Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy,
Published: 6th July 2017
Publisher: Penguin Viking
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
BlurbWhen Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship's comforts and possibilities seem infinite. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor mishaps lead the families further from the ship's safety.
One minute the children are there, and the next they're gone.
What follows is a heart-racing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the distraught parents - now turning on one another and blaming themselves - try to recover their children and their shattered lives.
From the title Do Not Become Alarmed I was expecting this book to be full of suspense and very gripping, sadly I found it unconvincing and in places boring.
After Nora loses her mother best friend Liv decides the best thing for both families is to take a vacation for Christmas and so a cruise around South America is booked. One aboard the two families begin to relax and enjoy their holiday. Everything is perfect until Nora and Liv decide to take the children on an expedition with tour guide Pedro and leave the husbands to play golf. The trip does not go well, after their jeep breaks down they are left stranded. Pedro guides them to a secluded beach where the children play and the women relax and take their focus off the children. Nora goes off with Pedro to look at the birds while Liv falls asleep after too much cocktail. When Nora and Pedro return all they find is Liv asleep and no children. What follows is a frantic search to find the children before something bad happen to them.
What I was expecting from this novel was an emotional read where the parents become distraught because the children have vanished from the ship, but the whole beach scene left me unconvinced, how exactly can six children disappear from the view of four adults? To me the parents just didn’t seem as alarmed as I would have been in a similar situation. I was expecting guilt, especially from Nora and Liv, anger from the husbands and tears from everyone, but everything they did felt a little flat.
What made this book better for me was the children, their story was far more interesting, gripping and even had a sinister note to it. I also found their personalities much more engaging especially Penny and Isabel. I loved the way Penny took “charge” and looked after everyone especially her brother Sebastian who has diabetes and became ill.
There were one or two threads in the book which left me confused, like the story of little Noemi, I’m not sure how this really fitted into the story and if it really added anything.
I found Do Not Become Alarmed a completely different story to what I was expecting, it was darker featuring much more of the underground criminal scene of South America including drug trafficking and murder. This gave the book a sinister tone in places but for me something was missing and it wasn’t as gripping as a thriller should be.
Thank you to Penguin Viking for sending me a copy to review and for inviting me on this blog tour.