Haven’t They Grown begins with a very creepy and puzzling scenario. A woman who lost touch with a close friend years ago goes to snoop on her while taking her son to a football match.
But Beth gets a shock when she sees Flora and her two children getting out of their car outside their new home.
She had last seen Flora and the children, Thomas and Emily, some twelve years ago. And during that time, the children haven’t aged at all.
The book tells the story of Beth’s quest to get to the bottom of this mystery. Along the way there are plenty of others—such as why Beth and Flora fell out, and what has happened to Flora’s baby Georgina.
For Sophie Hannah fans, the book follows a fairly familiar path.
The main character is a clever and determined woman who sets herself on a mission and has to overcome various obstacles along the way.
This book brings a fresher angle with the involvement of Beth’s daughter Zannah and at times her husband, Dom.
Together they come up with, and reject, various explanations for the seemingly unbelievable situation Beth has uncovered.
This helps to flesh out more characters with different strengths and weaknesses. It makes for a livelier read, and anyone who has a teenager in their lives might enjoy Zannah.
I did find that parts of the middle bit of the book dragged a bit. But when the lies start to unravel it gets more interesting.
The book starts with a creepy air about it and a sense that there could be something supernatural going on.
But the truth, which is rooted in the cruelty of real people, is far more horrific than any unearthly explanations could be.
Written by Sophie Hannah
Out 23 January