To Dare, Jemma Wayne: Book Review

An enjoyable thriller, but sometimes difficult to read with its troubling topics, which explores family, inequality and revenge – check out To Dare by Jemma Wayne.

The plot:

Veronica and her wealthy husband George are unpacking boxes, hoping a fresh start in their newly refurbished Victorian terrace will help them heal from a recent trauma.

Next door, Simone returns to her neglected council flat. Miserable and trapped, she struggles to take care of her children under the watch of her controlling husband Terry.

When childhood friend Sarah re-enters Veronica’s life, things are thrown even further off balance. As tensions in their own lives rise, the painful memory that binds them threatens to spill into their present.

Wayne has created an excellent review of modern-day topics which are not easy to read

I’m going to start this review with the characters, because they were the highlight of this book for me. They were so realistic, scarily real. Each character has their own compelling story, and could’ve been separate thrillers, but Wayne has pleasantly tied them all together. I did struggle to picture them physically, and locations away from the flat.

Chapters are split by the three characters – they each have clear, different tones, so it is easy to follow. The author has done well to take each story, and build fitting characteristics; for example, Veronica with her recent trauma and how this is now effecting her life, displaying psychopathic tendencies at times; Simone with fight, but often cowering and torn; and Sarah, who displays paranoia and getting a grasp on past tragedies.

As those pages flew by, I got really attached to Simone and Veronica, but couldn’t see the relevance of Sarah, but all becomes clear at the end when the pieces come together.

There are some parts which are very difficult to read, especially with regard to Simone – not only are there racial slurs from Terry, but he is controlling and physically/mentally abusive. Wayne hasn’t shied away from this topic of abuse, so sometimes I had to put the book down and breathe.

It does make you feel different about how you approach people, especially with what’s going on in their life. Each character had an individual trauma, and obviously dealt with it in their different ways – whilst this is a thriller, it does offer messages for the reader to take away – the ending gave me goosebumps, and it’s a memorable read.

It has a few jaw-dropping moments, one particularly near the end which was just entirely unexpected and ?!?!? – I didn’t see it coming at all, and it did really well to close the book, but also offering that plot twist sensation.

Overall, a good 3/5-star thriller. I kept on waiting for that big twist, and whilst there were some shocking moments, it didn’t get my heart-racing enough in a thriller-y way. Saying this, Wayne has created an excellent review of modern-day topics which are not easy to read, and explores the impact these have on our lives, and others around us.

To Dare, Jemma Wayne, RRP £8.99 (paperback); Book Depository 

Pages: 317

Publisher: Legend Press

Genre: Thriller

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