Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

cross her heart sarah pinboroughWhen Lisa finds a children’s stuffed toy outside her house, she knows something is wrong.  Very wrong.  Only one person could have left it, and they aren’t supposed to know where she is.  Panic rises – and builds even more when things that mean nothing to anyone but her keep happening.

It’s no wonder she is paranoid.  And no wonder she is driving her daughter – 16 year old Ava – crazy with her constant need to know where she is and what she is doing.  It’s also no wonder that Ava rebels, doing almost the opposite of what her mum asks her to do.

With this type of set-up, you know things aren’t going to go well for either Lisa or Ava.  The question is how is it all going to go pear-shaped and why.  Does it have something to do with Lisa’s secrets, or the ones her best friend Marilyn is hiding? Whose past is about to rear its ugly head?

I do like this kind of book, where you question everyone and everything, even though I’ve been on a bit of a downer with them lately.  That’s because they do follow a formula and can feel stale if they aren’t done well.  Cross Her Heart was, I am pleased to report, done very well – a bit of a relief really as this is the third Sarah Pinborough book I’ve read and, so far, one was great (The Death House) and one not so great (The Language of Dying).

Saying that, it’s not fair to compare because they are all very different books.  This is what you could class as a standard psychological or domestic thriller.  It follows the aforementioned formula and so you kind of know what to expect.  What makes it a great example of the genre is the plotting, which is really tight and full of unexpected twists and turns, and the characters.  I genuinely liked Lisa and Marilyn (Ava was a bit bratty but she was also 16 so I’ve let her off on that count).  I thought they were well written and real.

It all made for a highly enjoyable read, with perhaps my only reservation (and why it would get 4 versus 5 stars) that the end, though a shocker, felt a bit unreal.  I didn’t believe in it enough.  Still, well worth a read, and something I would be happy to have on my shelves.

Have you read it? What did you think of the ending?

Emma x


The blurb…

‘Cross my heart and hope to die…’

Promises only last if you trust each other, but what if one of you is hiding something?

A secret no one could ever guess.

Someone is living a lie.

Is it Lisa?

Maybe it’s her daughter, Ava.

Or could it be her best friend, Marilyn?

The detail…

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication date: 14th May, 2018
Genre: domestic thriller, psychological thriller
Number of pages: 400
Rating: 4 out of 5

Find it on…


Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.  



  1. Sounds very good! I have only read one book by the author, Behind Her Eyes, and while I enjoyed it, there were some “out there” happenings that were hard to accept.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. I’ve read some of her fantasy, which is dark and powerfully written – but think this is probably a bit rich for me. Thank you for the well written, detailed review which gave a strong sense of the book:)


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