcoholics most likely experience every time they face a pressure point that would previously induce them to drink.
Astrid has made errors grave enough to make readers pause, yet her flaws are exactly why the audience will cheer her on. She takes full responsibility for her actions and agonizes over them day and night. She also understands that giving in to the longing to drink won’t erase the past, and as she fights those urges readers will hope for her to win.
The end comes with a satisfying number of twists and turns, and readers will find themselves guessing with glee at the answers to the questions that arise. This is a fun summer book worth the time. I recommend readers Bookmark Who Did You Tell?.
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