Title: The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy
Author: B.M. Carroll
Published: September 3rd 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 5 stars
Sophie McCarthy is known for her determination, ambition and brilliance. She’s tough, but only because she wants to get the best out of people.
Aidan Ryan is strong, honourable, and a family man. He’s tough too; the army requires it.
Now Sophie’s life is in ruins and Aidan is responsible. Her family wants to see him pay for what he did. His family is just as devastated.
Aidan’s prepared to sacrifice everything – including his marriage and his child – to fix the mess he’s made.
But Sophie, who is facing a lifetime of pain, is darker and much more complicated than she first appeared . . .
You may or may not know that B.M. Carroll is the pen name taken by established author Ber Carroll. Ber is also close friends with global sensation and fellow writer Liane Moriarty, who has raved about The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy. Turns out Liane Moriarty’s opinion is completely justified, this is an amazing book and it easily earns a place as one of my favourite reads of the year.
The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy draws a complex line between what constitutes as being a victim and a bully. The lead, which this book is named after, treads a fine line between both these categories. A tragic accident and twist of fate debilitates Sophie, she is rendered incapable of performing simple everyday tasks. Once determined and full of ambition, Sophie is reduced to a quivering wreck who logs her nerve pain obsessively. But it isn’t all bad news for Sophie. The accident brings Aiden into her life, the same man who is at fault for what happened to her. It is a strange turn of events, but as Aiden eases his guilt by visiting Sophie in the hospital while she recovers, a relationship begins. However, the fallout from this devastating accident continues to have ripple effects on not only Sophie and Aiden, but their loved ones too. A vicious secret from the past also churns up fresh problems for Sophie McCarthy.
Firstly, I just want to breathe a big exclamation of WOW! This book was incredibly addictive and unputdownable. The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy was read in one sitting book, which is perhaps a testament to my enjoyment of this novel. The writing is stunning, the plot intricate and the characters are incredibly complex. This is what you want when you are looking for a good quality fiction novel and B.M. Carroll delivers.
I will begin with Sophie, the title character. Carroll’s representation of this complex main character is top notch, along with the side characters that inform the novel. Sophie is incredibly well drawn. I got an excellent feel for her thoughts, motivations and personality type. Carroll also withholds a little of Sophie’s character, so the sense of intrigue remains strong. The way in which Sophie is represented on the page also means that we pivot between feeling sympathy for her and downright disliking her!
Carroll’s solid characterisation skills extend to her secondary character base. This is aided by the shifting style of narration. Each chapter is narrated by a different character. This enables the reader to grasp Sophie’s character firmly and understand how Sophie looks through the eyes of others. Aiden is rendered very well, along with Aiden’s ex Chloe and his young daughter Jasmin. Also in on the action are Sophie’s parents and work colleagues. Although this may seem like there are a high number of narrators, the shifts are smooth, never jarring, so we slip easily into the action of each character.
Carroll incorporates plenty of themes within The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy. This contemporary fiction novel leans towards a domestic fiction, crossed with family drama title. Carroll offers an impressive snapshot into the world of mental health, ambition, compulsion, infidelity, infertility, loss, single parenthood, childhood learning difficulties and sleep disorders. She also shines an interesting light on the army world, through Aiden’s experiences. Carroll carefully examines the stress, anxiety, fatigue and the difficulties maintaining solid relationships.
The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy is a solid page turner and I found the pace relentless. My eyes were glued to the page and there were many moments where I felt that I was at the complete mercy of B.M. Carroll. The final turn of events and a secret from the past really did add the icing on the cake for this one.
The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy was a surprising read, full of twists (including an unexpected late one), turns and ambiguous characters. I appreciated the writing very much. I rated my first book by B.M. Carroll very highly, five out five stars. I’m very excited about the prospect of enjoying more writing by this talented storyteller that I am so pleased to have discovered!
The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy by B.M. Carroll was published on 3rd September 2018 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy, B.M. Carroll, visit here.
The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy is book #89 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge