Dear Amy is the debut novel from Amy Callaghan.
Margot teaches English at a private school in England. She also writes an advice column for the local newspaper. She feels like a bit of a fraud though, handing out advice as her own personal life is a bit of a mess.
Then Katie, one of her students disappears. And shortly after a 'help me' note arrives for 'Dear Amy' at the newspaper office from girl named Bethan - who also disappeared - twenty years ago. Is someone playing a horrible joke? Or could the author of the letter really be Bethan? Could she still be alive? Then another letter arrives and Margot finds herself involved in the investigation. Great premise!
Dear Amy is told in first person from Margot's point of view. But as the book progresses, I began to have my doubts about Margot's outlook. Yes, Callaghan employed one of my favourite plot devices - the unreliable narrator. Margot is mercurial - hard to pin down and somewhat difficult to like. But that's okay with me - I don't necessarily need to like every character in a novel to enjoy the book. The perpetrator of the crimes is also given a voice - and their thoughts are distinctly chilling.
As the pages turned, I began to think I had things figured out. Turns out I did, but kept turning as I wanted to see how the story played out. The pacing did seem to slow down in the latter third of the book and I think the resolution could have been reached a bit quicker. And I'm not sure if the romantic subplot was even necessary (or for this reader, believable).
Overall, I enjoyed Dear Amy. It was entertaining and I liked Callaghan's writing. A good debut novel and I look forward to the next book from Helen Callaghan. Read an excerpt of Dear Amy.
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