I’d been lucky enough to get an early look at the first couple of chapters of ‘Care For Me’ a few months ago, and I was hooked from the start.
We’re introduced to Amira, a woman who has her fair share of problems: she is the sole-carer for her mother who has dementia, is divorced from her doctor husband, and her teenage son is now living with his father. Amira is lonely, confused and in despair. We also meet her mother, Afrah, who is equally lonely, confused and in despair. Afrah and Amira’s lives have been irreversibly changed by the effects of the Afrah’s Altzheimers Amira can’t care for her mother in the way that she knows she deserves, and struggles to deal with feelings guilt and hopelessness against the pressures of those who advise putting her into a care home.
The first half of this novel is a dual-narrative domestic drama. The characters are vivid and beautifully, sympathetically depicted. I wanted to get to know both of these women and felt compelled to continue finding out about both of their lives. Farah Cook writes with sensitivity and the women’s relationship is both heartwarming and devastating in equal measures. But there are hints that things will have to change, and about halfway through, when a big change happens in their lives, the novel enters a new realm of the psychological thriller.
I don’t think that I’ve read another suspense thriller that allows the reader to get so involved in the characters before a dramatic shift of pace into the ‘suspense’ bit, and I really appreciated this – it made me really care about characters and I was gunning for them to have the outcome they deserved. I read the last hundred pages or so well after my bedtime, which has always been for me the mark of a great book.
My only criticism of this book – and don’t get me wrong, I totally loved it – was that some of the coincidences
were just too unrealistic. I would happily get behind one or two of the villain’s fulfilled plans, but there were a few that were just a little too far-fetched, even for a thriller.
This is a well-written, well-characterised and deeply enjoyable suspense thriller. I’m delighted to hear that Farah Cook is now working on her second novel and look forward to reading it.
‘Care For Me’ is available now as an ebook. The paperback will be published on 21st October 2021. You can buy ‘Care for Me’ on Amazon here (and I’ll get a small commission if you use this link. Thank you!)
Thank you to Farah Cook, Hatchette and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.