The Girl You Gave Away by Jess Ryder


EXCERPT: Ah…the moment. There should have been a crack of thunder, the voice of God booming above the party music. But my destiny arrived in a small red envelope.

‘I found this on the doormat,’ Asha said. ‘A birthday card, I guess. Hand delivered.’

‘That’s weird. Why didn’t they knock?’

‘It’s probably a neighbour, having a dig about not being invited.’

‘But we asked practically the whole street. Tom insisted. He said it would stop us getting complaints.’

Asha shrugged. ‘I don’t know, maybe it dropped out of a present? Anyway, I’d better go back to Holly. She’s not in a good place.’

‘I’ll come over in a sec.’ Asha thanked me and threaded her way back to the table. Without a second thought, I ripped open the envelope and took out a birthday card. I stared at the champagne glass overflowing with bubbles and the silver ’40’ in the top corner. But it was the message inside that made my heart jump into my throat.

Happy birthday, Mum!
With love from the girl you gave away

ABOUT THIS BOOK: All she wanted was the life they had…

It is the day of Erin’s fortieth birthday party. Pink and silver balloons drift through her garden, the platters of food are empty and the recycling is overflowing with empty wine bottles.

As Erin mingles with groups of family and friends, surrounded by love and laughter, she feels like the luckiest woman alive. She has no idea what fate has in store …

Then a little red envelope lands on the doormat and everything changes.

Inside is a birthday card from somebody she never dreamed would get in touch. Its message is a chilling reminder of the dark past that Erin has worked so hard to bury, a past that could put her precious family in terrible danger…

MY THOUGHTS: The Girl You Gave Away by Jess Ryder began well, even if the dialogue was a little stilted. And mostly the story was enjoyable, although there were parts that seemed sleazy and left me feeling grubby which were, to be entirely fair, necessary to the plot.

The plot was interesting, but I think would have worked better if it had been set some years earlier than it was when the attitudes to teenage pregnancy weren’t so lenient as in the mid-nineties. I seem to remember that by then it was commonplace, and no one really cared. If this had have been set in the mid sixties to mid seventies, I would have found the attitudes and outcomes a lot more believable.

There was a lot going on in this book…relationship breakdowns, teenage pregnancy, adoption, kidnapping, blackmail, and mental health issues to name a few. Perhaps the author was trying to include a few too many things, cover too many bases. And instead of doing one or two things in depth and well, she has spread herself very thinly over too many different issues.

I expected this to be an emotional and heartwrenching read, but in the end I felt nothing for any of the characters.

I also found the ending totally unrealistic and annoying.


#TheGirlYouGaveAway #NetGalley

‘Those (reality) TV programmes are dangerous…they’re fairytales disguised as real life.’

THE AUTHOR: Jess Ryder is a pseudonym of novelist/screenwriter/television producer, Jan Page

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The Girl You Gave Away by Jess Ryder for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage

Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbler. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

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