I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald
Published by Simon and Schuster on February 5, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
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In the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.
A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.
In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.
When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?
Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?
The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald is one of those books that you know is going to be great right from the moment you pick it up. When I first started reading the story, I came to realize that this book is so much more than just “great.” It is undeniably extraordinary. McDonald is such a talented and gifted writer and it shows page after page. Her writing flows so effortlessly and so beautifully, capturing every heartbreaking moment and I soon found myself in tears. This book is so much more than just a mother/daughter relationship. It encompasses forgiveness, grief, understanding, determination and learning to say goodbye to the past and to the present. This is without a doubt one of my top reads of 2019.
I am not a parent, but I do have two younger sisters and there is a 20 year gap between us. I can’t ever imagine getting a call in the middle of the night with such devastating news such as the one Abi Knight receives about her daughter. Upon arriving at the hospital, Abi soon learns that her daughter, Olivia, is brain dead and also pregnant. What happened to her daughter and how did she fall off of the bridge and why are there bruises on her wrists? When the police stop looking for answers, Abi will do everything in her power to find out what happened to Olivia.
Alternating between dual perspectives between Abi in the present and Olivia in the past really gives you insight into both characters. I can see how Abi has devoted her life to her daughter, almost to the detriment of herself. With that being said, I can also see how Abi’s past influenced how she raised Olivia and why she is so protective of her. Abi is such a complex character and and McDonald really peels back the layers as we get a deeper look into Abi’s character and slowly we can see, that in the time of a tragedy there can also be growth.
Olivia is a normal teenager, despite her mother’s over protectiveness. She has good friends, a boyfriend, and gets straight A’s in school. But, something is missing in her life. There is a secret her mother is keeping from her and Olivia is determined to find out the truth. I found Olivia to be pretty easy to fall in love with. Once again, McDonald has written a well fleshed out character, one we can love and also feel pain for. Her story is so heart wrenching.
There is something important that I have taken away from this story and also it lends a bit of foreshadowing to the mystery surrounding Olivia’s fall. What is more important – happiness or the truth? The statement is so subtle, yet it really drives home the premise of the story. These two simple terms are weaved so expertly throughout the story and it leads you to wonder what is more important. Does the truth really set you free?
The mystery surrounding Olivia’s fall is intense and gripping and yet so subtle and not in your face like most thrillers. I easily found myself immersed in this domestic thriller as I tried to piece together what happened to Olivia. There are multiple characters I kept going back and forth on and I can honestly say, McDonald did such a fantastic job at keeping me guessing all the way through.
The Night Olivia Fell is an emotionally heartbreaking and yet, in a way, also an uplifting story about love, loss and finding yourself in times of tragedy. Christina McDonald is a power player in the genre and her writing proves just how brilliantly something so subtly written can have such a huge impact. I see nothing but great things ahead of McDonald and she has truly turned me into a huge fan. I cannot recommend this book Highly enough.