Little Rumours by Bryony Pearce is a highly recommended domestic thriller concerning three very different women searching for a missing child.
In Exton Cross everyone knows everyone else and their family and new comers are basically unwelcome. Little Rumours follows three different mothers and their children. Naomi, who grew up in Exton Cross, is an accepted member of the community. Aleema has lived here for three years and hasn't made a single friend even though she's married to a local, but she's a newcomer and Muslim, therefore suspect. Kelly is an outsider and wants it to stay that way to protect her privacy. When Aleema's daughter Mia disappears, the whole community starts looking, but the rumours and accusations also start flying.
The narrative unfolds through the point-of-view of Naomi, Aleema,
and Kelly in alternating chapters. Aleema and Kelly are fully realized and
complicated characters with secrets and fears they want to keep
hidden. Their children are all best friends, which is what pulls
the three women together in searching for Mia, but also tears them apart. Most of the characters aren't always easy to connect with because they aren't all that likable. The alternating viewpoints, however, work well in the plot.
Little Rumours didn't immediately capture my complete attention during the slow start, but this did serve as a time to introduce all the characters and set up the action. There are all manner of social problems thrown into the mix along the way and the tension and suspense rises as the search for Mia continues. While it is a compelling concept for a plot, it did feel like it ran a little long and could have been tightened up. 3.5 rounded up.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Avon via NetGalley.