New Book – Beneath the Surface by Heidi Perks


Publishing year: 2016

This is an intriguing book.

It starts in April 2001 when Abigail, a seventeen-year-old girl, returns home to find her mother and sisters gone. Her mother was married to Peter, and the girls are her half-sisters, and from Abigail’s thoughts we know that her mother, Kathryn, was neglectful with her family and Abi felt her mother didn’t love her. And this defection proves her that her mother wanted to leave her behind.

The story then jumps to June 2015, fourteen years later. Abi writes a letter to someone called Adam after her therapist Maggie tells her to put down her thoughts in paper. We know that since her family left, Abi hadn’t had it easy, and there was a time when she fell in the trap of addictions. We know that Adam is or was her man, and later we learn that they married and Adam wanted to have a baby. He even arranged a visit to a fertility doctor when Abi didn’t get pregnant. I suspect that Abi didn’t get pregnant because she didn’t want and probably was on the pill on the sly. I think this reluctance to have babies have something to do with her family. I have the hunch that there is a big secret here, and maybe Abi was not the girls’ sister but their mother. Maybe her stepfather molested her and  she fell pregnant. Whatever happened to her, she didn’t want to tell Adam. I don’t know why. Maybe she felt soiled and ashamed. The letters that Abi writes to Adam clearly implies that Adam isn’t around. Does that mean that he left her, or did he die?

I’m not sure about Abi being the twins’ mother. What we know is that Kathryn, her mother and the girls, who are now almost sixteen, live in a coastal town happily. Peter sends Kathryn monthly checks, but to Kathryn’s relief he hasn’t contacted them, and Hannah and Lauren think that their father is in Australia and was never around because he had decided not to get involved with them. Hannah and Lauren are quite different even though they are twin sisters. Hannah is more rebellious and wants to see the world and know her father. In contrast, Lauren is quite happy in their little town. The image we get from Kathryn is quite different from the one we got from Abi at the beginning. Apparently, the girls don’t remember their elder sister, and I wonder why Kathryn took off with the children and left her eldest daughter behind. Why? What was she fleeing from? Hasn’t she even tried to find out about Abi and how she was faring? Abi was just seventeen, and she needed her mum. I can’t understand why Kathryn did. Or maybe she was trying to protect Abi from something or someone. Maybe Peter? By why didn’t she take Abi for her or make provisions for her welfare?

Interesting start. Very intriguing.


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