What to buy in April? When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins

Twenty-one years ago, Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were killed in what has become the most infamous double murder of the modern age.

Their ten year-old daughter – nicknamed the Angel of Death – spent eight years in a children’s secure unit and is living quietly under an assumed name with a family of her own.

Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down her older sister, compelling her to break two decades of silence.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and journalist Brinley Booth, a childhood friend of the Carter sisters, is tasked with covering the news story.

For the first time, the three women are forced to confront what really happened that night – with devastating consequences for them all.

This has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2021 and the delay in its publication led me to a near frenzied excitement as publication day arrived alongside my preorder of When I Was Ten. And although I’d just finished a very long and stressful day at work, I started to read it as soon as I found it waiting for me when I got home. Thankfully my instincts were correct and this book was the unputdownable, gripping read that I had been expecting. One thing I do feel quite strongly about though is that I don’t like the blurb on the inside cover and I was actually in two minds as to whether or not to publish it on the post. I feel that it gives too much information and dilutes some of the shock factor of the first third of the book. It’s a personal opinion and one I don’t think I’ve ever expressed before but I do think the blurb used on Goodreads was more vague and therefore didn’t lead to any possible spoilers. So if you do order yourself a copy, do yourself a favour and just dive straight in…blurbless!!!

From the very first few pages, I was gripped by When I Was Ten. A young girl running away from the sights and smells of a heinous crime sets the tone for this dark and disturbing thriller and runs with it. Be warned that there are some very shocking and difficult to read scenes here and at one point I did have tears in my eyes at the horrific abuse that was being dished out. But the themes of abuse were balanced by those of family and forgiveness and how the lies we tell can change the future immeasurably.

As always, Fiona Cummins writes beautifully as she delivers her multiple viewpoints, diving back into the pasts of her characters with perfect precision. Everyone had something to hide and I loved how the structure curtailed me getting too ahead of myself, allowing me time to consider the life’s of the characters and how one lie many years ago could have led to so much unhappiness and misunderstanding. And as the plot reached its climax, there were some unexpected twists and turns to marry everything together.

I’ve loved all of Fiona Cummin’s books so far but this one touched in a way I hadn’t been expecting. Involving, compulsive and heartbreaking at times-I didn’t want it to end.

Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. Rattle, her debut novel, has been translated into several languages and received widespread critical acclaim from authors including Val McDermid, Lee Child and Martina Cole. Marcel Berlins wrote in The Times: ‘Amid the outpouring of crime novels, Rattle is up there with the best of them.’
Fiona was selected for McDermid’s prestigious New Blood panel at the 2017 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, where her novel was nominated for a Dead Good Reader Award for Most Exceptional Debut. A sequel, The Collector, was published in February 2018 and David Baldacci described it as ‘A crime novel of the very first order’. Rattle and The Collector are now being adapted into a TV series by the Tiger Aspect, the producers of Peaky Blinders.
Her third novel – standalone thriller The Neighbour – was published in April 2019. Ian Rankin described it as ‘creepy as hell’. Her fourth novel When I Was Ten will be published in April 2021.
When Fiona is not writing, she can be found on Twitter, eating biscuits or walking her dogs. She lives in Essex with her family.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.