Saturday, 11 March 2017

We All Begin As Strangers by Harriet Cummings


It's 1984, and summer is scorching the ordinary English village of Heathcote.

What's more, a mysterious figure is slipping into homes through back doors and open windows. Dubbed 'the Fox,' he knows everything about everyone - leaving curious objects in their homes, or taking things from them.

When beloved Anna goes missing, the whole community believes the Fox is responsible.

But as the residents scramble to solve the mystery of Anna's disappearance, little do they know it's their darkest secrets the Fox is really after...

Inspired by a real 80s mystery, and with a brilliant cast of characters, WE ALL BEGIN AS STRANGERS is a beautiful debut novel you'll want to recommend to everyone.


We All Begin As Strangers is a startling debut by author Harriet Cummings and tells the story of a quaint English village pushed to the brink. Everyone has secrets to protect and when a young woman disappears is it possible for everyone to hold on to their secrets.

In the beginning of the novel, the story of ‘The Fox’ is often approached by the villagers, at dinner parties or meetings in the street. ‘The Fox’ is the term given to a mysterious figure who has been slipping into people’s homes. No one quite knows what he wants as nothing from the homes he has broken into has been stolen, but objects have been moved and traces of his presence has been left behind. Of course, the villagers are concerned about it but the seriousness of the issue heightens when a young woman disappears, is ‘The Fox’ behind the woman’s disappearance.

We All Begin as Strangers is told from several viewpoints throughout the novel. Each of Harriet’s characters lead interesting lives and I enjoyed reading about every one of them. Brian, the police officer, I think has to be my favourite. He has had to deal with some tough times in the past but at the end of the day he is still trying to impress his parents and gain their approval.

There were times when I found the story a little slow to get into but what I really found interesting was how Harriet delved into the psychology of her characters and what makes them tick. We are all desperate to cling onto peaceful, uneventful lives but what happens to our minds when we are pushed to the brink, who do we know who to trust when it seems that the perpetrator is someone we know. In ways it reminded me a little of Broadchurch, when the town folk are desperate to get the bottom of what happened and are eager to pin the blame on anyone if it means it’ll keep their town safe.

Overall I really enjoyed this read. If you’re a fan of cosy crime, you’ll love this book. Thank you to Harriet Cummings for sending me a copy to review. 

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 20th April 2017

Print length: 320 pages

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