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Book Review: ‘One Little Mistake’ by Emma Curtis

Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all well. Today I’m posting my review of Emma Curtis’ fantastic psychological thriller, ‘One Little Mistake’. It took me a while to actually get round to reading this book, but I’m so glad I did! Keep reading to discover my thoughts…

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Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.

When she makes a split-second decision that risks everything she holds dear, there’s only person she trusts enough to turn to.

But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you’re careless with those you love, you don’t deserve to keep them . . .

** TRIGGER WARNING ** Contains reference to childhood abuse, including emotional, physical and sexual trauma, including a scene of rape. Also explores mental illness, self-harm and suicide. Contains some references to pregnancy issues.

‘One Little Mistake’ (June 2017) is Emma Curtis’ debut novel, and was a bestselling eBook. Her latest novel, ‘When I Find You’, is due to be released on 1st July 2018. Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and brought up in London. She now lives in Richmond with her family.

The novel received rave reviews, from the likes of Woman & Home: “A dark page-turning debut of friendship, deceit and lies” and IMAGE Magazine: “A cleverly written story about how the past, and one moment of regret, can catch up with you”. Many fellow authors also praised the book, such as Claire Douglas: “A brilliant, gripping read”, Jane Corry: “This book will make any woman look at her best friend with more than a touch of suspicion” and Tammy Cohen: “A tense and utterly engrossing story”.

‘One Little Mistake’ follows the lives of both Vicky Seagrave and her best friend Amber. Vicky makes a terrible mistake and risks everything she’s worked so hard for, and decides to come clean to Amber. But it soon becomes clear that Amber isn’t the person she thought she was…

The narrative is split into two parts: The present (2010) and the past (1992). The present narrative is mainly told from the first-person perspective of Vicky, although occasionally some sections do focus on the other protagonist, Amber. The past narrative is told from the third person, focusing in on young Katya. It is unclear at first how these two narratives link, but all is revealed later on in the book. This variety of narrative methods makes the novel exciting and tense, whilst still being simple enough to follow easily.

Vicky Seagrave is definitely my favourite character in the novel. She’s worked really hard throughout her life to get to where she currently is – she has a wonderful, loving husband, three daughters and a job she adores. But in a moment of madness, she forgets those who are closest to her and is entirely selfish. And from that moment, her life spirals out of control. She does everything she can to hold onto those dearest to her, but is it too late? Although I definitely didn’t agree with all the choices she makes (she’s impulsive, reckless and foolish at times), she does understand the consequences of her actions, and this made me really warm to her. She is a very realistic character.

Amber, on the other hand, seems like a nasty piece of work right from the beginning. She’s driven by jealousy and rivalry, and although she has her own husband and child, she is constantly striving to achieve what Vicky has, and essentially wishes she could be her best friend. She’s wicked and cruel at times, wanting those around her to suffer like she has done. She’s had a pretty awful childhood, but instead of rising above that, she lets it drag her down deeper. But once we learn more about Amber, it soon becomes clear that there’s much more to her character than first meets the eye. She’s an extremely complex and well-written character.

Vicky’s husband Tom seems like the perfect husband, but he too has his dark side. He’s a brilliant father and a doting husband to Vicky, always treating her like a princess. But at times he does show his wild side, and engages in some reckless behaviour too. It was truly sad, however, to see how broken he is by Vicky’s mistake. He has strong morals and high standards, and when his wife sinks to a low point, he is determined to be the better person and rise above it. Although he definitely isn’t perfect, I did feel a great deal of sympathy towards him.

Other characters in the novel include: Katya, Maggie (Katya’s social worker), Luke (Katya’s foster father), Robert (Amber’s husband), Vicky and Tom’s three children, Amber and Robert’s child, Magda (the babysitter), Jenny and her husband (friends of both the couples), David (Vicky’s friend), and various members of the police force and social service. All characters bring something fresh and exciting to the novel, and all are significant in their own way.

** TRIGGER WARNING ** This novel explores the theme of childhood abuse in great detail, including emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Child molestation and rape also play a part in the novel. The novel also contains references to various mental illnesses, and details scenes of self-harm and suicide. Pregnancy issues are touched upon lightly in the novel. All of these issues are dealt with appropriately and sensitively, but some scenes are still fairly shocking to read. If any of these issues may trigger a negative response, I suggest you skip this book.

As the present narrative motors onwards, Vicky’s life gets gradually worse, until she no longer has control over the things that happen to her. She tries desperately to hold on to her family, but it may be too late. Amber begins to interfere more and more in her life, taking away those she holds dearest. As the past narrative motors onwards, Katya’s abuse by her foster father Luke reaches its worst point, and Katya must fight for survival. Both of the narratives clash in the most almighty way.

So, let’s talk about the ending. There’s a really dramatic fight scene, in which the characters might battle for survival. Vicky’s family are in danger, and she must do everything she can to protect them and keep them safe. She must confront her terrible mistake and work hard to put things right once and for all. The end scene is action-packed and full of tension – I simply couldn’t put it down! I was really surprised by the way things ended, and also really happy that events were left ambiguously.

Overall, I highly recommend this novel to those of you who enjoy psychological thrillers, particularly those of you who enjoy novels with a slower pace. It took me a little while to really engage with this book for that reason – but once I did, I was hooked! Fantastic characters, an excellent plot, an almighty twist and a brilliant climax – what else could you want?! For me, it was slightly lacking in action and the pace was a bit slower than I would have liked, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the book. A fantastic read!

Happy reading 🙂

2 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘One Little Mistake’ by Emma Curtis

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