The Playdate by Victoria Jenkins

Published: May 21, 2021


I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Victoria Jenkins lives with her husband in South Wales, where she writes crime fiction and teaches English. The Girls in the Water is her debut novel, the first featuring Detective Inspector Alex King and Detective Constable Chloe Lane.

“But hindsight had never been of help to anyone.”

Dani is a young, single mom simply trying to survive. Living at home had its challenges, but for the most part it’s alright. Working at the salon is a tad stressful, but it’s a job Dani is grateful to have. When a new woman and child show up at the playgroup one week, Dani has no expectations. But when the woman turns out to be rather lovely, Dani thinks she might be making a new friend. The fact that the woman, Adele, is older doesn’t bother Dani. But then the flyers arrive. And the cat disappears. And the past slowly starts to creep back from the darkness. Now Dani is left wondering if she will survive long enough to see her daughter’s future.

I enjoyed this book. The build-up was excellent, and the anticipation was well executed. The way things unraveled was rather clever. In a dangerous game of cat and mouse, you learn that sometimes the person in front of you is not what they seem.

I enjoyed the characters in this novel. Dani, a young mom who has some darkness in her past. All she wants is to be a good mom and a good daughter and perhaps find true love someday. Adele, an older woman who has an air of mystery and sadness around her but who always seems to know what to say and when to say it. Layla, Dani’s stubborn and charming toddler.

The twists are subtle, and the truth is slowly being revealed as you read, leaving you completely floored in the end when the final scenes take place. It’s impossible to guess how this sordid dance will end, and you find yourself racing to finish the next chapter.

As pieces start falling into place and the truth slowly starts to form, I found myself reeling from the way the story played out. In a clever power dynamic and a well-crafted lesson that goes awry, I could not put this book down.

In darkness and light, the truth will be revealed. The question that remains is- who will be around to see it?

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