The Darker Side | Whistle in the Dark | A Review

Mental Health is well and truly spoken more and more nowadays, so much so that it’s even started making it’s mark in books, showing us that we’re not alone.


Emma Healey follows the success of her #1 internationally bestselling debut novel Elizabeth Is Missing, winner of the Costa First Novel Award, with this beautiful, thought-provoking, and psychologically complex tale that affirms her status as one of the most inventive and original literary novelists today.

Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent’s worst nightmare.

Relieved, but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied, bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country. As Lana lies mute in the bed, unwilling or unable to articulate what happened to her during that period, the national media speculates wildly and Jen and Hugh try to answer many questions.

Where was Lana? How did she get hurt? Was the teenage boy who befriended her involved? How did she survive outside for all those days? Even when she returns to the family home and her school routine, Lana only provides the same frustrating answer over and over: “I can’t remember.”

For years, Jen had tried to soothe the depressive demons plaguing her younger child, and had always dreaded the worst. Now she has hope—the family has gone through hell and come out the other side. But Jen cannot let go of her need to find the truth. Without telling Hugh or their pregnant older daughter Meg, Jen sets off to retrace Lana’s steps, a journey that will lead her to a deeper understanding of her youngest daughter, her family, and herself.

A wry, poignant, and masterfully drawn story that explores the bonds and duress of family life, the pain of mental illness, and the fraught yet enduring connection between mothers and daughters, Whistle in the Dark is a story of guilt, fear, hope, and love that explores what it means to lose and find ourselves and those we love.

Netgalley Review

This book is rather creepy but written really well! You really get sucked into the book and the lead up to the ending will have you reading with a lump in your throat waiting to see what happens. Really well written!

Star Review – 3 Stars

For me, this book was terribly hard to read. It was involving a teenage girl struggling with depression and her mum’s thoughts and processes involving that.

The book can be quite scary at times and we see all through Jen’s eyes, we never truly understand what Lana was/is going through until Jen herself gets there. (No spoilers guys, you have to read to find out!) But it’s written really well and definitely makes you feel like your there, you’re there with Jen, every step of the way.

The book sucks you in and the lead-up to the ending will have you reading the book with a hand over your eyes or on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what happens and make sure that everything is okay.

As always, let me know in the comments below if you’ve read the book and what you thought of it, or even if you’ve read Emma’s first book ‘Elizabeth is Missing’. Or will you be adding this to your TBR?

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