This review is written with thanks to Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin UK, and Netgalley for my copy of Girl Unknown.
David Connolly is a professor at University College, Dublin. One day, one of his first year students, Zoe Barry, enters his office and suggests that David is her father. This revelation affects his whole family: his wife, Caroline, and children, Robbie and Holly, as gradually Zoe becomes a part of their lives. Is Zoe really everything she seems to be?
Shortly prior to reading Girl Unknown, I learnt that Karen Perry is the pen name of writing partnership, Karen Gillece and Paul Perry. The narrative style of the novel lends itself to the idea of a writing partnership, as for the majority, the chapters are narrated alternately by David and Caroline. I would be interested to learn how the writing of these chapters was divided, as the strength of the character's voice through the writing is incredible and the chapters come together seamlessly. Although I was able to connect with the character of Caroline slightly more, I found both characters allowed me to place myself in their situation, and this made Girl Unknown an utterly compelling read.
The plot of Girl Unknown is based on uncertainty. None of the characters are completely sure who Zoe is, and this means that as readers we are also unsure. It was impossible to take any information we were given at face value, and I particularly enjoyed this aspect of the novel, as I was constantly on edge, desperate to discover the truth. It is also clear from the outset that it is not only Zoe who has secrets, and this also places the reader on edge from beginning to end.
Although Girl Unknown has a twist, I did not feel that the build up of tension leading to the twist was as effective as it could have been. As a whole, the novel thrives on tension being developed slowly; however, the twist seemed to be revealed too quickly, and therefore the ending had less impact than I would have liked.
Overall, I enjoyed Girl Unknown and look forward to reading more from the Karen Perry partnership.
Girl Unknown is published on 1st December and is available from Amazon.