SPOILER FREE REVIEW
I wish to thank Ms. Danielle Esplin for offering and sending me a beautiful paperback copy of her debut novel in exchange for an unbiased review.All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
First of all I would like to congratulate and thank Ms. Esplin for giving me a copy of her debut novel. I have interacted with her personally and I could not help but picture Ella, the protagonist of “Give it Back” as Danielle herself (although Danielle claims she isn’t as crazy as Ella; I fully agree).
I had no idea what the book was about even though I had read the short description in Goodreads. I am glad I didn’t because it took me through an roller coaster ride of suspense. Although a bit slow in the beginning, half way through it picked up pace.
The story is narrated from three perspectives: Lorraine, Ella and Lexy’s, set in the present and past. So initially the reader might have difficulty switching to and fro. However, this approach was important, as it contributed to the storyline and fed information to the reader in a manner, that would keep him/her at the edge of their seats.
In a nutshell, “Give it Back” is a story of two sisters, their families and an au pair-how their world turns upside down, leading to a very unexpected ending. I am a huge fan of thrillers/detective novel and I had my own theories of how the novel would end, however, none of the theories were correct.
The Positives: I loved how Esplin twisted the plot and connected all the dots, ultimately leading to the climax. The writing was crisp, set in modern times, so the set up was very comfortable and relate-able. Although a bit slow in the beginning, the last 50-pages had me glued. It is fast paced, so it won’t drag on. Not your sit-back-after-lunch book, more like a stay-awake-all-night thriller.
The Negatives: Lack of character development. The plot revolves around multiple characters, new characters are inducted to the plot early in the book, however, it was very tough to decide who is related to whom. I got confused many times between Craig and Robert, because Robert was not given a proper introduction. I won’t elaborate further because I don’t want to give spoilers. Apart from the lack of character development, I did not find any major shortcomings.
My rating – ★★★☆☆
If you want to read the book, you can find Ms. Esplin on Goodreads/Instagram and ask for a copy.
Looking forward to your second novel, Danielle!