Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough #20BooksofSummer


Author : Sarah Pinborough
Title : Cross Her Heart
Pages : 400
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : May 14, 2018



Is it Lisa?
Haunted by a tragic past, all Lisa wants is a quiet life with her daughter, Ava. And when she meets a new man, things seem to be falling into place. But Lisa is hiding a secret so momentous it could shatter her entire world…

Is it Ava?
When sixteen-year-old Ava saves a young boy’s life, she becomes a local hero. But never in a million years could she have anticipated the fallout of her actions…

Is it Marilyn?
Marilyn has the perfect life. Her husband, her job, her house—she seems to have it all. But she could never admit to her best friend Lisa the lies she tells herself to get through the day…

One moment will change these three women’s lives forever. And the secrets they’ve been keeping could destroy them all.


After being blown away by Sarah Pinborough’s previous book and that #WTFending, I was curious to see what she’d come up with next. I had high hopes and expectations but I’m sad to say, they weren’t quite delivered.

The book is divided up into three parts and I must admit part one had me wondering if I had the right author. It all felt incredibly slow, too much time spent on setting the scene and being introduced to the various characters. It’s obvious early on that Lisa is hiding from her past and I felt like shouting “just bloody tell me what’s going on already!”. Patient, I am not.

I desperately needed something, anything, to happen. Luckily, the last page of part one finally promised something exciting around the corner but up until that point, it all felt a bit like pretty much any other psychological thriller out there.

And …. that didn’t really change. Not in part two and not in part three. Sure, there are a few surprises and a red herring or two but overall, it wasn’t the addictive page-turner I was expecting and it wasn’t anywhere near the brilliance of Behind Your Eyes. Some of it was rather predictable and some things were a bit too much out there, losing believability along the way and causing me to roll my eyes once or twice. And all of this ended in a massively disappointing reveal.

So no, Cross Her Heart didn’t quite work for me. It fails immensely at standing out from the crowd, which I very much expected it to. Now, it’s not all bad. She says way too late. I do enjoy Pinborough’s writing style and I think she handled the character of Ava, particular, extremely well. All that teenage angst and secrets. Overall, there is a good plot here and it never occurred to me not to finish the book. I just read too much in this genre, I think, and I fully admit that my constant comparison to her previous book didn’t do me any favours as I was constantly awaiting a special kind of BOOM.

So, please don’t take my word for it. This is getting some rave reviews so grab yourself a copy, read it and feel free to come back and tell me how wrong I am 😂.

[I normally wouldn’t have posted this review but since this book was on my 20 Books of Summer list, it only seemed like the right thing to do. Also, thanks to Janel @ Keeper of Pages for another fun buddy read!)

Cross Her Heart is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads


Book 18 from my 20 Books of Summer list.



  32 comments for “Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough #20BooksofSummer

  1. August 22, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    I really appreciate that you’re posting this review and you points are fair! After reading Behind Your Eyes I have high expectations too but it’s good to know it won’t be the same. I can’t believe I’m waiting more than 3 months for this book to be delivered but no damn it I don’t want want my order to be cancelled, they should stop proposing and just deliver it. Thanks for your review lovely!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ova
      August 22, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      Oh Inge, If I had a paper copy I’d send it to you, but I got this on Netgalley – maybe ask the publisher, they might send it?

      Liked by 2 people

      • August 23, 2018 at 9:09 am

        Oh that’s so sweet! It’s HarperCollins I think, I should see if I find a name (there are so many people there though) but thanks for the idea! xxx

        Liked by 1 person

    • August 22, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you, I really appreciate that. I’ve never posted an overwhelmingly negative review before and it had me worried and nervous.

      I’d just cancel your order and order the hardback from amazon, I think it is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 23, 2018 at 9:20 am

        You will see that you’ll get most views over time for this one. At least that’s what it’s like for me, crazy :-). Thanks, I might do that after all.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ova
    August 22, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for the honest review. I’ve also been quite brutal about this book, really hated it. I liked other Pinborough books,but not sure if I’ll read her again. Too much frustration with this one and it’s upsetting content and messing around (I think that’s the slowness you mentioned)

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 22, 2018 at 9:06 pm

      Upsetting content doesn’t really bother me. I read a lot of gruesome crime fiction anyway. But, yes, frustration on my part as well and like you, I may not be so quick in picking up one of her other books in future.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Holly B / Dressedtoread
    August 22, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Sadly , it didn’t work for me either. I loved Behind Her Eyes and maybe I had high expectations. I tried to like it, but was so disappointed. Maybe next time!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. August 22, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    I haven’t read Behind Your Eyes so with no expectations I enjoyed this. I’ve given up on NOT having my imagination stretched in alot of books I’ve been reading this year. Seems to be part & parcel of the genre…

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 22, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      We read too much, Mairead. It’s getting harder for authors to surprise us and still keep things believable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 22, 2018 at 10:28 pm

        Probably right Eva…back to mixing up those genre…only solution. I never seem to feel it in historical fiction..hence my continued love of that particular genre…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. August 22, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    I’ve just read this book and really liked it. I was in the minority in not being a huge fan of Behind Your Eyes and I think I went into this one with much lower expectations and actually thought it was brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 22, 2018 at 9:03 pm

      I love how we can all have such different expectations and experiences. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ChrissiReads
    August 22, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    I’ve only ever read one book by Sarah Pinborough and i wasn’t that impressed, so I’m not sure I’d try this one. Loved reading your review though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 22, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      I’m quite reluctant to try any of her future ones myself. It’s not like I’ll run out of other books to read 😄


  7. August 22, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    I did enjoy Sarah Pinsborough’s previous book so I’m sorry to hear that this one didn’t work quite so well for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 24, 2018 at 10:25 am

      I’m pretty sure that’s where my problem lies. It was so different and I was expecting something special from her again. Not quite fair on my part.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jo
    August 22, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Oh dear! I do know exactly what you mean about part one – I also felt that it obviously building up to something, and I wanted to what that was well before it was revealed. I read this on holiday, and I think that the relaxed atmosphere let me just sit back and go along with it. Whether I’d have felt the same about it reading it at another time, I’m not sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 24, 2018 at 10:25 am

      I do wonder how I would have felt if I could’ve been able to leave the comparisons to her previous book aside.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. August 22, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    You absolutely should have posted this review! It’s well written and you’ve explained clearly what didn’t work for you. Looking forward to our next buddy read, hopefully we’ll have better luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 24, 2018 at 10:26 am

      Why, thank you! Looking forward to yours and I can’t wait for our next buddy read!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. August 23, 2018 at 12:16 am

    I enjoyed this one, but then I haven’t read her other one, its hard sometimes when you have an expectation.Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. August 23, 2018 at 12:42 am

    I always like to know what books don’t work for people and why, as it gives me a better idea of why they like the books they do! So great review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 24, 2018 at 10:28 am

      Thank you. I don’t normally do this as I’d rather talk about books I did enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. August 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    It’s so hard to review a book when you expect more than you get. It’s a fair and honest review and you have explained why it didn’t work for you. This makes it a great review xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. August 23, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    Aww, sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you.
    But thanks for sharing anyway! I see why this wouldn’t work for me either… two eyerolls are too many for one book! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 24, 2018 at 10:29 am

      😂 Too true! I don’t mind if I end up with a headache from a truly complicated story but not from rolling my eyes.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. September 12, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Thank you for being honest in this review. I am “trying” to read this book and I am not so sure if I’ll be finishing it. The hinting of spousal abuse is a huge turn off for me thus far, and I am only 80 pages in. I read Behind Her Eyes and absolutely loved it! Maybe I had too high of hopes for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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