“Blood Ties” by Sam Hayes – novel review

“Blood Ties” Sam Hayes (Headline)

Cheryl Varney writes letters to her daughter, who disappeared, probably taken, when she was eight weeks old, from a supermarket car park in Northampton on what would have been Natasha’s 13th birthday. Divorced and ekeing out a hand to mouth living as a clairvoyant, Cheryl is still grieving. On the same day as Natasha was taken, a pregnant teenager ran away rebelling against her parents’ wishes to put the baby up for adoption.

While Cheryl is screwing up her failed letters, solicitor Robert Knight is celebrating his thirteen year old step-daughter, Ruby, achieving a place at a prestigious London school. A celebration tainted only by his second wife’s lack of enthusiasm. When he needs to find his daughter’s birth certificate for a foreign trip and the registery office can’t locate any record of his step-daughter’s birth, Robert turns to his investigator for help. The investigator confirms that there is no record of Ruby’s birth. Robert then turns detective and discovers his wife is hiding more than just an apparently lost birth certificate.

Sam Hayes takes you on a rollercoaster, the ride compelling you to read on. Sam Hayes’ writing is taut, well-paced and deft: there’s no getting off this ride until the end and the twists and turns leave you unsure of where it’s going to end. All the characters are fully rounded in three dimensions, so you care about them. You want Robert’s wife Erin to be able to keep some of her secrets. You want Robert not to destroy his marriage. You want Cheryl to reach closure. You want to find Natasha. As part of her plot, Sam Hayes asks if a mother’s blood tie is stronger than a bond between a mother and adopted daughter. It’s a question only Ruby can answer, but she’s guided by adults who may not push her in the right direction. A ride worth taking.

4 Responses to ““Blood Ties” by Sam Hayes – novel review”

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  2. krissnp Says:

    interesting review.

  3. “The Dirty Secrets Club” Meg Gardiner « Emma Lee’s Blog Says:

    [...] “Blood Ties” Sam Hayes – novel review [...]

  4. “Labyrinthe” Kate Mosse (Orion) - novel review « Emma Lee’s Blog Says:

    [...] “Blood Ties” Sam Hayes Explore posts in the same categories: Book review [...]


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