14 Oct Book review – The Survivors by Jane Harper
Kieran Elliot made a mistake that he can’t take back and his mistake isn’t the only one washing ashore in Evelyn Bay.
The sleepy seaside town that is the childhood home of The Survivors, Kieran, Ash, Sean, Olivia and their families has them frozen, unable to move forward and constantly looking back. How do all the characters fit together? What are their dynamics? Why is there so much sadness and tension amongst all of these long time friends? Jane Harper’s story has you hooked from the very beginning. Long time residents return to old stories of friends who’ve never left, unable to leave the tiny town in the hope that one day it will give up its secrets.
Mystery erupts early in the book, and it seems like everyone you meet, is a likely suspect. You set up several scenarios in your mind of committed the crime but you don’t pick ‘the one’ because most people in the story have a motive.
As the book unfolds, you deduce that there are three families interconnected through their pain, frustration and frailty and those traits are never far from the surface in all of those characters.
New York Times Bestselling author Jane Harper’s, The Survivors, leaves the rural countryside we’ve become used to in her previous three books and relocates to the coast of Tasmania, which is a nice change of pace and introduces a lot more options to set ‘who done it’ and where.
The location becomes a character in itself. Giving up some secrets, withholding others, bringing joy and inflicting devastation. The water surrounding the town drives the characters careers, futures and their families. It keeps peoples secrets and keeps people trapped.
You suspect everyone. Mia for arguing with Gabby before she disappears, Brian for battling his dementia, Verity for not being the mother that Kieran needed, G Barwin for being too pretentious.
You get scared for Kieran, will his life that he’s pulled from the depths of the ocean be torn apart? Have people he loved done things that can’t be taken back and will ruin his life forever?
You find yourself willing the characters you’ve met forward to discover new opportunities, to step from their stupor into the light and their best life. More than that, you find yourself thinking, ‘I’m not going to be like them, I’m going to go and try that course I’ve been thinking about right now, I’m not going to become Liv.’
Outsider Bronte never seems to stand a chance in the town where personal connections are so strong and personal secrets stay buried, so buried these groups of friends can’t seem to move forward. Will The Survivors let go of their mistakes and move on with their lives? You’ll just have to read it to find out!