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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars128
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 October 2004
Move over Martina Cole!!!!!!!
I have read all of Martinas books and this is the first I have read by this author and I have absolutely enjoyed it infact I am at a loss now cos I read it so quickly as I just couldnt put it down. I cannot wait for my other two books by this author to arrive. To all Martina Cole fans read and enjoy!
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on 27 January 2011
I was hooked after half a page - it was pacy, gritty and honest. No punches pulled, no make believe, no fanasy world.

This was my first time reading Mandasue Heller - it is usually Martina Cole, Lynda La Plante - both good and addictive, but Mandasue Heller suits me fine. She writes about Manchester, council estates and a life I can empathise with as I come from northern England (40 miles south of Manchester), raised in a 'dubious' area and lived on a council etate and with 19 years working in the Probation Service she talks my language!

She drove the story of Sarah, Vinnie and Harry brilliantly. The book covers the years 2003 - 1985 - 2003 and tells us about the emotional poverty felt by abandoned children, childrens homes, prostitution and gangs. You want to know what happens to Sarah, Vinnie and Harry, how their lives inter-twine and how sometimes there is no escape from fate.

This is a book which is hard to put down and I relish the thought of the next one I pick up.
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on 15 October 2004
I read this book in two days and as with the previous reviews found Mandasues' style very similar to Martina Cole. I have been looking for an author who's style was similar to Martinas for ages as I have read all of Martinas books twice and was getting fed up waiting for "The Graft".
If you are in a similar situation... fear not...for Heller is fantastic!
I felt a great amount of sadness for her "ugly Ducling" character, Harry Shaw and a real hatred for the villan of the novel!
I will definately be reading more from Mandasue.
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on 12 December 2004
Read this book in 2 days!! Just couldn't put it down. Very similar to Martina Coles. Very believable characters and plot. One of those books you just have to keep on reading to the end.
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on 3 December 2010
This isn't usually my kind of novel, but my friend entrusted me with a box of books to take to the charity shop and this one never quite made it!

I loved the characters, the pace, the detail and the very satisfying end. I loved Sarah's character especially, a young, complex, independent, empowered female who very nearly almost lets someone get one over on her...but comes storming back magnificently!

My only complaint would be the lack of follow up on the Mark Chambers character. Without creating any spoilers, surely what he endured at the hands of the villan was worth revisiting towards the end of the book?
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on 13 February 2013
This tale kicks off pretty quick, a little girl tormented and battered by her mother and subjected to horrors by her friends. She is removed from her mothers "care" after an incident and placed into care. She meets people who will be bound to her life in different ways and will shape the person she will become. Betrayal, friendship, loyalty, brutality, shame, distrust is just a few of the issues covered in this story.

It is split over a few decades although the story flows so you don't miss anything and can follow easily. I could have read this in one sitting had circumstances allowed. Although the story is spread over a significant time period, all the questions you have from one are answered in latter part. This story provokes different emotions from rage and anger at a mother who can behave as she did and treat her child so, to admiration for a girl who bounces back no matter what life throws at her.

The characters are life like and well portrayed, from the bullied geeky Harry who shows how strong friendship can be. To the despicable, calculating and nasty Vinnie who you get to see from a young laddy to a grown man and the lengths one person will go to to get what he wants. It is no secret I love Mandasue Heller's books and writing and sometimes when you go back to earlier stuff you find you don't enjoy it as much or find something lacking. Thankfully this wasn't the case, I loved this as much as her recent writings and will get the others I have missed so far. 5/5 for me, as always if this is a new author to you, there is sex, violence, aggression, swearing, murder and all the usual that follows nitty gritty crime. If you like Martina Cole you will love Mandasue Heller.
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on 21 January 2013
I started off disliking this book intensely, there didn't seem to be anything "nice" about it at all. Very dark and gritty. The thing was, I couldn't actually stop thinking about it once I put it down. This for me is a sign of an exceedingly well written book so although I was hoping it would lighten up a bit I stuck with it.

Trust me when I say there is nothing fluffy about this book at all. There are scenes in it that are definitely not for the faint-hearted. And the only light part about the whole book is the very end!

How the characters grow and interact with each other is a joy to read. And you can completely understand the decisions and choices that Sarah makes. Vinnie is such a despicable character that you cannot help but to loathe him. But he makes an excellent villain, a true psychopath.

I would recommend this book very highly, just not for a light read.
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on 26 December 2009
Fast paced, gripping, bursting with action, thrills and gritty drama!
This book couldnt be any better - I have read and own a fair few of Mandasue Heller's books and throughly enjoy them (which I found strange at first as I can't get into Martina Cole's books)
This is honest and full felt in regards to the description that she goes into with the children's home and emotion attached.
I especially liked the fact that she concentrated on the characters most important parts by writing with a 10 year gap to bring it up to speed and got quickly to the point and also introduced powerful characters
The only let down was the end where I think more detail couldve been injected to the scene where Vinnie gets caught by Glen and Sarah - I think this part was rushed and not as hard hitting or descriptive as it couldve been!

But a good book none the less my favourite so far!
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on 12 February 2004
This is a very gripping book! the author writes in a similar style to martina cole( when martina cole was at her best, like ladykiller etc...)The female character goes through a terrible life but you don't really feel any sympathy for her, I didn't really like her, all the same though it's fast paced and a very exiting read.
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on 13 March 2010
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The story is superb, the little plots and sub-plots all come together at the end. It is really very cleverly written, I enjoyed the little ironies that were present and the characterisation is superb. This is so much more than a page turner, I have re read the last few chapters a number of times and will be re reading the whole book in the near future.
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