Book Review: The lost girls of Devon by Barbara O Neal

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Domestic fiction/ Thriller


One of Travel + Leisure’s most anticipated books of summer 2020.

From the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes a story of four generations of women grappling with family betrayals and long-buried secrets.

It’s been years since Zoe Fairchild has been to the small Devon village of her birth, but the wounds she suffered there still ache. When she learns that her old friend and grandmother’s caretaker has gone missing, Zoe and her fifteen-year-old daughter return to England to help.

Zoe dreads seeing her estranged mother, who left when Zoe was seven to travel the world. As the four generations of women reunite, the emotional pain of the past is awakened. And to complicate matters further, Zoe must also confront the ex-boyfriend she betrayed many years before.

Anxieties spike when tragedy befalls another woman in the village. As the mystery turns more sinister, new grief melds with old betrayal. Now the four Fairchild women will be tested in ways they couldn’t imagine as they contend with dangers within and without, desperate to heal themselves and their relationships with each other.

My verdict: First of all thank you to the kind folks at Netgalley who allowed me to read this book prior to its release in July and for introducing me to a new author! I find Ms O’Neale’s writing to be very eloquent almost reminiscent of poetry and even the though plot deals with heavy subjects she strikes the right balance when it comes to gritty realism and emotional impact with a dash of romance and moments of levity for good measure set against the stunning backdrop of the Devonshire coast where her descriptions make me feel as though I am their along side the characters.

This book shows us how bad relationships and good relationships shape us and how it’s natural to become estranged from friends over time but that no bridge is burned beyond repair and how we can turn traumatic experiences into something positive and learn from them.

I particularly enjoyed the Wiccan elements in regards to Poppy’s character and how much we need to remind ourselves to listen to the rhythms of nature and even our own emotions and how they can foreshadow things to come. I particularly enjoyed Isabels rather analogue approach to life aside from her writing and photography especially after what she did experienced and it reminded me that sometimes we need to log off and not be so worried about what others think and instead think of what we want for ourselves. I loved The butterfly analogy used throughout in both Zoe and Isabels art and how it represents the metamorphosis of character, how Zoe went from a happy-go-lucky child to resenting her mother and how Isabel went from a depressed teenager disengaged with life to a brave young woman who managed to find the beauty in anything she saw.

I read this book in a matter of 12 hours and I am so grateful for net galley for introducing me to the wonderful world according to Barbara O’Neale and will most definitely be looking forward to reading and reviewing her next release… this lovely author is one to watch! Fans of Diane Chamberlain, Jodi Picoult and Shalini Boland will love this fabulous family saga.

Click the image to be taken to fantastic fiction so that you may pre-order your copy.

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