When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.
Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.
But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…
The million copy Sunday Times bestseller returns with a taut, compelling psychological thriller that will have you glued to the edge of your seat.
I was pretty excited to be chosen to be part of the Blog Tour for this novel as C L Taylor is an author I love. Plus let’s be honest the premise and look of this novel is incredible.
Like a lot of people in the UK, I can clearly remember the story of the young teenage girl who ran off to France with her maths teacher a few years ago, so I had the memory of that in my mind while reading this novel which gave it a certain extra edge. I remember how awful it was for her parents, and how shocked everyone was about the story.
The Fear is told from the first person narrative of Lou, who was Mike’s first victim. She ran off to France with him as a fourteen year old, when she incredibly naive, going through some family upset and believing she was in love with this man who showered her with affection and made her feel special. Lou is now 32 and has moved on with her life, until an unexpected turn brings her back to her old hometown where she discovers Mike is up to his old tricks, with local girl Chloe Meadows and she sets out to put things right.
I absolutely loved the mix of past and present from Lou’s perspective as it really brought home the emotion for me of what she went through as a teen, what she felt for Mike then and how it’s affected her life now. I thought this was wonderfully written and clearly very well researched. Her vulnerability as a teenager and how Mike took advantage of that shook me a lot, it was a very powerful statement about how there are those out there who are willing to use those things for their own advantage.
Mike was a very well written character, as I absolutely grew to despise him the further I got through the novel. Yes he has his issues for which maybe we can feel a slight amount of sympathy, but taking the innocence of a teenage girl is so beyond my realms of imagining it was hard for me to feel anything but anger towards him. I also felt that overtime there was a glimmer of some possibility for Mike, there seemed to be another element of darkness buried beneath.
The rest of the novel is mixed with third person perspectives from young Chloe and also local woman Wendy. For Chloe’s part in the story, I loved how she had just the right amount of sass in respect of her reactions to Lou. She was typically teenage in her responses of why can’t you just leave me alone to be happy, and she point blankly refuses any offer of advice or help Lou tries to give her. I remember being that stubborn in my opinions as a teenager, and having such set emotions and opinions that nothing would change my mind.
Wendy is such a fantastic character, and does bring with her a slight touch of humour to what otherwise is a very emotionally charged novel. I found her to be a little bit of light relief, although when you realise how she connects the characters of the story together, I had an altogether different view of her and I liked that my opinion changed as I knew more about her.
The ending of this one did blow me away, and I will honestly say I sat with my mouth open in a gaping fish impersonation as I finished the final pages, as I definitely didn’t see that twist coming.
The Fear had me completely in it’s grip from the first chapter, with a cast of intriguingly deep & complex characters and an ending that had me in complete shock this is the best of C L Taylor’s novels by far.
Thank you to Sabah and the team at Avon for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for this book.