All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Ones You Trust by Caroline Overington

on August 20, 2018

The Ones You Trust 
Caroline Overington
Harper Collins AUS
2018, 336p
Uncorrected proof copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Emma Cardwell, celebrity mum and host of top-rating morning TV show Cuppa, seems to have it all: fame, money and a gorgeous family. But when her little girl disappears from day-care – captured on CCTV footage at a nearby shopping centre leaving with someone Emma has never seen before – her world is turned upside down.

As the minutes tick by, and pressure mounts, every part of Emma’s life comes under examination. Is this a kidnapping, the work of a crazed stalker, or an obsessed fan? Is somebody out for revenge or is this something closer to home?

And there is the aching question: how much do we really know about those who care for our children . . . and about the people we love?

This book was…!

I’d heard good things before I started – I knew a couple of people that had already read it and were really singing its praises and I’ve loved several of Caroline Overington’s previous books so my expectations were probably quite high going in, which can sometimes be a bit of a problem. However not in this case.

Emma Cardwell works as a morning TV host (like Sunrise or Today if you’re Australian, or maybe a Good Morning America sort of thing) and she is at the studio at the crack of dawn and often works late into the afternoon and then has events to attend, publicity to create. She has recently been ‘papped’ and had unflattering pictures of her taken on a beach which have been splashed across news pages, making for cruel remarks and jibes about her steadily creeping weight, making her quite vulnerable and fearful of her position in front of the entire country on camera every morning. She and her husband have three children, the youngest of which is only about eighteen months old and attends a day care. They employ a nanny for school drop offs, pick ups and various other tasks, including the day care run. One day Emma is home late and when she goes in to say goodnight to her youngest child, Fox-Piper, she isn’t in her cot. No one picked her up from daycare that day……

Emma is frantic and her position as a well known public face basically means that this story runs 24/7. There’s CCTV footage discovered from the mall that the daycare is in, of Fox-Piper with someone that no one in the family can identify. But as of yet there’s been no demand, no communication. The police know that those first 24 hours are absolutely critical. So far they have no real leads and the chaos of Emma’s position in the media is only complicating matters.

This is just a masterfully told story. It’s a biting insight into television and the role ‘ageing’ (and by that I mean 40s & onwards) women are dealt. It shows how everything is an opportunity for promotion and the micromanaging of television presenters and what goes on behind the scenes (I found the role of Maven absolutely fascinating and also slightly horrifying). There’s the pressure of ratings and constantly being in competition with a similar show on a rival network and always feeling that hanging over you, the constant need to always perform well, better than that other show. When Fox-Piper goes missing, it becomes the lead running story and there’s plenty of theories and judgemental commentary because Emma is a public figure and she’s the breadwinner of her household, working what would probably be termed very unsociable and definitely not friendly hours for having a family. On paper her and her husband Brandon, an American look to have the perfect marriage, raising their three beautiful children and living the dream in a fantastic home. But not everything is as it seems!

This book hauled me in from the first page and kept me hooked the whole way through. I found the mystery element really interesting (who had Fox-Piper, why, how on Earth did they get her out of her daycare without being one of the approved people etc) but I also just really liked the social commentary and exploration of human nature. The dynamics in Emma and Brandon’s relationship, Emma’s working relationship with her male cohost, the role of the producer and publicity and how the wheels of TV kept turning in a never ending war for ratings and success and the way in which audiences were often manipulated. Emma was presented as likeable and sort of ‘girl next door’ – not so beautiful or thin that she was intimidating, a career woman who worked hard but who was also an amazing wife and mother. The sort of woman you’d like to have as a good friend.

The writing, plotting and pace are impeccable. And I’m notorious for not guessing twists and endings but – wow. The twists in this I did not see coming at all and they blew me away. Just when you think you kind of have it figured out, there’s something else that happens and it just steps it up a whole other gear. It went in so many places that I didn’t expect going into it and the end! So, so good. Horrifying in a way, but still. So, so good.

Loved this. Caroline Overington has written a lot of good books in her time and I Came To Say Goodbye holds such a special place for me but I think this is her best yet.


Book #129 of 2018

2 responses to “Review: The Ones You Trust by Caroline Overington

  1. Marg says:

    I’ve only read one book by this author and I liked it. Sounds like I need to pick this one up!

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