BOOK REVIEW: THE HEIGHTS BY LOUISE CANDLISH

*Thank you to Louise Candlish and Simon & Schuster for my copy of this book*

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He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you. 
 
The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him. 

Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years.  You know this for a fact.  

Because you’re the one who killed him.  It’s time to confess what we did up there.

The Heights is my first novel of Louise’ and a brilliant one at that, following the tale of a mother’s obsession with avenging the death of her son. Ellen Saint is the mother of Lucas and Freya, she will do anything and everything to allow her children the life they both deserve to live, so when the troubled Kieran Watts walks in to Lucas’ life and threatens to ruin it all – once again, Ellen will do anything and everything, even if that means taking the life of another. However, two years after Lucas’ death, Ellen see’s the one person she never thought she’d see again… 

I really loved the way this entire novel was set out – during part one, we are told the story by Ellen herself, as she retraces every single step taken from the moment Kieran Watts walked in to their lives, right up to the step where she declares vengeance. As any mother would be, Ellen grows extremely concerned about the new and troubled teen that has made his way in to her son’s life, forcing his grades to be effected, partying on school nights, taking drugs, etc. There is absolutely nobody who could convince Ellen that Kieran’s influence is not to blame for the drastic change in her son and Kieran makes it his own personal mission to wind Ellen up at every given chance. The two were never going to see eye to eye and it was clear as day that this story was only going to end one way. It just had to. In part two, we are then welcomed to the perspective of Ellen’s first husband, Vic, who drives the story in a very different and interesting direction, allowing readers to discover where everything had gone wrong with Kieran’s reappearance. Part three bounces back and fourth between Ellen and Vic, and between chapters, a journalist is telling this story in an article, during the present day. All of the different POV’s made for a thrilling journey to vengeance and healing, allowing this novel to be a powerful psychological thriller, skilfully crafted with entangled lies and betrayal, intense scenes and an ending that ties the story of Ellen Saint up perfectly. Louise constantly leaves us craving for more with every page you turn, there are so many questions to be answered – What really happened on the night of Lucas’ death? Is Kieran to blame for the death of his best friend? Is Kieran as manipulating and deceiving as Ellen has convinced herself? Is everything that Ellen is feeling throughout justified? Was Ellen right in seeking out vengeance on Kieran? Louise will reveal all throughout her magnificent story telling, as the tangled web begins to unravel, taking the readers on an emotional journey of grief and overwhelming desires for revenge. 

It’s really hard to talk about this book without giving any spoilers, so I’ll say no more, except that this is a compelling psychological thriller/domestic drama that you are not going to want to miss out on. Louise did a fantastic job at finely piecing this story together to become one that will always keep you on your toes. The main characters and even the side characters are all brilliantly developed, everybody having a vital role in Ellen’s journey to avenging her son, whether they want to or not. It really does have you questioning how far you, as a mother, would also truly go to protect your children from anybody that could be a threat or cause harm on them. Well, with this nail-biting novel, you’ll find out whether a mother’s love for their children is worth the ending Ellen endures..

Shelby x

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