ARC Review: Sea of Bones by Deborah O’Donoghue

Sea of Bones

Author: Deborah O’Donoghue

Publication Date: July 1st 2019

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 288

Publisher: Legends Press


A murdered girl. A buried secret.

Juliet is used to wielding power and influence in her line of work, but when her beloved niece dies, she finds herself powerless in the face of her grief and has doubts over the coroner’s report of suicide.

She travels back to her family’s remote coastal home where Beth was found. As Juliet delves deeper into the investigation, her personal and professional lives collide and she unwittingly finds herself pitted against dangerous opposition who seem intent on silencing her.

In order to expose the truth behind her niece’s death, Juliet must face the fact that nobody in her life is who she previously thought them to be – including herself. 

This novel is set between Inverness, Elgin and along the Moray coast. The author treats us to beautifully descriptive writing allowing us to visualise the Scottish coastline. We gain insight into what life is like in Inverness and Elgin in stark contrast to the characters main home in London. During our first introductions to Juliet (the main character) we someone who is struggling to come to terms with her nieces death. She is adamant that her niece wouldn’t commit suicide , not without talking to at least one member of her family. Everyone around her thinks she has become obsessive with her reasoning and she is slowly starting to question her own mental health. She is paranoid about it already, her twin sister has bipolar disorder and is aware of the statistics of twins being especially at risk.

Juliet is a wonderfully realistic character, she has strengths, weaknesses, personal quirks and flaws. This character is so different from others I have recently read, it was very refreshing. Juliet was in her 40’s and it was wonderful to have a more mature heroine, she had lived a successful life and had the benefit of life experience in tackling the event of her niece’s death.

I think the main influences in Juliet’s life were Beth, her niece and Fiona Goldman, her boss. She definetly became a better person when Beth came along and helped bring her up while her sister was ill with bipolar. Fiona spurs her on to be the best she can be in her career and has learned everything she knows from her. She was grounded and settled with both influences but now Beth’s dead and Fiona’s career is in tatters – can Juliet hold it all together?

In this heartbreaking story of loss and a woman’s journey from grief to uncovering a well buried secret. Juliet learns to be persistent, to follow your gut instinct and never giving up. When you feel something isn’t right it usually isn’t.

There were instances that the the story was very slow – probably up to around 60%. I struggled to get through it but after that point the story seemed to unfold more. The writing was good, with excellent eye to detail in her descriptions. For me personally, i didn’t think that the story connected very well between Beth’s death and the secret that was revealed towards the end. I found it a bit unrealistic, especially considering the location of the story and the nature of Beth.

I gave this 3 stars. It’s a decent read, just for me it didn’t work to it’s full potential. It was well written, I didn’t feel shocked at the twists and turns that the book provided.

3 stars

5 thoughts on “ARC Review: Sea of Bones by Deborah O’Donoghue

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