Book Review : How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

June 30, 2015 Book review 10 ★★★½

The whole premise of this book is just intriguing. A woman, who was jailed for murdering her son while suffering from severe post-depression, comes out of prison and gets a photo that indicates her son is still alive. Colour me intrigued, I couldn’t wait to unravel this one.

Book Review : How I Lost You by Jenny BlackhurstHow I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst
Published by Headline on April 23rd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Psychological, Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bookbridgr

They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied? I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don't you?
My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my tattered life.
This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he's dead? If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?

First Line of How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst:

“My name is Susan Webster.”

My Thoughts on How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst:

Eeekk, this one captivated me from beginning to end. Now normally the thought of a violent mother would turn me right off but I felt from the get go that Emma was innocent and I had huge empathy for her. Not only was she mourning the death of her son but she was also missing her memories from that day and was carrying the heaviest burden in the world – thinking she had harmed the child who meant everything to her.

But as we know from the very beginning of the book, that may not be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. There are lots of indications that something very fishy was going on and I couldn’t race through the book fast enough to decipher the events.

I did think Emma was naively trusting and making friends with a reporter was probably not her smartest move. But I spent a lot of time thinking about how quick she was to trust him and it makes sense in a strange kind of way. Firstly there is a bit of chemistry between them but most importantly Emma thinks that her biggest issue is what she has done and not what strangers might have done.

So she wasn’t on her guard but I do think she would at least have done a google search or a facebook search on him. Isn’t that the normal nowadays? She also has a bit of weakness for a good looking man, I can empathise! I liked Nick (the reporter) a lot and could understand why she started to depend on him but still it didn’t seem 100% feasible. On the other hand, I loved the friendship she has with Cassie who was her cellmate in prison. It’s was surprisingly heart-warming and it felt good to know that Cassie was in Emma’s corner.

My biggest surprise was how twisty it all got though. I thought I had it all worked out (and believe me I lost sleep trying to match theories to the facts) but I only guessed half of it. The rest was a complete shock to me and wasn’t what I was expecting. I loved that shock factor I got when the reveal came. It also got a LOT darker than I thought and my opinions of lots of the characters changed as I read.

My one criticism is that it got a little bit melodramatic near the end and the sudden influx of action felt at odds with the rest of the book.

Overall, though I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel and I loved how it hooked me right in for the duration of the book. Even when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it.



Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars


Who should read  How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst?

I’d recommend this to fans of grit-lit, psychological thrillers with a domestic setting and to those that like books with layers of secrets in them. Fans of Sarah Hillary, Lindwood Barclay, Samantha Hayes and Paula Hawkins should also enjoy this one.

Thanks to Bookbridgr and Headline for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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10 Responses to “Book Review : How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst”

    • trish

      I know, I nearly felt the same but from the very first page and even the tag on the cover, I knew that Emma deserved a hearing!

  1. Jenny Blackhurst

    Thanks for the review Trish, you got exactly where I was going with the Nick relationship which I love. Yes, Emma is overly trusting but as you say the only person she doesn’t think she can trust is herself – also she’s used to depending on the men in her life, her father, her husband, so leaning on a man in times of need is her default position. Great fair and balanced review that is much appreciated 🙂 x

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