Copy of Add a subheading 5 1 - REVIEW: Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan
Psychological Thriller

REVIEW: Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan
on April 2nd 2020
ISBN: 9781501172229
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Psychological, Women, Domestic, Post Natal Depression
Pages: 428
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased Book
Buy on Amazon

“Taut, clever, compelling, and guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.”—Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water
From the bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal—a new thought-provoking novel exploring the complexity of motherhood and all that connects and disconnects us.
You think you know her…but look a little closer.
She is a stay-at-home mother-of-three with boundless reserves of patience, energy, and love. After being friends for a decade, this is how Liz sees Jess.
Then one moment changes everything.
Dark thoughts and carefully guarded secrets surface—and Liz is left questioning everything she thought she knew about her friend, and about herself. The truth can’t come soon enough.
With Sarah Vaughan’s signature “clever and compelling” (Claire Douglas, author of Last Seen Alive) prose, Little Disasters is a tightly-wound and evocative page-turner that will haunt you long after you finish the last page.

Parenting is hard…that’s an accepted turn of phrase, right? In mainstream media expecting parents are given the impression that welcoming a new child is a joyous occasion, you will be filled with a tremendous sense of love from the moment you meet them. You aren’t told how the birth can leave a permanent scar on both the mind and psyche, how the sleepless nights wear you down, and the constant second-guessing of whether you are doing it right. I suffered from post-natal depression with the arrival of my second son and although it affected me in ways I never anticipated, I would never change the experience for anything.

Little Disasters is a story that will resonate with many readers. The narrative instantly pulls at the heartstrings. The author leads you down a darkened path and although you know the potential for wrongdoing to jump out at you, the author still surprises you with the lengths that mothers will go but also the lengths that others will stretch to shield their guilt. Domestic thrillers have always been a favourite of mine, but Sarah Vaughan takes the familiar ingredients and pulls a new recipe straight out of thin air.

Little Disasters does just that. Liz, a registrar Paediatrician is on duty when she is called down to A&E when a ten-month-old baby is brought in presenting with strange symptoms. She’s vomiting, she’s drowsy however she doesn’t have a temperature. She’s familiar with this sweet baby girl, it’s her best friend, Jess’s daughter. A natural-born mother, who parents with ease and care. She spends so much time thinking about her children’s diets, their extracurricular activities but she has no faith in medicine. However, the woman is not the same woman she knows outside of work – she’s cagey and she finds out her daughter had a fall, but the accident doesn’t account for the injury, so why is she lying?

I had my suspicions from the start. If this behaviour was completely out of character, then why was Jess acting so off? Why did it take her nearly six hours to bring her daughter to the hospital? Quickly I realised that Vaughan leaves nothing to chance. You are given everything you need, right when you need them…what you decide to do with them is entirely your choice. The narrative is powerful and sharp, and it flows through every page – nothing slows, you read chapter after chapter needing to know why.

Little Disasters deals with Anxiety and Post-natal depression with the rose-tinted glasses stomped on. It strips back the expectations and the assumption that every mother is immediately maternal. The anxiety of looking after a tiny person is formidable. It highlights the importance to get help and the difference it can make when bonding with your baby. One woman’s life is unravelling and at times it can be painful to see/read.

Little Disasters is devilishly clever. It is perceptive in its quiet devastation. It’s coiled tighter than a spring.


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I’m a novelist and journalist who has alway wanted to write fiction. My first novel, The Art of Baking Blind, was published in 2014 by Hodder, and nine other countries. The Farm at the Edge of the World, followed in 2016, and in 2017 became a bestseller in France. My instant international bestseller, Anatomy of a Scandal, heralded a shift in genre: part courtroom drama, part portrait of a marriage, part psychological thriller, it draws on my experience as a political correspondent, court reporter, and student at Oxford to explore power, privilege, and consent. With 26 deals, it spent ten weeks in the Sunday Times bestsellers’ lists; was a Richard & Judy pick of the decade and on April 15 2022 will drop as a six-part Netflix series starring Sienna Miller, Michelle Dockery and Rupert Friend. My fourth novel, Little Disasters, partly set in a hospital and in a similar vein to Anatomy, was published in April 2020, during the first lockdown, and was a Waterstone’s Thriller of the Month. It is currently being adapted for a UK TV broadcaster. Reputation, published in March 2022 in the UK, and in the US and elsewhere later this year, has been optioned for TV by the team behind Anatomy.

Though I didn’t start writing fiction in earnest before I turned 40, I have put pen to paper – or fingers to a keyboard – every day of my career. Before writing novels, I was a journalist, writing under the byline Sarah Hall. After journalism college and work at The Times, I trained with the Press Association and spent 11 years on The Guardian as a news reporter, health correspondent and political correspondent. I left after having my second baby, and began to freelance.

Long before that,  I read English at Brasenose College, Oxford. Reading Beowulf may not have helped me become a novelist but reading and thinking about writing for three years undoubtedly did. I now live just outside Cambridge with my husband, two children and dog. When I’m not writing, I love to walk, run, read.


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