They say you can’t choose your family . . . But what if they’re wrong?
Chloe lives a quiet life. Working as a newspaper archivist in the day and taking care of her nan in the evening, she’s happy simply to read about the lives of others as she files the news clippings from the safety of her desk.
But there’s one story that she can’t stop thinking about. The case of Angie Kyle – a girl, Chloe’s age, who went missing as a child. A girl whose parents never gave up hope.
When Chloe’s nan is moved into care, leaving Chloe on the brink of homelessness, she takes a desperate step: answering an ad to be a lodger in the missing girl’s family home. It could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to the story she’s read so much about. But it’s not long until she realizes this couple isn’t all they seem. In a house where everyone has something to hide, is it possible to get too close?
I’ve been putting off reading The Imposter since I received the proof, trying to wait until as close to the publication date as possible – why did I wait so long?! Once I started this debut I could not stop, I could not look away and I just did not want to put it down. The storyline that we are drawn into is written from the point of view of Chloe, a 29-year-old woman who works at a newspaper archive while also caring from her nan who is spiralling mentally. I quite liked Chloe as a main character, you become entwined into her life, with your heart strings tugged upon when you realise that she is a lost individual. With her nan slowly forgetting aspects of her life, Chloe feels disconnected and saddened, her feeling of belonging crumbles and she finds herself alone.
Chloe comes across an archived newspaper file about a 4-year-old girl Angie Kyle who disappeared from a park. This case peaks Chloe’s interest, she identifies with Angie, a child who has been taken away from a place she calls home, from a family she loves. Our protagonist becomes increasingly obsessed with this tragic event so as her life begins to quickly unravel, she finds herself creeping closer to the parents left behind.
The Imposter is an incredibly written mysterious psychological thriller. I felt myself flicking between a range of emotions while reading the novel. Anna Wharton has weaved a slowly burned tale, one that I feel gains a lot from not being fast paced and in your face, by putting the breaks on the unravelling of the storyline we, the reader begins to understand the many layers of Chloe; from her psychological understanding of her life, as well as the way she feels about this case which has intrigued her. The Imposter is a character driven psychological read which links into a plotline, I felt that as the book went on, it became a great balance of character AND plot driven aspects.
I loved this book, it was an emotional rollercoaster with a lot of hanging off the edge of the sofa moments, as well as huge gasping chapters. The Imposter is Anna Wharton’s debut novel and my gosh, I’m already looking forward to her next book. You can see from the writing that she absolutely understands the characters she builds, with strong foundations and depth with many layers. I found myself sympathising with Chloe and although she isn’t the most likeable of individuals at times, I was hooked to her story and I flew through all 404 pages in 24 hours – addictive, the creepingly sinister atmosphere and the injected mystery will have you lulled quickly into the pages of The Imposter.
The Imposter is due to be published in hardback, ebook and audiobook on April 1st by Mantle Books, you can pre-order here. Thanks again to Rosie Wilson for sending me a gifted proof!