IMPROVISING CARLA by Joanna Hines, Book Review

In Improvising Carla by Joanne Hines, when her trip to Greece goes from idyllic to tragic in one night, a woman finds that outrunning her secrets might be the only key to survival.

Improvising Carla Review - Joanna HinesImprovising Carla Synopsis

‘A chiller of a thriller about real women… beautifully crafted, subtle and good’ –  FRANCES FYFIELD

As the sun rises over an idyllic Greek island, Carla Finch lies dead on a lonely road. Only her friend Helen is with her, and only Helen knows how Carla died. But from the start their alliance was based on fantasy and lies and Helen is unable to break the cycle, even in the face of catastrophe.

Carrying her dark secret back to England, Helen is haunted by guilt and tragedy. And as she desperately tries to rebuild her life, a web of mysterious events draws her to the centre of her dead friend’s world, to her family and above all to Daniel, the man Carla loved. But when a figure from the island nightmare threatens to expose her secret, Helen is forced to confront the truth, leading her into terrifying danger and ultimate redemption.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

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Another amazing novel by Joanna Hines (I also really enjoyed her title Surface Tension). Improvising Carla is deep, complex and gripping.

Hines really is an author that deserves to be much more well known. She has an uncanny ability to achieve two things with her writing, (1) craft and tell an intriguing, mesmerizing story, and  (2) evoke a particular emotion with the reader that goes well beyond the usual empathy one might feel for a character. This is one of those novels that leaves you thinking about how you think about things.

But, for all the skilful character development and important little details cleverly woven into Improvising Carla‘s story fabric, it remains a highly accessible read.

Any author that can make me change my opinion on multiple characters within a novel with fewer than 400 pages is a superb talent.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5

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About the Author, Joanne Hines

Joanna Hines was born in London. She read history at Somerville College, Oxford, then studied at the LSE. For over twenty years she has lived and worked on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, with her husband, the Canadian poet Derrek Hines. This is her seventh novel following Autumn of Strangers, The Fifth Secret, Dora’s Room, The Puritan’s Wife, The Cornish Girl, The Lost Daughter and Improvising Carla. Check out her website.