The New Girl by Ruth Heald

Published: January 25, 2022


Pages: 310

Genre: Psychological Thriller

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

Ruth Heald studied Economics at Oxford University and then worked in an eclectic mix of sectors from nuclear decommissioning to management consulting. She worked at the BBC for nine years before leaving to write full-time. Ruth is fascinated by psychology and what drives people to violence, destruction, and revenge. She’s married with two children, and her novels explore our greatest fears in otherwise ordinary, domestic lives.

I couldn’t believe it when I got the call to offer me my dream job. It was right in the heart of the city with a flat provided. I jumped at the chance and within weeks I had made new friends and started to date a wonderful man. For the first time in years, I felt safe.

It’s a world away from the life I ran from…

But soon strange things begin to happen in my flat: odd noises in the night, the feeling that I’m being watched. When I discover an old dress hidden behind my wardrobe and wear it to work, the atmosphere chills instantly. The dress belonged to a girl my boss would rather forget. The girl before me who vanished without a trace.

I tell myself not to worry; that I’m just imagining things. But when a young woman arrives on my doorstep, she warns me to leave my new life behind. She tells me there are more girls like me and we are more connected than I could have ever imagined.

Then I come face to face with the reason I ran all those years ago and it soon becomes clear: someone knows my secret. And they will do anything to keep me silent.

“Why not?”

Sophie feels like she is suffocating. She longs for change, a fresh start. When an offer too good to be true falls into her lap, she leaps. Moving to London, she starts what she thinks is her dream job. Everything seems to be turning around- until her past comes back to haunt her. Now, Sophie is getting brutal reminders that she can outrun.

This was pretty intense. And the premise is heavy. There is serious mention of sexual assault and victim-blaming, so trigger warning before reading this novel.

Sophie was a great leading lady. She was authentic. She had struggles that many young adults have, and she is a survivor. She had so much strength, such resilience, and a will that couldn’t be broken.

James is a classic, swoon-worthy character. He’s smooth- he always knows what to say and how to say it. There is a mysterious air about him that makes it difficult to determine if he is sweet or slimy.

Cassie seems like such a strong, intelligent, confident woman. A total female-female. She knows what she brings to the table, and she owns it.

Max is mysterious and brooding and appears to have everything handed to him because he’s a man. He had grown up in a world of endless privilege and isn’t afraid to show that.

This was a profoundly intense read. Sophie’s past trauma was so palpable, and you literally feel her pain, anxiety, and fear.

I think the representation of women who try to report their assault was well represented. And the truth is that often they aren’t believed.

I loved the twist of honesty, obscene wealth, and sheer desperation were running themes. The balance between light and dark, truth and lies, was so well done.

As the story continued, it became harder to decide who did what and who could be trusted. The game was set up well, and the tests were executed brilliantly—a deeply intense read, from start to finish.

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