Safe at Home by Lauren North

Blog tour: 9 to 24 September 2021


What if you left your child alone, and something terrible happened?

Anna James is an anxious mother. So when she has to leave eleven-year-old Harrie home alone one evening, she can’t stop worrying about her daughter. But nothing bad ever happens in the sleepy village of Barton St Martin.

Except something goes wrong that night, and Anna returns to find Harrie with bruises she won’t explain. The next morning a local businessman is reported missing and the village is sparking with gossip.

Anna is convinced there’s a connection and that Harrie is in trouble. But how can she protect her daughter if she doesn’t know where the danger is coming from?

My review

Anna James is mum to 11-year-old twins, Harriet and Elise, and seven-year-old Molly. She has her own business developing websites. Her husband, Rob, an engineer, works at an oil rig off the coast of Nigeria and is away for three months at a time then home for two weeks. The family live in the small village of Barton St Martin.

Life for Anna is hectic and the girls regularly have activities to attend – football for Harrie and gymnastics classes for Elise. One evening, after strong persuasion from the twins and Rob during his weekly call, Anna decides to leave Harrie home alone for 20 minutes while her and Molly pick up Elise from gymnastics. Unfortunately, there’s an accident on the A12 and they end up being stuck in traffic for hours and Anna, panicking, phones but can’t get through to Harrie, their neighbour, June, or friend, Kat.

When they finally get home four hours later, just before midnight, Harrie is fine and fast asleep in bed but her behaviour in the weeks following is very erratic and it’s clear that something bad happened that night. She won’t open up to her mum or twin sister and she is very emotional and has problems at school too.

Told from the viewpoints of Anna and Harrie, it’s obvious that there’s lots going on with them and they’re both hiding secrets from each other. It made for compelling reading as I was desperate to find out what they were involved in.

There’s an intriguing range of characters in the village and they all seemed rather suspicious at times! The school mums were all a bit bitchy about each other and the secret group chat is really mean! They pretend they’re all friends then make sly digs at each other. The women are realistically written and so are the couples, who Anna makes rhymes up about so that she can remember who they are. This helps the reader to learn who everyone is too.

I wasn’t too keen on Rob either – he had form for lying to his wife and family and just doesn’t seem very trustworthy or particularly supportive of Anna, who is rather anxious and a bit of a worrier and still struggling after their difficulties of four years ago.

Overall, I really enjoyed this tense and twisty thriller. It’s well written and cleverly plotted and the entertaining story unfolded really well and I hadn’t guessed most of what was revealed! There are lots of twists and turns and I imagined all kinds of scenarios to explain Harrie’s role in events.

The ending came together with a bang and lots was revealed in the final pages. There were little clues littered throughout the book and it was fascinating to think back and relate those to what had happened. Some brilliant revelations and such an intense and gripping read.

This is the first book by the author that I’ve read but I’ll definitely be checking out her other books, The Perfect Betrayal and One Step Behind, which I already have on my Kindle!

Buy the book

Safe at Home by Lauren North can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle now and in paperback on 30 September, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks. See also Ethical Book Search.

About the author

Lauren North writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and from her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.

Twitter: @Lauren_C_North
Facebook: @LaurenNorthAuthor
Instagram: @lauren_c_north

Blog tour

Thanks to Hayley Barnes at Transworld Books for my proof copy of Safe at Home and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.


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