Sussex, 2003. When a beautiful blonde girl is found half-drowned on a beach, she has no memory of who she is or what horrors have left her there. But an article about her in a Brighton newspaper rings alarm bells for beautician, Dale, who shows the police photographs of Lotte Wainright. The girls met working on a cruise ship and their friendship blossomed as they sailed the seas of South America, until Lotte fell under the sinister influence of an older American couple. To her regret, Dale hasn’t seen Lotte since leaving the ship months earlier… but the girl on the beach – although badly bruised – is indeed her much missed friend.
Their reunion only marks the beginning of a dangerous tidal wave of secrets, lies and nightmares. Where has Lotte been? Who is the man who seems to want to kill her? And what has become of the baby she’s recently given birth to?
Dale and Lotte must dig deep and find the strength to hold on against the odds if they are to rebuild their friendship and survive Lotte’s stolen – and deadly – past.
I hadn’t read any of Lucy Pearse’s books before this but had heard good things about them, so when I saw Stolen at my University book shop I was eager to get it. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will now be looking to read much more by this author.
The story centers around three friends: Lotte, Dale and Scott, who all met while working on a cruise ship. Some time later, Lotte is found washed up on a beach, half-drowned and with evidence that she had recently given birth. Scott and Dale recognise her face in the newspaper and rush to help her – but Lotte has lost all of her memory, and nobody knows what happened to her or her baby. Adding to the fact that she seems to have faced some severe trauma, everyone is worried about Lotte as they cannot imagine who would want to hurt her.
As the story unfolds and we try to find out what happened to Lotte it only gets more interesting, with themes of violence, lies, love and friendship. Secrets are exposed, and the characters show just how strong a person can be when push comes to shove.
I loved Pearse’s descriptive writing, and she is very skilled in switching the narrative between the past and present. Stolen didn’t grab me from the very first page – it took me a while to get into it, hence the four stars – but I soon couldn’t get enough of the mystery.