I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for A Ruined Girl by Kate Simants.
TWO BOYS LOVED HER.
BUT WHICH ONE KILLED HER?
On a dark night two years ago, teenagers Rob and Paige broke into a house. They beat and traumatised the occupants, then left, taking only a bracelet. No one knows why, not even Luke, Rob’s younger brother and Paige’s confidant. Paige disappeared after that night. And having spent her life in children’s homes and the foster system, no one cared enough to look for her.
Now Rob is out of prison, and probation officer Wren Reynolds has been tasked with his rehabilitation. But Wren has her own reasons for taking on Rob as a client. Convinced that Rob knows what happened to Paige, and hiding a lifetime of secrets from her heavily pregnant wife, Wren’s obsession with finding a missing girl may tear her family apart…
Lock Me In, the debut novel by Kate Simants was one of my favourite books last year and so I was thrilled when I got a review copy of A Ruined Girl. To begin with I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it as much as Lock Me In (which has a fabulous premise!) as the storyline was very different but gradually this book became a gripping addiction for me and I found myself completely immersed in its cleverly crafted characters and their lives.
There is a very sad, but unfortunately all too realistic, background to A Ruined Girl. The care system contributed greatly towards what happens to Paige, a young girl who goes missing after she commits a burglary. This child has been moved around the system and is desperate for love and attention after being removed from her abusive home. But what happened to her? Her partner in crime from the burglary has recently been released from jail and Wren Reynolds is in charge of his rehabilitation which involves talking to the victims of his crime. But with a heavily pregnant partner and secrets of her own to maintain, can Wren remain true to herself and keep her own family safe from harm?
I found Wren to be a complex character, one I wasn’t sure whether or not I liked to begin with as something felt “off” with her. As with any good protagonist, work seemed to come before her personal life and I just wanted to scream at her at times! But as the threads of the plot started to come together I found myself cheering her on to do the right thing for the young girl that no one seemed to care had gone missing. There’s some distressing themes under the spotlight here but Kate Simants handled them with sensitivity whilst never shirking away from the horror of the storyline.
A Ruined Girl was a twisty and unexpectedly emotional read that kept me guessing until the very end. I loved it!
Kate Simants is a writer of psychological thrillers and crime fiction.
After a decade working in the UK television industry, specialising in investigative documentaries, police shows and undercover work, Kate relocated from London to Bristol to concentrate on writing. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Brunel Univeristy (2007) and another in Crime Fiction from the University of East Anglia (2018), where she was the recipient of the UEA Literary Festival Scholarship. Her novel LOCK ME IN was shortlisted for the 2015 Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger, and is published by HarperCollins.
Kate won the 2019 Bath Novel Award with her second novel A RUINED GIRL, which is published by Viper/Serpent’s Tail in August 2020.
Kate’s agent is Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates.