June 9

Dear Amy – Helen Callaghan

Dear AmyMargot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Enquirer. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received:

Dear Amy,
I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me.
Please help me soon,
Bethan Avery

Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything . . .


My thanks to Michael Joseph for my review copy which I received through Netgalley

Dear Amy opens with Katie Browne packing to run away from home. She has had enough of life with her mum (and her mum’s new partner) so Katie is setting off to go to her father’s house. But as she makes her way through the darkening streets she finds there are worse things than being unhappy at home.

Katie doesn’t make it to her father’s house.

Margot is a teacher who also runs a feature column (entitled Dear Amy) for the local Cambridge newspaper. She provides guidance and advice on health and relationship issues, suggests shelters for victims of domestic abuse and offers a reliable and confidential option for those in need who feel that they have no one else to turn to.

Margot collects her Dear Amy mail from the newspaper offices. She finds a letter from a young girl who is claiming to have been abducted and that she is being held captive against her will. But the letter states that the girl is called Bethan Avery – a girl who disappeared almost 20 years earlier.  How can Margot be receiving letters from a girl who has been missing for so many years?  How is a kidnap victim able to send a letter? And why has she suddenly decided to write to Margot? I HAD to know so I HAD to keep reading.

Taking the letters to the police Margot finds herself caught up in a missing person investigation. Although Bethan has been missing for 2 decades there is a small ‘cold case’ team who believe that there may be links between Bethan’s disappearance and the recent disappearance of young Katie Browne.

Dear Amy falls into the vulnerable narrator category. Margot, despite enjoying success through her Dear Amy column and being a popular teacher (rare), has a few issues to face. She is negotiating the final stages of a divorce settlement with her (soon to be ex) husband and as the story unfolds we learn that Margot has managed to overcome some troubled teenage years.  I particularly enjoyed Helen Callaghan’s skilful drip feed of important elements from Margot’s background and I enjoyed learning how she managed to overcome these issues and face them down.

Margot’s story and her bid to help Bethan (and possibly Katie) took some unexpected twists and turns. I had lots of fun reading Dear Amy, it certainly did not follow a path I was expecting  and I really enjoyed how Helen Callaghan was able to draw me in to the story  and keep me hooked.  Definitely one to watch out for and BEWARE SPOILERS.


Dear Amy is published by Michael Joseph on 16 June 2016 and can be ordered here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0718183754?keywords=dear%20amy&qid=1458165185&ref_=sr_1_1_twi_har_1&sr=8-1


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Posted June 9, 2016 by Gordon in category "From The Bookshelf