One Little Mistake is a psychological thriller. The main setting is the London area, the year 2010. Running alongside is another story, set in 1992, which ties in at the end. The book chapters alternate between the two.
The story opens with baby Josh having a morning nap, the third child of Vicky Seagrave. Sleepless nights and a fractious baby leave her strung out, so she’s vulnerable when little distractions occur.
A moment of a poor decision, a break-in and the quick action of her friend leads Vicky down a path of destiny she would not have chosen in hindsight. Vicky and Amber met at anti-natal classes; they’ve become best friends, but the friendships is not without problems, mostly based around Amber’s complex emotional issues.
In the second storyline, Katya was in the care of social services, but her social worker, Maggie didn’t listen when she tried to tell her that Luke was abusing her.
When one lie leads to another Vicky’s life begins to spiral out of control. Others have seen something in Amber they don’t quite trust, but Vicky has been blinded by their friendship. Can she turn things around and keep control? Or will one tiny error be her downfall?
I thought the author portrayed really well the stress new mothers feel when they have demanding babies who don’t sleep at night, and when they also feel they have to cope with social pressure to do everything ‘right’. The story was well developed, with small cracks in the relationship between Vicky and Amber slowly drip-fed to the reader. The pull of a thriller or a mystery, for the reader, is to try to solve the mystery themselves, and this gave a satisfying balance between mystery and clues.
The building of Amber’s character was stealthy, taking her full circle from devoted best pal to jealous friend, and, finally, to shocking stranger. Revelations about her past were a great surprise, and gave another, fascinating angle to the reader’s understanding of her.
Closing messages from the book will have readers thinking about the friendships they currently have and perhaps some they’ve lost on the way, and made me think about how little we know, sometimes, about those we consider friends. The playground gossips at the school of Vicky’s older children had me nodding in recognition, as they will with most mothers.
A good, well-written debut novel. In order to give this book 5* I would have needed to see some really unexpected twists of the jaw-dropping kind to keep the reader on the edge of their seat in this popular genre, but I was impressed with what I read.
A thriller to pull at the heartstrings of mothers, and, perhaps, to make others question their closest friendships.
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Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.
When she risks everything she holds dear on a whim, there’s only person she trusts enough to turn to.
But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you’re careless with those you love, you don’t deserve to keep them . . .
About the author
Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and brought up in London. Her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write One Little Mistake, her first psychological suspense. She has two children and lives in Richmond with her husband.