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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.3 out of 5
5 Stars
28 reviews have 5 stars
4 Stars
25 reviews have 4 stars
3 Stars
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All Book Reviews

  • Playing Games

    This is a very well written book that explores both the nature of family but also the nature of obsession. Dealing not only with the murder of a child but the disappearence of another, the aftermath for the parents of said children and the aftermath for the family of the accused. It also explores the intrusiveness of the media and how events are manipulated and twisted by them to sell the most copy or get the most clicks. Although I had more or less figured out by half way through the book the reality of the history behind The Flower Girls, this did not effect my enjoyment of the latter half. It may even have increased it as I was able to pick up on all the little clues scattered throughout that pointed the reader in the right direction. The only real puzzle becomes who abducted the 5 year old from the Balcombe or did she just wander off as her parents asserted? The reveal when it comes actually shocked me and was not where I expected things to go with that story thread. The characterisation throughout is strong. Even Joanna (who I found to be irritating beyond belief) is so well constructed as the Aunt of the murdered toddler that she lives and breathes between the pages. Laurel is particularly complex and you are left with the feeling that you have not even scraped the surface of this damaged soul. Rosie Bowman may have rebranded herself as Hazel Archer to escape her "notorious past" but as things start to fall apart around her you start to see the 6 year old peeping back through, the way the author handles this is wonderfully nuanced and you do get sucked in by the character. Plotting is strong and well paced. Although it follows some tried and tested thematic schemes it always manages to feel fresh and you do find yourself hurrying through Max's thoughts to get to the next section from Joanna's perspective or Hazel's or Laurel's and then having to go back and force yourself to slow down a little to take in every little bit of it. Each character exists for a reason of the plot but so unobtrusively and naturally that nobody feels like padding. There are truly chilling moments in this book which, for me, were not really related to the murder of 2 year old Kirstie Swann. They were definitely based around the psychologies of those involved and tended to be almost throw away moments in the text when Laurel or Hazel/Rosie was remembering things from their childhood. Maybe the best exponent of this was when Hazel is reciting her internal that what is happening is real and not make believe. For me this was a summation of the book itself, just one little sentence and yet it encapsulated all that was going on here. This is an exciting novel that will have you suffering from the "one more chapter" curse. So, why not 5 stars if I loved it so much? It is such a small thing but I did become wearied of both the insistence on referring to a toddler as a baby, in fact the constant use of the word baby began to grate immeasurably and I also found some of the assumptions made in the original case to be leaps of faith that were never tested at the time or on appeal and were almost glossed over. The main one being the judges assertion of being exposed to violent imagery being to blame, there also is a troubling lack of professional support given to Laurel throughout her incarceration which I find hard to believe would be the case for one incarcerated so young for such a heinous crime. For once a novel that is touted as being a Psychological Thriller actually steps up to the plate and delivers. THIS IS AN HONEST AND UNBIASED REVIEW OF A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK RECEIVED VIA THE PIGEONHOLE.

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    3 person found this review helpful

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  • will keep you guessing

    I honestly would of given this book a 10 if I could if it was a tv series you would be hooked, not going to spoil it with anything except just recommend as a good read

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    1 person found this review helpful

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    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A fantastic premise

    Laurel and Rosie, two young sisters who tortured and killed 2 year old Kirstie Swann have become infamous as The Flower Girls. One was sentenced to prison, one was deemed too young and given a new life, now Laurel is up for parole but has she really changed? I was really looking forward to reading The Flower Girls, it’s gotten some really good reviews and it is very much focused on a topic that interests me – true crime. It pulls parallels from the real life Jamie Bulger case, where 10 year olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson killed 2 year old Jamie in 1993. The Flower Girls is a brilliant concept and I really enjoyed how it flipped perspective between Rosie - who was too young to be sentenced and now trying to live a new identity, Joanna - the aunt of the deceased girl and Max - a writer who discovers Rosie’s true identity. The story really narrows in on themes of grief, recidivism and forgiveness in a very real way. I did find that I struggled to truly get into the book for a while, it’s an odd writing style, very chopped sentences and felt a bit repetitive at times. I’m not sure if the fact I was reading the ARC didn’t help in that it was quite a badly formatted copy of the book. Usually you expect to get odd paragraph breaks and unlabelled chapters as the book is quickly converted to a Kindle format, however this had odd capitalisation, sometimes missing altogether and full stops peppered around in very odd places. As the writer writes in short, chopped sentences a lot it made it quite hard to fully get into the story straight away but I’m sure this will be ironed out in the final copy. I would have liked to have gotten more into the mindset of the girls and truly find out what happened and what caused them to act as they did. I feel like the options presented where either that they watched violent movies or played videogames or they were straight evil with no in-the-middle. As an avid player of videogames (and never having murdered anyone!) this opinion always really annoys me but I guess it is true to public opinion and the press. There were a few twists and shocks towards the end that I actually found very unrealistic, just written for shock value which I didn’t enjoy as well (no spoilers). Overall The Flower Girls is a fantastic premise although I was slightly less enamoured by the writing style and shock twists towards the end. Thank you to NetGalley, Bloomsbury Publishing and Raven for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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  • A great read!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would definately recommend. I am looking forward to reading more by Alice Clark-Platts.

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  • recommended

    oh wow, what a surprise, thought I had book figured out till I got to the surprise ending. A very good read

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