The Judas Scar by Amanda Jennings

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Synopsis: Scars. We all carry them. Some are mere scratches. Others run deeper.

At a school rife with bullying, Will and his best friend Luke are involved in a horrific incident that results in Luke leaving.

Twenty-five years later their paths cross again and memories of Will’s painful childhood come flooding back to haunt him. His wife, Harmony, who is struggling after a miscarriage that has hit her hard, wishes Will would open up about his experiences. But while Will withdraws further, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic stranger from her husband’s past, and soon all three are caught in a tangled web of guilt, desire, betrayal and revenge…

 A happy 5 stars from me!

Having read and loved Sworn Secret, I was very excited to hear that Amanda Jennings had been busily scribbling away at a new novel and that The Judas Scar was available for review.

In anticipation of greatness, I settled myself down with a cup of coffee and a pile of cushions and began to read. Soon after I felt moved to tweet Amanda:

Tweet Amanda

Moving aside from the story for a moment, Amanda is lovely on twitter, she always replies to tweets and seems to warmly engage with everyone. I think it’s this genuine liking of people that makes her able to create such ‘real’ characters within her pages.

Anyway, back to The Judas Scar. So, as you can see, on the 4th of June 2014 I was unimpressed with Harmony! I won’t tell you why but I will tell you that I felt so connected to Harmony by this point that I genuinely felt unimpressed with her, I felt disappointed in her and frustrated with her decision making and lack of forethought. How amazing that a few words on a page can give rise to feelings and emotions about a fictitious character!

By page 121 this book had already made me cry. I almost never cry at books! In fact I think that prior to this one,  Sworn Secret was the last book that moved me to tears.

The Judas Scar is an absolute page turner, the first time I had to put it down I literally felt like I was tearing myself away from it. As the story unfolded I felt a strange feeling of foreboding as I guessed which direction the tale was going to take, almost like watching an accident in slow motion yet being unable to stop it or make yourself look away.

The characters did things I didn’t like, stupid things, irrational things, things that we fallible humans do all the time in real life and which made this book oh so believable and oh so hard to put down.

As well as vast depth of emotion and excellent, realistic characters, The Judas Scar’s storyline is intricately woven and intriguing to follow. Personally I had a sense of how it was going to end (although I was only partially right), although there were several unexpected twists and events along the way that I didn’t see coming.

Friendships aren’t perfect, relationships aren’t set in stone and life just doesn’t always go the way it should. In real life people are left to sweep these things under the carpet, ignore the elephant in the room and pretend everything is fine. In The Judas Scar we (as the reader) knew about their indiscretions, their lies and imperfections were exposed and raw for all to see and it made for an emotional journey with an almost voyeuristic viewpoint into the lives of the central characters.

I don’t want to reveal any of the story, I simply want to give this book my heartfelt recommendation – go and read it, you won’t be disappointed! Then you can go and read Sworn Secret too; as stand alone books they can be read independently of each other.

 

 

Sworn Secret by Amanda Jennings

Sworn SecretSworn Secret

by Amanda Jennings

Brilliant Book!

I had this book at home for months before I read it, I’m going to say that most annoying of things now and admit that ‘I didn’t think it would be my cup of tea’. (Sorry Amanda Jennings I realise that must be an insult.)

In some ways I now wish I’d read it earlier but in a lot of others I’m glad I waited because oh my goodness this is an amazing book!

The story line sounds depressing and the subject matter sounds even more so but I actually found it had huge uplifting elements to it; the relationship between Lizzie and Haydn is just lovely, and the overall sense of a family pulling together is a very positive one.

The relationships between all characters are intense, engrossing and highly believable. I found myself completely and utterly drawn in and most definitely ‘caring’ about the people who were brought to life in the pages of this book.

I felt quite bereft that the book was over, I want to know more, I want to find out what happens to them next – if that isn’t the sign of a great book then I don’t know what is.