My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber #review @byLizzyBarber @arrowpublishing

My Name is Anna is narrated in alternate chapters by Anna and Rosie. Anna lives in Florida with her Mamma who is very religious, strict and controlling. Mamma keeps Anna as secluded from the world as she can. There are no computers or mobile phones in their house. The focus is on being clean and pure to please God. Anna does go to school though and has a boyfriend, William, son of the local pastor. When they sneak off on a forbidden trip to a local theme park for her 18th birthday, Anna becomes overwhelmed by the feeling that she has been there before. Obviously doing all she can to keep Anna from finding out the truth. Meanwhile in England, Rosie’s family are almost falling apart. Rosie’s sister, Emily, went missing from the same theme park 15 years ago and through Rosie we understand the effect this had on her family. For Rosie, living in the shadow of a perfect though absent sister has been a strain and she becomes determined to succeed where others have failed and resolve the mystery of what happened to her sister.

It’s pretty clear from the start that the two girls have to be sisters and to be honest I wasn’t sure how the author could make the story engaging for the length of the book but she most certainly did! It was fascinating to watch as Anna became more convinced that her mother was hiding something from her. It almost seems unbelievable that someone could forget their past so completely but as the story goes on, you begin to understand how Mamma accomplished this. And actually, as you find out what happened to her to make her act as she did, you do almost have a bit of sympathy for her too in the end. In Rosie’s chapters, you get a sense of unease as she becomes closer to uncovering the truth. She certainly put herself in some dangerous situations in her determination to get to the truth and save her family.

With the story being told alternately by the two girls, this is a book that it’s it’s easy to zip through as you will always be eager to find out next part of their stories. As the two parts of the story eventually come together, it is clear that this is only a beginning for Anna and Rosie. It made me think about those stories you hear occasionally on the news about families who have been split for whatever reason and then find each other again. It must really make people question their identity and what their life up till that point now means. An intriguing and through-provoking book.

My thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Century (Penguin Random House) for my review copy of the book. My Name is Anna is available now as an ebook, will be published in hardback on Thursday 10th January with the paperback to follow later this year. It will be available from your usual book retailer or you can order a Kindle copy online here: My Name is Anna

From the back of the book

Two women – desperate to unlock the truth.
How far will they go to lay the past to rest?

ANNA has been taught that virtue is the path to God. But on her eighteenth birthday she defies her Mamma’s rules and visits Florida’s biggest theme park.

She has never been allowed to go – so why, when she arrives, does everything seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives on the same day?

ROSIE has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads.Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes in full flow, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth.

But will she find the answer before it tears her family apart?

About the author

Lizzy Barber

Lizzy Barber studied English at Cambridge University, trained as an actress and now works as the head of brand and marketing for a restaurant group. My Name is Anna is her debut novel and beat out 5,000 entries to be the unanimous winner of a national novel writing competition. Lizzy lives in London with her husband, and is currently hard at work on her next thriller. Follow Lizzy at @ByLizzyBarber #MyNameIsAnna

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