Book Review – THE BONES OF YOU by Debbie Howells

The Bones of You

When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.

Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons—graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine—the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.

Weaving flashbacks from Rosie’s perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love.

Published: June 30, 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK


My Review:

Debbie Howells writes with poetic beauty. Her sentences have a rhythmic pulse, like a violin within a melancholy symphony. I loved reading this book for the sheer pleasure of the words.

However bright the sun, however warm and soft the air on my skin, I discover you can’t unlearn fear.

This is a poignant story. On the surface, we have a young girl’s murder and the quest to find her killer. Beneath that, we have the complicated mess of emotions and personalities that makes us individuals. Some people surprise us with their strength, while others disintegrate under scrutiny.

Death casts its shadow, leaving our hearts sad and tainting our world with fear. Have I reached that point in life where from here on it will always be there, lurking, just out of sight, but waiting in the background for its next victim?

The first half of this book held me riveted, as I got to know the characters and the secrets they kept. About midway, I figured out where the story was going, but I still found the path compelling. For me, this book was more about the journey than the ‘whodunit’.

There’s a lump in my throat, because I share every word, every sentiment of what she’s saying. To a mother, most of life can be reduced to one thing that matters: family.

The problems I had with the second half were more about characterization and movement. I found Kate’s naivete hard to believe. She was often incredulous to find that people did bad things. Her disbelief sometimes bordered on juvenile. This was particularly true of her relationship with Jo. Kate seemed all too willing to ignore flashing warning signs, and simply chose not to question all the odd behavior. I also felt that Laura’s character was only used when needed to move the plot forward. She and Kate were best friends who hadn’t seen each other in years, yet I felt no connection between them, no warmth, and no attempt at reconnecting.

Her onslaught leaves me battered, but I see it for what it is. She’s lashing out at me because the strain is taking its toll, because her agony’s unbearable, because I’m here.

While this isn’t a police procedural, I did sometimes wonder where the police were in all of this. Certain things happened that were glossed over, and this made me question their lack of response.

Despite my quibbles, I was thoroughly immersed in this story. The author exposes the cracks beneath the glossy facade, leaving us, along with the characters, aching and raw, yet also enriched by the experience.


Thanks for reading. 🙂